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Understanding your UMSU Health and Dental Plan to access mental health services

Written March 9, 2023 by Tyler Phill, Founder & CEO of My Student Wellbeing

There’s a two sentence summary of all this at the end for a quick understanding.

As a university student (and throughout life in general), taking care of your mental health is just as important as taking care of your physical health. We hear that often but we may not know how to take care of our mental health or where to go to get help. It’s common for university students to have health insurance and in the case of University of Manitoba students, many full time students are opted into the UMSU Health and Dental Plan (some students refer to this as the “Blue Cross Plan” because Manitoba Blue Cross is the insurer which provides you with coverage). The UMSU Health and Dental Plan has really awesome mental health coverage (some of the best in the country actually!). I’ll provide you a link to the webpage that outlines the details of your UMSU Health and Dental Plan at the end of this article. If you check your fees in Aurora (check your Fall or Winter fees, depending when you when you started classes for the 2022/2023 school year) you can see if you paid for that insurance plan. I would guess a majority of people reading this will have it. 

For the international students reading this, the UMSU Health and Dental Plan is different than the Manitoba International Student Health Plan (MISHP). MISHP covers things like your medical needs, whereas the UMSU Health and Dental Plan covers things like mental health, dental, and vision needs. 

The UMSU Health and Dental Plan provides students with $1250 to spend on mental health counselling and it covers 100% of the cost of every session with a qualified mental health clinician. When I say  “mental health clinician” here, it’s encompassing licensed counsellors, therapists, social workers, and psychiatric nurses, all of whom you could see with your UMSU Health and Dental Plan. So let’s say you found a qualified clinician who charges $125/session. Your insurance would allow you to have 10 sessions with that clinician at no out of pocket cost to you (which is amazing!). You’ll need to be a little cautious when finding a clinician, as the terms “therapist” and “counsellor” are not protected, so technically anyone can say they’re a therapist but your insurance won’t cover the costs of just anyone. You want to look for clinicians who are licensed. Look for those who are Registered Social Workers (RSW), Registered Psychiatric Nurses (RPN), Canadian Certified Counsellor (CCC), Registered Marriage and Family Therapist (RMFT). You may want to ask the clinician if they accept Manitoba Blue Cross insurance and they should be able to let you know if Manitoba Blue Cross insurance works with them. 

It’s important to note that the UMSU Health and Dental Plan is valid until August 31, 2023, and does not roll over to the next year, so if you don’t use it before September 1, 2023 it’s going to disappear. If you’re a student again in Fall 2023, assuming everything stays the same, you’ll have a new term of coverage spanning from September 1, 2023 to August 31, 2024. 

Whether you prefer in-person counselling or online counselling, your UMSU Health and Dental Plan has you covered. Once you find a clinician you would like to work with, there are two ways to use your insurance to pay for your sessions.

The first option is to pay up front for your counselling sessions and then submit a claim to your insurance provider for reimbursement. This means that you’ll need to keep track of your receipts and submit them to your insurance company for reimbursement.

The second option is to see if the mental health clinician you choose offers direct billing. Direct billing is where you give the service provider permission to bill your insurance plan directly so you don’t have to worry about paying and going through the reimbursement process yourself.  However, it’s important to note that direct billing is rare for for mental health clinicians, so it’s more likely that you’ll need to pay up front and submit a claim for reimbursement. 

Here at My Student Wellbeing, we make it as easy as possible for you to use your UMSU Health and Dental Plan to book an online mental health counselling appointment. Because we focus on the student insurance plans, we’re able to offer direct billing for your convenience. We also aim to have clinicians available within 24-48 hours of any given day, so you can start getting help right quickly. We have a really handy calendar on our Therapist Directory that shows every day of the month and when each of our clinicians are available (go to our Therapist Directory and click “Browse by Availability” to see the calendar view). You could get between 5-15 sessions with your chosen therapist with your UMSU Health and Dental Plan, which is really awesome as it gives you time to work on whatever is going on in your life. 

You can use your insurance with a mental health clinician outside of My Student Wellbeing too. Search things like “therapists Winnipeg” or “counselling Winnipeg” to look around at who you can book an appointment with. As a reminder, you want to make sure you check with them that your insurance will work with them before you proceed with booking an appointment. 

It’s important to take care of your mental health, and having access to mental health counselling services through your student insurance can make it more accessible and affordable. If you’re struggling with your mental health, take advantage of the resources available to you and don’t hesitate to reach out for help.

If anyone has any questions about their UMSU Health and Dental Plan, how to use it, or how to find a mental health professional for you, please don’t hesitate to email us at or click “Contact Us” on this website. If you’ve never received counselling before and you want to read a bit about what to expect, you can read our article about it here

As promised, here’s the link to the StudentCare website where you can review the details of your UMSU Health and Dental Plan. 


Summary: U of Manitoba Students with the UMSU Health and Dental Plan have $1250 to spend on private mental health counselling (online or in person) until August 31, 2023 and the insurance covers 100% of the cost of each session with a qualified mental health clinician. Students using the insurance coverage will need to make sure they find a licensed clinician who is qualified under Manitoba Blue Cross and may have to pay up front to go through the reimbursement process if the clinician doesn’t offer direct billing.