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British Columbia has a mandatory medical service plan for all eligible residents and their dependents. The BC medical services plan is a provincial program that is meant to cover all or part of an individual’s health care costs.

To qualify for BC MSP, applicants must meet ALL of the following criteria:

  • must be a Canadian Citizen or have been legally accepted into Canada as a permanent resident,
  • must make their home in BC; and,
  • must remain physically present in the province of BC for at least six months of a full calendar year.

Under the plan, dependents are defined as:

  • Spouse – one who is either married to or living with the applicant in a marriage-like relationship.
  • Child – one who is 18 years old or younger or between 19 – 24 and attending school/university full-time, is not living with or married to another person and is being supported by the applicant.

💡 To see if you qualify, use this MSP Premium Assistance Eligibility Calculator.

Benefits covered under the plan include (but are not limited to): care provided by a physician during pregnancy, some dental surgery, x-rays, and medically necessary services provided by a physician or midwife. Click here for a comprehensive list of covered items.

Some benefits not covered by MSP are: cosmetic surgery, eyeglasses, hearing aids, acupuncture, massage therapy and prescription drugs. Click here for a comprehensive list of items not covered. It should be noted that these items might be covered under BC Pharmacare.

There is a premium that must be paid by all who are enrolled for BC MSP. The premiums are based on income and family size. For more information, see the MSP site.

As an employer, you may choose to handle the administration of your employees’ BC MSP. This can be done in one of two ways:

  1. You can ensure the premiums are taken off the employee’s payroll and then submitted as a group invoice amount to the plan.
  2. If you decide to cover the premium for your employees, you must add it as a taxable benefit to your employee. This will mean you pay the full amount on behalf of the employee, but the employee will see a few extra dollars taken off their pay for the taxable portion of the premium.

To enroll for the BC MSP, individuals must complete and submit an Application for Enrolment form.

There is a 3-month waiting period for the coverage to begin, so it would be wise to look into private coverage until such time that the BC MSP coverage kicks in. Otherwise, health care costs will need to be paid out-of-pocket.

Once enrolled in the plan, individuals are assigned a Personal Health Number (PHN) which will remain with them for life and will not change regardless of changes to their personal status. This number will be printed on a Care Card that should be carried at all times. It will need to be provided whenever health care services are required.

So there you have it – the basic ‘need to know’ facts about BC MSP.

If you or your employees would like more information on the BC MSP, please refer to the details below.

Employees and Employers – mailing address

Health Insurance BC
PO Box 9035 Stn Prov Govt
Victoria, B.C. V8W 9E3

Employees – phone number

Toll-free: 1 800 663-7100

Employers (Administrators) – phone number

Toll-Free: 1-877-955-5656

Or you can contact BC’s health care system online with this link.

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