The BC Ministry of Health administers the Medical Services Plan (MSP) through Health Insurance BC (HIBC), which ensures that all eligible BC residents have access to medically essential care. All BC residents must have a BC Services Card to receive health services.
Health Benefits manages the MSP program for status First Nations who reside in BC; status First Nations in BC who need to register for MSP should do so through Health Benefits rather than the Ministry of Health.
MSP registration forms are available online or by calling Health Benefits at 1-855-550-5454.
MSP covers medically necessary services provided by doctors, nurses, and midwives. It also covers items and services delivered in hospitals. These include medications clients receive while in hospital, and surgery of various types including emergency oral surgery and cataract surgery. MSP will also cover necessary diagnostic services such as x-rays and blood tests.
In addition, MSP provides some coverage for medically required eye examinations for clients 18 years of age and under, and 65 years of age and over. MSP coverage may not be enough to cover the full cost of the eye exam, however Health Benefits vision care benefits may cover some of the remaining cost. For more information, visit the vision care benefits webpage.
MSP also covers some supplementary benefits for certain groups, including First Nations Health Authority clients. These supplementary benefits include acupuncture, chiropractic, massage therapy, naturopathy, physical therapy, and non-surgical podiatry. However, MSP coverage for these services is fairly limited. Visit the MSP website for supplementary coverage details.
Note that MSP defines which items and services are medically necessary and not all services clients need may be covered. Visit the MSP website for details on which items and services are not covered by MSP.
From time to time, the BC Ministry of Health may change the items or services that MSP covers. Health Benefits will not automatically take over covering these items or services. Health Benefits will determine on a case-by-case basis whether the item or services will be covered as a benefit.
Clients with questions about MSP coverage can call Health Benefits at 1-855-550-5454.
Who Should Register for MSP?
• Clients and dependents who are new to BC;• Clients and dependents returning to BC (after three or more months away);• Clients who have turned 19 years of age; or • Clients who previously had their premiums paid by an employer or other source (e.g., individuals on Income Assistance).• Clients who previously had their premiums paid by an employer or other source, and would like Health Benefits to pay their MSP premiums, should call 1-855-550-5454 to be added to the Health Benefits MSP group.
• Clients and dependents who are new to BC;
• Clients and dependents returning to BC (after three or more months away);
• Clients who have turned 19 years of age; or
• Clients who previously had their premiums paid by an employer or other source (e.g., individuals on Income Assistance).
• Clients who previously had their premiums paid by an employer or other source, and would like Health Benefits to pay their MSP premiums, should call 1-855-550-5454 to be added to the Health Benefits MSP group.
The Ministry of Health is eliminating MSP premiums in January, 2020. The MSP program will continue to provide eligible B.C. residents with provincially insured health-care benefits. Clients should still register for MSP through Health Benefits.
Most children are dependents on their parent or guardian's MSP coverage. When a Health Benefits client turns 19 years old, they should confirm with Health Benefits that they have their own MSP account to make sure coverage remains active and they do not receive a bill.
Clients who do not have an active PHN should submit an MSP Registration Form with supporting documentation to Health Benefits via mail or fax. Clients will also need to visit an Insurance Corporation of BC (ICBC) driver licensing office and request a Photo BC Services Card.
The following information and documentation must be submitted with the MSP Registration form.
Provide the following mandatory information:
• Band name and number;• Full status number;• Legal first and last name, as shown on government-issued ID;• Date of birth; and• Residential address (cannot be a P.O. Box number).
• Band name and number;
• Full status number;
• Legal first and last name, as shown on government-issued ID;
• Date of birth; and
• Residential address (cannot be a P.O. Box number).
Provide a previous PHN if applicable.
Ensure all boxes are marked off and all information is complete.
Include a copy of government issued picture ID such as a:
• Canadian birth certificate,• Canadian citizenship card/certificate, or• Canadian passport.
• Canadian birth certificate,
• Canadian citizenship card/certificate, or
• Canadian passport.
Make sure application is clearly printed, signed, and dated by applicant (and spouse if needed).
Provide legal documentation that grants Power of Attorney if an individual is signing on behalf of someone else, or clearly indicate that they are a witness for someone who is incapable of signing personally.
Clients who would like to update their MSP information (e.g., add, remove, or change information) should complete an MSP Change Request Form and mail or fax it to Health Benefits. All Change Request Forms should be submitted with the necessary supporting documentation (e.g., a copy of the marriage certificate, birth certificate, etc.).
Clients who did not register with MSP through Health Benefits, and have been billed for MSP premiums as a result, may be eligible for backdated MSP coverage up to a maximum of five years. Eligibility for backdated coverage depends on several factors such as the date the client moved to BC or the date the client obtained “Indian Status." For more information about backdating MSP coverage call Health Benefits at 1-855-550-5454.
The BC Services Card can be obtained from an ICBC driver licensing office, or by contacting Service BC toll-free at: 1-800-663-7867. BC residents are required to update their picture ID in order to maintain an active PHN. For more information visit the BC Services Card website.
“Extra billing" is when a health care professional (e.g., doctor) bills a client more than what MSP pays for the service, meaning that the client has to pay for the difference in cost. Health Benefits will not pay extra billing charges nor reimburse clients who have paid extra billing charges. If clients receive bills from a doctor or hospital which they think is an “extra billing" charge, they should follow up with the Ministry of Health Medical Beneficiary Branch. For detailed information about MSP and extra billing visit the MSP website.
Health Benefits eligibility is based on residency in BC. If clients leave BC for extended periods of time it might impact their eligibility.
MSP provides limited coverage to BC residents travelling outside of the province or country. Health Benefits clients are strongly advised to purchase additional health insurance before leaving BC, whether travelling to another province or outside of Canada. For more information about MSP coverage outside BC visit the MSP website.
Health Benefits will cover items and services purchased or received in another province as long as they would be eligible for Health Benefits coverage if bought in BC, and were delivered by an eligible health professional. Detailed information about covered items and services under the dental, vision care, MS&E, and pharmacy benefits can be found in the online PBC Member Profile and the PharmaCare Plan W formulary. Please note that clients will likely have to pay for the item or service out-of-pocket and request reimbursement from Health Benefits.
Clients can contact Health Benefits at 1-855-550-5454 if they have any questions.
Clients who are planning to be in another province for up to 24 months (e.g., students or individuals working on a short-term contract) should contact Health Benefits at 1-855-550-5454 to make sure their coverage continues while they are away. Interruption to MSP coverage may require the client to re-apply.
Clients who are moving to another province in Canada should contact Health Benefits at 1-855-550-5454 to cancel their MSP and enroll in the federally-run Non-Insured Health Benefits (NIHB) program. Health Benefits will provide coverage for the month the client leaves and two additional consecutive months. Clients moving outside of Canada will have coverage for the month they leave.
1-855-550-5454 (Toll Free)
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