BC Medical Services Plan (MSP)

Health Benefits and MSP 
What Does MSP Cover? 
Who Should Register for MSP? 
Unpaid Premiums 
Personal Health Number (PHN) 
Updating Your Information 
Extra Billing
Travelling Outside of BC or Canada

​​​​​​​Health Benefits and MSP

In BC, public health insurance is called the Medical Services Plan (MSP). It covers the cost of medically-necessary insured doctor services for BC residents. You must have a BC Services Card in order for MSP to cover your doctor services.

The Health Benefits Program manages MSP for First Nations people in BC. If you have status and need to register for MSP, do so through Health Benefits.

MSP registration forms are available online or by calling Health Benefits at 1-855-550-5454.

If you are Metis or Inuit and have questions about the BC Medical Services Plan, please call Health Insurance BC at 1-800-663-7100.

What Does M​SP Cover?

MSP covers essential medical services provided by doctors, nurses, and midwives. It also covers items and services delivered in hospitals, clinics, or labs, such as medications, x-rays, blood tests, and some types of surgery.​

Visit the MSP website for more information about MSP coverage.

Who Should Register for MSP?

All British Columbians must be registered for MSP. Contact Health Benefits to register for MSP if:

  • you and any dependents recently moved to BC (for the first time or if you  were away for more than three months)
  • you recently turned 19
  • ​an employer has paid your MSP premiums in the past

Unpaid Pr​​emiums

Health Benefits provides clients with back-dated coverage of unpaid MSP premiums up to a maximum of five years. Call Health Benefits at 1-855-550-5454 for help with unpaid MSP premiums.

Personal H​ealth Number (PHN)

If you do not have an active Personal Health Number (PHN), you should submit the following information to Health Benefits via mail or fax:

  • an MSP Registration Form, including any past PHNs
  • ​a copy of one government issued ID, such as a Canadian birth certificate, Canadian citizenship card or certificate, or a Canadian passport

Once you have your PHN, you will need to visit an Insurance Corporation of BC (ICBC) driver licensing office to request a Photo BC Services Card. For more information visit the BC Services Card website.

Updating Y​ou​r Information

To update your MSP information, or to add/remove a dependent or spouse to your MSP account, complete an MSP Change Request Form and mail or fax it to Health Benefits.

Include any necessary supporting documentation with the MSP Change Request Form (e.g. copy of the marriage certificate, birth certificate, etc.). If you are a new parent and want to add your newborn to your MSP account, you must first register your child's Personal Health Number (PHN) with Health Insurance BC (HIBC) within three months of your child's date of birth.

Extra Billing

“Extra billing" is when a health care professional (e.g., doctor) charges more than what MSP pays for the service. This means that you would have to pay the difference in cost. Health Benefits will not pay extra billing charges and will not reimburse extra billing charges.

If you received a bill from a doctor or hospital that you think is an “extra billing" charge, you can follow up with Health Insurance BC at 1-800-663-7100. For detailed information about MSP and extra billing visit the MSP website.

Travelling Outside of BC or Canada

MSP covers essential medical services in BC, and provides limited coverage to BC residents who travel outside of BC and Canada. If you are leaving BC, Health Benefits strongly recommends that you purchase additional health insurance.

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, but regular benefit policies will apply. (For more about what's covered, see Coverage Details.) Please note that you will likely have to pay for the item or service out-of-pocket and then request reimbursement.

If you are planning to temporarily or permanently move outside BC, contact Health Benefits at 1-855-550-5454 to ensure your health insurance and benefits coverage continues.​​

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