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Ministry of Health

Financial Assistance

Medical Services Plan (MSP)

Assistance with the payment of premiums is available to Canadian citizens or holders of permanent resident status (landed immigrants) who have held that status and been resident in Canada for the past 12 consecutive months.

There are two assistance programs that offer subsidies to those in financial need:

MSP Regular Premium Assistance

Regular Premium Assistance offers five levels of subsidies, based on an individual's net income (or a couple's combined net income) for the preceding tax year, less deductions for age, family size, disability and any reported Universal Child Care Benefit and Registered Disability Savings Plan Income.

To apply for Regular Premium Assistance, you need to complete and return an application form to MSP.

More information on Premium Assistance is available on this website.

Temporary Premium Assistance

Temporary premium assistance offers a 100 per cent subsidy for a short term based on unexpected financial hardship. See the Ministry of Finance's web site, under Temporary Premium Assistance, for more information.

Fair PharmaCare

PharmaCare subsidizes eligible prescription drugs and designated medical supplies, protecting British Columbians from high drug costs. PharmaCare provides financial assistance to British Columbians under Fair PharmaCare and other specialty plans.

You must be enrolled in MSP before you can apply for Fair PharmaCare.

To apply for Fair PharmaCare, be sure you have the Personal Health Number or PHN, printed on your BC Services Card/CareCard, for every member of your family.

There are three ways to register for Fair PharmaCare:

You can view an estimate of your Fair PharmaCare plan financial assistance by entering the information requested on this Fair PharmaCare Calculator.

You will need your net income and your spouse's income, Personal Health Numbers and Social Insurance numbers, if applicable.

If you or your spouse does not have a Personal Health Number (PHN), submit a registration form (PDF 555K) by mail. In the space for the PHN, write the reason why you or spouse does not have a PHN (for example, "Canadian Forces").

Please Note: Registering by mail takes 6-8 weeks.

Fair PharmaCare offers two programs to assistance you if you are having difficulty paying your prescription costs or have experienced a change in your financial situation:

Fair PharmaCare - Monthly Deductible Payment Option

If you have difficulty paying for your prescription costs early in the year because you have a deductible, you may be interested in the Monthly Deductible Payment Option. This payment option helps individuals and families who:

  • have a Fair PharmaCare deductible greater than $0
  • expect their drug costs to exceed their deductible before the end of the year
  • do not have private health insurance that provides a drug benefit plan

If you choose to enrol in the payment option, you will pay your deductible in equal monthly installments and receive PharmaCare assistance with eligible prescription costs right away.

You can enrol for the current calendar year any time before September 30th. After October 1, you can enrol for the next year.

For more information see our Monthly Deductible Payment Option page and our Information sheets about Fair PharmaCare in a number of languages.

Fair PharmaCare Income Review

If your family net income has decreased 10% or more since the year on which your Fair PharmaCare coverage is based, you can complete the application for Income Review form (PDF 147K) and apply for a lower deductible.

For more information see our Fair PharmaCare Income Reviews page.