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Ministry of Health

Medical Coverage


To qualify for Medical Services Plan (MSP) coverage, you must be a resident of British Columbia. A resident is a person who:

  • is a citizen of Canada or is lawfully admitted to Canada for permanent residence,
  • makes her or his home in B.C., and
  • is physically present in B.C. for
    • at least six months in a calendar year, or
    • a shorter prescribed period*,

and includes a person who is deemed under the regulations to be a resident but does not include a tourist or visitor to British Columbia.

*Note: Effective January 1, 2013, eligible B.C. residents (citizens of Canada or persons who are lawfully admitted to Canada for permanent residence) who are outside B.C. for vacation purposes only, are allowed a total absence of up to seven months in a calendar year.

Certain other persons, such as some holders of study and/or work permits, or working permits on working holiday programs — which are issued under the federal Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and are valid for a period of six or more months — may be deemed residents. Tourists or visitors to B.C. do not qualify. More information on eligibility is available on the MSP website.

A spouse or a child of an eligible B.C. resident may also be deemed a resident provided that an application for permanent residence status has been accepted for processing by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), and the application remains active.  For more information, see Covering a Spouse or Child who is an Applicant for Permanent Resident Status in Canada (PDF 177K ).

Dependent - includes a spouse and children who are deemed to be a resident.

Spouse - a resident who is either married to or is living and cohabiting in a marriage-like relationship with the applicant, and may be of the same gender as the applicant. (Note: in the case of divorce, the former spouse is no longer eligible for coverage as a dependent and must apply for separate coverage.)

Child - a resident who is the legal ward or child of the applicant, is supported by the applicant, is neither married nor living and cohabiting in a marriage-like relationship, and is either age 18 or younger or age 19 to 24 and attending school or university full-time.

If you are uncertain about your eligibility status or the eligibility status of your dependent(s), contact us for assistance.

How to Enrol

It takes approximately two months to process your application. Missing or incomplete information will further extend the processing time.

It may be necessary for you and/or a family member to visit an Insurance Corporation of BC (ICBC) driver licensing office (DLO). If this is the case, written notice with next steps will be mailed to you.

If you have questions regarding your eligibility, please contact us.

Required Documents

Your application for Medical Services Plan (MSP) must include photocopies of documents that verify the Canadian citizenship or immigration status of each person to be enrolled.

Acceptable documents may include:

Canadian Citizens:

  • Canadian Birth Certificate
  • Citizenship Card or Citizenship Certificate
  • Passport
  • Any documentation from a Canadian Vital Statistics department that verifies Canadian Citizenship

Permanent Residents:

  • Record of Landing
  • Permanent Resident Card (front and back)
  • Confirmation of Permanent Residence document

Temporary Citizenship & Immigration Canada Document Holders:

  • Temporary Resident Permit
  • Work Permit
  • Study Permit

Group Coverage

If your health coverage is administered by your employer, union or pension plan, they will register for MSP on your behalf.

Eligible First Nations Residents of B.C. - Basic Medical Coverage

MSP is the provincial government program that provides basic medical benefits. For example, MSP pays for medically required services of physicians and surgeons. All residents of B.C. are required to enrol with MSP. Up to July 1, 2013, individuals who are registered Indians under the Indian Act and residents of B.C. are enrolled through Health Canada’s First Nations and Inuit Health Branch.

As of July 2, 2013, the First Nations Health Authority (FHNA) will enrol and administer MSP under the B.C. First Nations Tripartite Framework Agreement on First Nation Health Governance.

More information on Basic Medical Coverage is available on the Ministry of Health website.

Application Status

Due to call volumes and high volumes of applications received by Health Insurance BC, unless you have a medical emergency and have been resident in B.C. for more than 2 months, please wait at least 30 days before calling about your application status.