Eligibility and Enrolment
All residents of B.C. must enrol with MSP
Under the Medicare Protection Act, enrolment with MSP is mandatory for all eligible residents.
» Who is Eligible?
Who is Eligible?
To qualify for MSP coverage, an individual must be a resident of British Columbia. A resident is a person who:
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 individuals, 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.
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 274K).
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 or the eligibility of your dependent(s), contact MSP for assistance.
How to Enrol with MSP
If you are applying for a self-administered MSP account, complete an Application for Enrolment form.
When does Coverage Begin?
New residents or persons re-establishing residence in B.C. are eligible for coverage after completing a wait period that normally consists of the balance of the month of arrival plus two months. For example, if an eligible person arrives during the month of July, coverage is available October 1. If absences from Canada exceed a total of 30 days during the wait period, eligibility for coverage may be affected.
Coverage During the Wait Period
New residents from other parts of Canada should maintain coverage with their former medical plan during the wait period. New or returning residents arriving from outside Canada should contact a private insurance company for coverage during this period.
Changes that Affect Your Coverage
If you have a driver’s licence, you may also want to update your driver’s licence by visiting addresschange.gov.bc.ca.
Name and Birth Date
You are required to report a change of name within 10 days. If a replacement is required because the name or birth date on a BC Services Card or CareCard needs to be changed, call Health Insurance BC toll free first.
To update the gender on your BC Services Card for reasons other than an administrative error, please visit BC Services Card for information.
In the case of administrative error, please contact Health Insurance BC toll free first.
There is no fee to obtain or replace a BC Services Card. However, if you’re combining your BC Services Card with your driver’s licence, fees that apply to the regular driver’s licence renewal process still apply.
When you marry (or begin living in a marriage-like relationship - see the definition of spouse under Who is Eligible?), you should combine separate MSP accounts into one family account - see Adding a Spouse below. If one or both spouses are changing their names, follow the instructions for Name Change.
Upon divorce, the former spouse of an account holder is no longer eligible for coverage under the same account. See Removing Dependents below.
Adding and Removing Dependents
If you are unsure who can be covered under your account, see Who is Eligible?
If the person you are adding to your account is already enrolled with MSP and is covered under an account administered by an employer, union or pension plan, that account will only be cancelled if the former group plan submits a request. If the person has a self-administered account, that account will be cancelled when the person is added to your plan.
It may be necessary to visit an Insurance Corporation of BC (ICBC) driver licensing office (DLO) to complete enrolment in MSP. If this is the case, written notice with next steps will be mailed to you.
Children are no longer eligible for coverage as dependents when they:
When a family member passes away, it is not usually necessary to notify MSP. When a person dies in B.C., MSP's records are updated automatically. However, if the family member passed away outside B.C. or more than 60 days have elapsed and there is reason to believe MSP's records have not been updated, please contact MSP.
Absence from British Columbia
For information on your eligibility for MSP coverage and benefit entitlements while you are temporarily away from B.C., see Leaving B.C.
Cancelling Your Coverage
If you will no longer be a resident of B.C., you must notify MSP of the date of your departure and your new address; otherwise, premium billing may continue. If possible, use one of MSP's online Address Change Forms. Also see Permanent Move from B.C. (Note: failure to pay premiums does not constitute notification to cancel your coverage.)
Although enrolment in MSP is mandatory, it is possible for adults (but not minor children) to formally opt out of MSP coverage by completing an Election to Opt Out statement. B.C. residents who opt out are responsible for the payment of all medical, hospital and other health care services received during the 12 month opt out period. An Election to Opt Out form must be completed each year. Residents cannot opt out retroactively in order to eliminate an outstanding premium debt; any outstanding amount is a debt owed to the province and is collectable under law. For details, see Information About Opting Out of Ministry of Health Programs (PDF 120K). To obtain an Election to Opt Out form, contact MSP. If you are considering opting out because of financial difficulties, see Premium Assistance.
Eligible First Nations Residents of B.C.
Basic Medical Coverage
As of July 2, 2013, the First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) will enrol and administer MSP under the B.C. First Nations Tripartite Framework Agreement on First Nation Health Governance.
Eligibility extends to include all Status Indians who are residents of B.C. (excluding persons who receive health benefits by way of a First Nations organization pursuant to self-government agreements with Canada). Eligible B.C. First Nations currently receiving health benefits through Health Canada’s Non-Insured Health Benefits program living in B.C. should already be enrolled. First Nations clients that have their MSP premiums paid by their employer, or through another source, are encouraged to contact the Regional office (1 800 317-7878) to ensure they are on or added to the FNHA Eligibility List.
If you require an application for enrolment, see Medical Services Plan (MSP) Enrolment Application. If you need to make a change to your account, such as adding or deleting a family member (spouse or child with status), see Medical Services Plan (MSP) Change Request. For addition of a newborn see Baby Enrolment/Addition of a Newborn.
If you have a non-status family member who needs to obtain coverage, contact MSP directly.
Each person who is enrolled with MSP is issued a BC Services Card with a unique Personal Health Number that you present when health care services are required. If you already have a CareCard, you may continue to use it until you receive notification to renew enrolment. Visit BC Services Card for more information.
It may be necessary to visit an Insurance Corporation of BC (ICBC) driver licensing office (DLO) to complete enrolment in MSP. If this is the case, written notice with next steps will be mailed to you. If you are already covered by MSP, forms are available on this web site to advise our office of an address change within B.C., or to advise us that you or a family member have left B.C. permanently (see Permanent Move from B.C.).
First Nations Health Benefits
First Nations Health Authority
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