Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
» View the short list of Frequently Asked Questions.
FOR SERVICE IN FRENCH
Most MSP forms are available on this web site. Some can be completed and submitted electronically and others can be printed and mailed to MSP.
Service BC Centres, located throughout B.C., have MSP pamphlets and forms on hand and will accept completed forms on behalf of MSP. Forms are also available by contacting MSP or can be sent to you through MSP’s Forms-by-Fax service, available 24 hours a day 7 days a week at 250 356-0998.
The Travel Assistance Program (TAP BC) is available to eligible B.C. residents who are required to travel outside their home community to obtain non-emergency, physician-referred specialist medical care.
For more information about the Travel Assistance Program, please refer to the TAP BC web site or call:
You can request a review of the decision by stating your case in writing and sending your letter and any supporting documents to Health Insurance BC:
If you meet the ministry's criteria of being a B.C. resident, you are eligible to enrol with MSP. In fact, all residents of B.C. are required to enrol with MSP. See Who is Eligible?
For information on applying for MSP coverage see How to Enrol with MSP.
If you are waiting for a Personal Health Number and had a need or currently need urgent medical attention, then you should contact Health Insurance BC to inform them of the urgency so arrangements can be made for expediting processing of your BC Services Card application.
The wait period protects the province’s health care plans by reducing the likelihood of individuals coming to British Columbia for the purpose of receiving health care services at public expense.
While a process is in place to review appeals from persons who have received, or will require, health care services during the wait period, waivers are only approved in the most extenuating circumstances. This process is not intended to address limits other provinces place on the coverage they provide or as a means by which a person can obtain early access to other B.C. health care programs. Routine pre-natal care and the routine birth of a baby do not generally qualify a person for a waiver.
Please note that this waiver process is intended for persons who have already established residence in British Columbia.
To review a request for a waiver of the wait period, the ministry requires the following:
How do I add a person (other than a newborn) to my account?
Self-Administered (Pay-Direct) Accounts - If you are covered under a self-administered account, please complete an MSP Account Change.
Group Plan Accounts - If you are covered under a group plan administered by an employer, union or pension office, you need to complete a Group Change Request.
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.
Note: 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 employer, union or pension 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.
You will find information under Baby Enrolment/Addition of Newborn.
If you are covered under a self-administered account, you need to complete an MSP Account Change.
If you are enrolled under a group plan administered by an employer, union or pension office, you need to complete a Group Change Request.
Your form must be submitted with photocopies of documents that support the child’s name and immigration status in Canada. If the child has been granted Canadian citizenship, provide a copy of his/her Canadian citizenship card or Canadian passport. Otherwise, if Citizenship and Immigration Canada has issued the child a “Confirmation of Permanent Residence” document that indicates the adoptive parents’ names, a copy of this document is usually sufficient. If the child either holds a Confirmation of Permanent Residence document that does not include this information, or holds a different immigration document, two items are required:
If the child is being adopted from the United States and arrives in BC before an immigration document has been issued, include a note to this effect and a copy of the letter described previously, with your completed form.
I've recently become separated or divorced - do I need to change my MSP account?
If the account is in your former spouse’s name and you are eligible for enrolment under a group plan administered by your employer, union or pension office, you need to complete an Application for Group Enrolment. Otherwise, contact MSP to set up an account in your own name.
When your new account is set up, in most cases your enrolment under your former spouse's account will cancel. However, if both the new and old account are under a group plan, your former spouse should let his/her benefits office know to cancel.
If you are covered under a self-administered account, complete an MSP Account Change, visit a Service BC Centre in your area, or contact MSP. If the request is because of separation, divorce or a child leaving home, please provide the person's new address and, if applicable, the date he or she moved out of province.
If you are covered under a group plan administered by an employer, union or pension office, you need to complete a Group Change Request.
There is an online Address Change Notice for Persons Moving Within B.C. that can be completed and submitted on this web site. You can also obtain a form from our Forms-by-Fax service, by visiting a local Service BC Centre or by contacting MSP.
If you have a driver’s licence, you may also want to update your driver’s licence by visiting addresschange.gov.bc.ca.
If you are leaving B.C. temporarily, you need to be aware that there are time limits on out-of-province benefits available to you while you are away (see Temporary Absence from B.C.). You should purchase additional health insurance from a private insurer before you leave the province, regardless of whether you will be in another part of Canada or outside the country - even if you plan to be away for only a day.
If you are leaving B.C. permanently, you must notify MSP when you plan to move from the province. Advising MSP of your move ensures that your coverage will be cancelled and you will no longer be billed for MSP premiums after you leave the province. There is an online Permanent Move Outside B.C. form that can be completed and submitted on this web site. You may also obtain a form by visiting a Service BC Centre in your area or by contacting MSP.
For additional, important information, see Leaving B.C.
If you meet the residency requirements to vacation outside B.C. for a total of seven months in a calendar year, the seven months may be taken all at once or split between separate absences in a calendar year.
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.
You don't need to cancel the current account; MSP will do that for you when the new account is set up. Please check the period of coverage on your bill or collections letter. If you owe premiums from before the new employer started paying them, then you will still need to pay that amount. If you have received a collections letter for the period covered by the new employer, contact the agency to avoid further collection action.
I am leaving an employer who has been looking after my medical coverage - what do I do to set up a new account?
It is understood that delays with CIC may result in a person being without a valid work permit for a period of time, even though CIC has accepted an application for a new work permit prior to the expiry date of their current permit. Any person in this situation—who has been advised by CIC that they have ‘implied status’ and may continue to work pending issuance of their new permit—can request an extension of coverage. Upon receipt of a written request for an extension, which includes a copy of the receipt that was issued when the fee for the new work permit was paid, coverage may be extended for three months beyond the original cancellation date. This is on the understanding that the person will later be issued a permit that will indicate that they have ‘maintained’ their status and that qualifies him or her for coverage.
If there is a further delay, a second request may be submitted, which will need to include copies of all correspondence received from CIC, along with a letter from the employer confirming that the person continues to remain employed. A second three month extension may be approved, providing a total of six months coverage beyond the original cancellation date.
As your child approaches age 19, MSP will send a letter to you, advising that coverage as a dependent under your account will end on the last day of the month the child turns 19. Unless you request otherwise, MSP will automatically set up a new, self-administered account for the child. Initially, 100 per cent Premium Assistance will be provided (if the residency requirements for Premium Assistance are met). You do have the option of continuing to cover your child as a dependent if he or she is single, supported by you and attending school full-time. If this is your preference, please see Continued Enrolment in MSP for Ages 19-24.
Not usually. When a person passes away in B.C. our 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 our records have not been updated, MSP should be advised.
If the person was covered under a self-administered account, you can either visit a Service BC Centre in your area or contact MSP. You will need to provide the person's name, personal health number and the date he or she passed away.
If the person was covered under a group plan administered by a third party such as an employer, union or pension office, contact that party. They, in turn, will advise MSP. If the person who passed away was the account holder and other family members were covered under the same account, the group plan will be able to advise whether they will continue to cover the family members.
Do I have to pay for MSP coverage? Are there special rates for seniors and students?
See the Ministry of Finance's web site under Medical Services Plan Invoicing (MSP premium invoicing is administered by that Ministry, through Revenue Services of British Columbia).
You may be eligible for a subsidy under MSP's Regular Premium Assistance program, based on your adjusted net income from the previous year. For information on this program, see Premium Assistance.
Note: MSP coverage is not cancelled when a person's premiums are in arrears. Cancellation only occurs if a person ceases to be a resident of B.C. or there is concern that the individual may no longer be a resident.
Persons on a working holiday program need to have:
To apply for coverage, those with a valid working permit on a working holiday program must submit the Application for Enrolment form with both of the following items to determine eligibility:
Changes to your premium rate may be retroactive to the date you qualified to receive assistance. In the meantime, please continue to pay the premium invoices you are receiving. If a collection agency contacts you, please advise them that you have applied for Regular Premium Assistance. As long as you are a resident of B.C., your MSP coverage will not be cancelled due to overdue or unpaid premiums.
MSP premium invoicing is administered by the Ministry of Finance, through Revenue Services of British Columbia. Go to Medical Services Plan Invoicing to see if the information you need is there. If it is not, please contact Revenue Services of British Columbia to discuss your invoice.
To discuss your specific situation, call the telephone number provided by the collection agency.
How is MSP able to verify my income with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA)?
If you have already registered for premium assistance, you do not need to register again for future years.
The most common reason is that your net income has changed compared to the previous year. Health Insurance BC performs income verifications through CRA annually and if your net income has changed then your subsidy level can be affected.
If your premium subsidy changes, Health Insurance BC will send you a letter advising you of the change and the reason for the change. This is done automatically. There is no need to call Health Insurance BC unless you disagree with the information that CRA provided.
People who wish to apply for Regular Premium Assistance are asked to complete and return an Application for Regular Premium Assistance form to Health Insurance BC. If you have already submitted a form please do not submit a second application. A Temporary Premium Assistance form (pdf) is also available from the Ministry of Finance.
MSP has stopped my premium assistance because I don't file an income tax return. I'm not required to file a tax return, so how do I start getting premium assistance again?
I haven't had to pay premiums for years. Why did I receive a letter saying I have to start paying again?
MSP has made a change to my Regular Premium Assistance because of information from CRA about my previous year's income. What do I do if I don't agree with the change MSP has made?
My account was adjusted retroactively due to information MSP received from CRA; now I owe premiums for earlier months. Why didn't MSP check my previous year's income before now?
Only those MSP beneficiaries with premium assistance status are eligible for a combined annual limit (each calendar year) of 10 visits for acupuncturist services, physiotherapy, massage therapy, chiropractic, naturopathy and non-surgical podiatry. MSP pays $23 for each visit. Your practitioner will inform you if you can expect an additional charge over what MSP pays. Surgical podiatry is covered for all MSP beneficiaries. See Supplementary Health Care Benefits for full details.
Routine eye examinations are an MSP benefit for persons age 65 and older, or age 18 and younger. Routine examinations are no longer a benefit for people between 19 and 64 years old. However, all eye examinations that are medically required continue to be a benefit for all age groups. See Supplementary Health Care Benefits for more information.
You need to complete an Out of Country Claim Form, available from this web site, through the Forms-by-Fax service, by visiting a Service BC Centre in your area, or by contacting MSP. Submit the completed form and supporting documentation to MSP.
Healthy Kids provides basic vision and dental care to eligible children under B.C. Benefits, administered by the Ministry of Social Development. For information, please see Healthy Kids.
For information about coverage for prescription drugs and medical supplies, see the PharmaCare web site. You can also call the PharmaCare program at:
Some documents on this Web site are in PDF format and require a PDF reader. If you do not have Adobe Acrobat Reader Version 7.0 or the most recent version of another PDF reader, you can download Adobe Acrobat Reader by clicking on the 'Get Acrobat Reader' icon.