Referring a Patient for Medical Services Outside of Canada

»  Obtaining Pre-Approval
»  Urgent Requests
»  Approval for Immediate Care After Regular Hours

Obtaining Pre-Approval

If a BC specialist physician recommends medical treatment in another country, the specialist must request provincial coverage.

The referring specialist may complete the Out of Country Health Services Funding Application (the Application) or send a written request for coverage, for out of country medical treatment.

The specialist must include medical documentation with the Application to detail the medical necessity for out of country medical treatment and the specialist must confirm the appropriate standard of care is not available for the patient in BC, or anywhere in Canada.

Provincial coverage for out of country medical services will consider the following:

  • treatment is medically required
  • the out of country service would be an insured benefit, if performed in BC
  • the service is provided by a licensed physician or oral surgeon
  • in-patient hospital services are provided in an accredited, acute care general hospital
  • appropriate, acceptable medical care is not available for the patient in Canada, or a delay in medical treatment will have medically significant, irreversible medical consequences for the patient
  • the service is generally accepted by the medical profession in B.C. to be non-controversial and a worthwhile treatment for the patient's medical condition

If the Application includes the necessary medical documentation, the Application can usually be completed in seven business days.  Please note on the Application if patient requires urgent out of country medical treatment.

The Provincial coverage is detailed in the:
Out of Province and Out of Country Medical Care Guidlines (PDF 146K).

Please note:

Provincial coverage for medical treatment does not include any financial assistance for non-medical services, such as travel or accommodation expenses, take-home/out-patient drugs or services provided by non-physician practitioners.

Benefits for outpatient dialysis provided in a hospital or other approved facility and day-care surgical services are paid at a set rate. For the current rates, please contact Out of Country Claims.

Beneficiaries should review coverage with their extended health care plan or private travel insurance companies to confirm the terms of their extended coverage. Policies usually do not cover pre-planned medical services, outside of the country.

Urgent Requests

Applications for urgent medical treatment can be faxed to the Authorization Coordinator, Out of Country Claims: 250 405-3588.

The Application can usually be processed in less than two business days if the medical documentation is complete. Please note the telephone or fax number where the referring specialist can be contacted, when a decision is made.

For more information about out of country coverage, please contact Out of Country Claims.

Approval for Immediate Care After Regular Hours

If a patient needs immediate life saving care and admission to an acute care hospital, please contact BC Bedline for assistance.

BC Bedline assists physicians and other health care providers with patient transfers for acute and critical care services. BC Bedline manages medical transfers within and outside of BC.

BC Bedline contact information:
1 866 233-2337 (Toll-free in BC)
   604 215-5911 (Lower Mainland)
BC Bedline, website:

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