Provincial Health Plans > British Columbia Health Plan
Health Insurance BC: Summary of Benefits and Coverage Overview
In British Columbia, public health insurance is called the Medical Services Plan or simply MSP. It covers the cost of medically-necessary insured doctor services.
Health Insurance BC administers MSP on behalf of the Ministry of Health and can answer your questions about medical coverage.
Families in British Columbia can take advantage of the Health Insurance BC to protect themselves and their loved ones.
As of January 1, 2018, the B.C provincial healthcare premium rate has been reduced to half of their previous amount. Furthermore, a family whose adjusted income is from $26,000 and below does not have to pay a premium.
The B.C. provincial health insurance plan is made up of three parts as follows:
- • Medical Services Plan (MSP)
- • Pharmacare, and
- • Fair Pharmacare.
Medical Services Plan (MSP)
All residents of British Columbia and their dependents are required to register for the Medical Services Plan. The premium for this plan is billed a month in advance.
Further, the plan offers health and medical benefits and its premium is determined based on the income and size of the family. It is necessary to apply for this plan immediately after you move into B.C.
The following are the medical and health benefits covered by the medical service plan.
- • The plan covers services deemed necessary by physicians and surgeons.
- • It also covers dental or oral surgeries, provided they are medically required. The procedure must be carried out in a hospital.
- • It also covers doctors and midwife services, in general, maternity care services.
- • Patients below 19 or above 64 years are covered for eye exams in this plan. It can also cover eye exams for patients between 19 and 64 provided such procedures are considered to be medically necessary.
- • If a diagnostic service such as x-rays and/or laboratory services are considered necessary by a supplementary healthcare worker such as a physician, midwife or podiatrist, or a registered physician, such service will be covered.
- • It may also cover supplementary health benefits such as paramedical services like acunpuncture, chiropractors, massage therapy, physical therapy, and naturopathy, provided you are receiving premium assistance.
- • It can also cover surgical podiatry services.
The plan does not provide coverage for the following:
- • Services that are not deemed to be medically necessary such as cosmetic surgery.
- • Physical exams that are not considered to be medically necessary such as life insurance, immigration, tests for driving a vehicle.
- • Routine and restorative dental services such as fillings, cleanings, and extractions.
- • Ambulance services may not be covered. However, ambulance transportation within the province is subsidized.
- • Paramedical services such as the services of chiropractors, physical therapy, acupuncture, naturopathy, massage therapists, and so forth. You can be covered if you are receiving premium assistance.
- • Others include eye glasses, hearing aids, contact lenses, and other medical equipment, and also the services of psychologists, and counsellors.
Pharmacare provides coverage for prescription drugs and several other medical supplies. It is one of the most inclusive drug programs in Canada. For some of the plans, you actually need to actively enroll in the MSP plan.
You are required to qualify for the programs below to qualify for the prescription drug coverage.
- • Fair Pharmacare: This is the largest plan and it constitutes basically family net income. A deductible amount is determined based on your income status and once is determined, the plan will provide necessary assistance in paying the cost of eligible drugs. Families with the lowest income are not required to pay the deductible amount but they will get immediate assistance.
- • Plan B: Permanent Residents of Licensed Residential Care Facilities: This plan provides coverage for eligible prescription drugs and some medical supplies for permanent residents of licensed residential care facilities.
- • Plan C: Residents of B.C. Income Assistance: In this plan, residents who are getting income assistance through the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction can obtain comprehensive coverage of eligible prescription costs.
- • Plan D: Cystic Fibrosis: This plan provides coverage for products in the Cystic Fibrosis Formulary such as digestive enzymes.
- • Plan F: Children in the At Home Program: This provides community-based care for children who are highly handicapped, who would have gotten institutional care.
- • Plan G: Psychiatric Medications: This coverage is for low-income residents, it covers psychiatric medications.
- • Plan P: BC Palliative Care Drug Program: It provides coverage for medical equipment and supplies as well as medications required for palliative care services in residential homes.
- • Plan W: First Nations Health Benefits: This plan is funded by the First Nations health Authority. It covers medical supplies and prescription drugs.
- • BC Smoking Cessation Program: Residents who want to stop smoking can take advantage of this nicotine replacement program.
- • BC Center for Excellence in HIV/AIDS: This program develops, monitors and disseminates research and treatment programs related to HIV. It aims at improving the health of BC residents.
MSP Monthly Premiums
If you reside in BC, you might be required to pay premiums each month. This premium will cater to your healthcare costs and it is based on your income and family size.
The invoices are sent in advance for the next month premiums and residents can make payments through pre-authorized debit, or credit cards. They can also pay through their financial institution.