What is a Health Insurance BC Plan and Why Do You Need It?

Posted on December 30, 2018

Did you know that, as a resident of British Columbia, you qualify for a provincial health insurance plan? Whether you're a new resident or you've been there for a while, you're eligible to apply for coverage.

In fact, you aren't just eligible. It's actually mandatory that you apply for this coverage. So if you are new to the area, make sure you get your application in soon.

But what, exactly is the provincial health plan in British Columbia? Keep reading to find out all about the health insurance BC plan and why you need it.

What is the Medical Services Plan?

The province-provided health care plan in British Columbia is called the Medical Services Plan, MSP. This plan covers many medical procedures, though there are also many that it does not cover.

This medical plan may be administered by employers. This means you can be part of a group plan and you won't have to manage your insurance benefits on your own.

What Does the Medical Services Plan Cover?

To sum it up, MSP covers medically requires services that are performed by physicians and surgeons. This means that any routine examinations that are meant to keep your health in good shape are not covered under this insurance. While a good idea, they're not required.

Some things that are covered include the following:

  • Services performed by midwives and doctors as part of maternity care
  • Eye exams that are required for medical reasons
  • Podiatry services that require surgery
  • Medically-required dental surgery that is performed in a hospital

The only routine services that are covered by MSP are eye examinations for those under 19 or over 64. People between those age groups would only receive coverage for eye exams if they were necessary for medical reasons.

Some supplementary benefits may be included if you're paying for your premium using assistants. These benefits could include massage therapy, physical therapy, acupuncture, and chiropractic work.

Charge Protections

As a patient, there are certain things you're guaranteed you won't have to pay for. That's because of protections that you're provided in the Medicare Protection Act.

This serves as protection against any health providers who may be tempted to bill patients for certain items or services in an effort to get more money.

What sorts of things can't be charged for? Materials required during your examination, such as tongue depressors, trays, and examination gowns are on the list. You also can't be charged a facility fee.

However, if you have a service performed that isn't covered under MSP, you will be charged extra for that. If you don't want to incur extra charges, make sure you're only allowing procedures that are covered by your health plan.

You can be charged for things like crutches, braces, special bandaging materials, and allergy injections.

You won't have to worry about being surprised. You're required to be notified of all costs involved before services are performed.

Are There Any Fees?

Depending on who your physician is, he or she may choose to charge a fee. This fee may be annual or charged at various times.

Even if your physician charges a fee, you aren't actually required to pay it. The fee would generally help cover any services you have performed that aren't covered by MSP.

Are Premiums Required?

Even though this is a government-offered health plan, premiums are required in BC. While necessary for BC residents to pay, these premiums are very affordable.

The premium you're required to pay is calculated based on the annual net income of your household and the number of adults in the home. Deductions are also considered, such as spouses, disabled family members, and children.

Temporary and ongoing premium assistant programs are in place for those who are financially unable to afford the required premiums.

Premiums can be paid through the BC government website or via phone, fax, or mail. You can choose from several payment methods when paying online.

Why You Need a Health Insurance BC Plan

Aside from being required, provincial health insurance only covers certain medical costs. It's limited to covering only those medical services that are deemed necessary, or required.

Additional medical needs, such as prescription drugs, are not covered by the BC health care plan. In order to receive more extensive coverage, you must get supplemental insurance to cover your additional needs.

On the flip side, supplemental health insurance plans are generally only meant to extend your coverage. They offer coverage for medical procedures and medications that aren't covered by your provincial plan. This means that supplemental health insurance isn't sufficient on its own.

In order to have your basic needs covered, you need a provincial health insurance plan. This will ensure that all your required medical procedures are covered.

Without this insurance, you'd have to pay for those procedures in full. When you're covered by a provincial plan, you only pay premiums, not the full cost of the procedures.

In other words, your BC health insurance plan helps you drastically cut costs, and gives you peace of mind while doing it.

Apply for Your Provincial Health Insurance Plan Today

If you live in British Columbia and haven't applied for MSP, it's time to get the ball rolling. The quicker you do it, the sooner you'll be complying with the law and reaping the benefits of this great insurance program.

When you have a health insurance BC plan, you have coverage for all medically necessary procedures. And, it's provided by the provincial government themselves. You can't get much more convenient than that!

Trying to decide if you need supplemental coverage? Click here to learn more about it.

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