The Government of British Columbia has a health insurance plan called the Medical Services Plan (MSP). It is only for British Columbia residents who are Canadian citizens, landed immigrants or government-assisted refugees. Post-secondary international students with study permits and people with work permits for six months or longer can also get MSP.
You will find an overview of the BC Medical Services Plan (MSP) and healthcare in BC at WelcomeBC-Healthcare . You can also read Chapter 4 of the WelcomeBC Newcomers’ Guide.
You will pay a monthly premium for the BC Medical Services Plan (MSP) and this pays for the cost of visiting a doctor and hospital stays. MSP also pays for routine eye exams by an optometrist for children 18 years and under, and adults aged 65 and above. It does not pay for dental care, drugs prescribed by your doctor outside a hospital, or physiotherapy. All BC residents must join MSP so it is important to apply for a health card as soon as you become a resident. If you are low income, you can also apply for premium assistance, which means you pay less for many healthcare services.
You are not covered under the Medical Services Plan (MSP) for the first three-months you live in BC. During the waiting period, you can purchase private health insurance from an insurance broker (Whistler Insurance Shoppe Tel. 604-932-3888 at #109-4369 Main Street, Whistler). If you do not purchase health insurance and you need treatment in hospital or a clinic, it may cost you thousands of dollars per day.
Once you have your MSP card, you must take it with you every time you go to a hospital or clinic, when seeing a doctor, optometrist or other healthcare professional.
For a video describing the BC Medical Services Plan (MSP), who needs to enrol, and what kinds of medical services are covered under the plan: WelcomeBC Newcomers HealthcareVideo You can watch the video in 10 languages:
Other links for further information:
Ministry of Health: new or existing Residents of B.C., can check eligibility for MSP, how to enroll, and documents required at: MSP eligibility and how to enrol
MSP Coverage: A full overview of MSP, links to how to enroll, change of name or address, replacement card, applying for premium assistance, FAQs and MSP forms: MSP Information
MSP Premiums: For information on the latest monthly rates for MSP, including premium assistance: MSP Premiums
For answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about MSP see MSP FAQs
After February 2013 your MSP card and driving licence will be one card only. This is called the BC Services Card. You need to renew your driver’s licence and MSP every five years. This can be done at the same time. For full details see: BC Drivers Licence and Services Card