Health Insurance – BC MSP (Medical Services Plan)
If you reside in BC for a minimum of 6 months per calendar year, you need to apply for a British Columbia Medical Services Plan (for the sake of saving space and time I’ll refer to it as BC MSP). BC MSP is a health coverage plan for the permanent residents; which means that the visitors and tourists are not eligible. You can obtain the coverage through your employer, or get a self-administered plan. Under the Medicare Protection Act, enrolment with MSP is mandatory for all eligible residents and their dependents.
Companies will cover their employees after a probationary period, which is usually 3 months, if at all; some employers would require you to work at a certain position in order to be covered. Most employers do not bother with the additional coverage, as the employees are protected by the WorkSafe BC, premiums for which are automatically charged quarterly by the WSBC.
The regular cost of the plan is $69.25 per month, which is paid in either monthly, quarterly, in semi-annual or in annual instalments. The company that we worked with initially when I was going to Canada for the first time for my High School arranged the coverage, and I have received my Care Card within 2-3 months after my arrival. Before that I was temporarily insured by a private firm in addition to the travel health care plan from my credit card issuer (I’ve had a Gold Visa for a year). Ideally, you apply for your MSP as soon as you arrive into BC, and maintain your previous coverage for 3 months, until the MSP is approved, and the sufficient documentation proving it has been received.
NOTE: If you make less than $30,000 per year, you may qualify for a lower premium cost. See this table for monthly premium rates.
Care Card may be used as a secondary piece of ID. It covers medical visits, and full/partial cost of the medications.