- > International students
- > Health care and health insurance
- > BC Medical Services Plan (MSP)
BC Medical Services Plan (MSP)
MSP is BC’s provincial health insurance plan. Anyone living in BC for six months or longer (including international students) is required by law to enrol in MSP and pay the plan’s premiums.
Apply for MSP as soon as you arrive in BC. Application forms are available:
What does MSP cover?
|MSP covers:||MSP does not cover:|
Simply show your BC Services Card when you seek medical care. In most cases, you will not have to pay.
Visit the MSP website for a full list of the medical and health care benefits available.
When am I eligible for MSP coverage?
You are eligible for MSP coverage after a three-month waiting period. The waiting period includes the rest of the month in which you arrive in BC, plus two full calendar months.
So, if you arrive in BC on August 25, you will be eligible for MSP on November 1.
In order to maintain eligibility for MSP, temporary residents (including international students) need to live in British Columbia (BC) for a minimum 6 months within one calendar year. If you are absent from BC for more than 6 months within a calendar year, you will need to re-apply upon your return to the province and go through the 3-month waiting period.
For example, if you live outside of BC between May-November 2013, you may need to reapply for your health insurance. However, if you are away from BC September 2013-April 2014, you remain eligible for MSP because you are only absent from the province for 4 months within each calendar year.
Please contact MSP if you have questions about your eligibility.
How do I apply for MSP coverage?
You may download the I. House tutorial for step-by-step instructions on completing the MSP Application Form (PDF).
How much does MSP cost?
MSP's monthly costs are $66.50 for one person, $120.50 for a family of two, and $133 for a family of three or more. Check the Revenue Services of BC website on how to pay your MSP premiums.
As of February 15, 2013, BC no longer issues CareCards. Instead, BC issues BC Services Cards to individuals covered by MSP. To prove your MSP coverage, simply show your BC Services Card (or your CareCard, if you still have one) to your doctor. Your MSP number is called a Personal Health Number and is written on your BC Services Card.
You will be sent a BC Services Card once your application has been processed. Note that temporary residents (e.g. those in Canada on a study or work permit) are eligible for the non-photo BC Services Card. If you want photo ID, you may apply for an optional BC driver’s licence or BC Identification Card (BCID).
You can contact MSP one month after submitting your application to confirm that they received it.
What should I do if I need to see a doctor but don’t have my BC Services Card yet?
If you have already submitted your application, you will be covered immediately after the waiting period – even if your BC Services Card has not arrived. You might have to pay at the time you see a doctor. Keep your receipt, and request reimbursement from MSP once your card arrives. During the waiting period for MSP, when you visit the Urgent Care, Emergency Department in a hospital or have inpatient services (lab, radiology and other procedures), you can show a copy of your study permit to receive a reduced rate.
How can I extend my MSP?
Generally, your BC Services Card has the same expiry date as your study permit. The expiry date is located on the back of your card.
If your study permit expires, your BC Services Card will expire as well. You must first renew your study permit. After you receive your new permit, you can send a letter along with a copy of your permit to MSP to extend your MSP. Fax or send a photocopy of your new study permit as soon as you receive it to MSP (address below), along with a cover letter that includes the following about you:
- full name
- date of birth
- Personal Health Number
- request for extension
BC Medical Services Plan
PO box 9035 Stn Prov Govt
Victoria, BC V8W 9E3
You can speak with an MSP customer service representative between 8:00 am and 4:30 pm, Monday to Friday
Other areas of BC (toll-free): 1.800.663.7100