Are you Eligible?

All residents of B.C. must enroll with the Medical Services Plan.

In order to enroll in the Medical Services Plan (MSP), you must meet certain eligibility criteria. These criteria fall under four categories: residents, dependents, First Nations residents, and other individuals in B.C.  Learn about these criteria to determine if you are eligible.


An individual must be a resident of B.C. in order to qualify for medical coverage under MSP. A resident is a person who meets all of the following conditions:

  • must be a citizen of Canada or be lawfully admitted to Canada for permanent residence;
  • must make his or her home in B.C.; and
  • must be physically present in B.C. at least six months in a calendar year, or a shorter prescribed period.*

*Note: Effective January 1, 2013, eligible B.C. residents (citizens of Canada or persons who are lawfully admitted to Canada for permanent residence) who are outside B.C. for vacation purposes only, are allowed a total absence of up to seven months in a calendar year.


Dependents of MSP beneficiaries are also eligible for coverage if they are residents of B.C. Dependents include a spouse and children who are residents of B.C. using the conditions as set out above.

  • Spouse: a resident of B.C. who is married to or is living and cohabiting in a marriage-like relationship with the applicant, and may be of the same gender as the applicant.
  • “Child” - a resident of BC who is the legal child of the beneficiary or the person in respect of whom a beneficiary stands in place of the parent, is supported by the beneficiary, is neither married nor living and cohabitating in a marriage like-relationship, and is either age 18 or younger or age 19-24 and attending school or university full-time.

A spouse or child of an eligible B.C. resident may also be deemed a resident provided that an application for permanent residence status has been accepted for processing by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), and the application remains active.  For more information, see Covering a Spouse or Child who is an Applicant for Permanent Resident Status in Canada (PDF, 274KB).

Learn more about covering a spouse or child who is an applicant for permanent resident status in Canada.

First Nations Residents

Basic Medical Coverage

As of July 2, 2013, the First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) enrols and administers MSP under the B.C. First Nations Tripartite Framework Agreement on First Nation Health Governance (PDF, 1MB).

Eligibility extends to include all Status Indians who are residents of B.C. (excluding persons who receive health benefits by way of a First Nations organization pursuant to self-government agreements with Canada). Eligible B.C. First Nations currently receiving health benefits through Health Canada’s Non-Insured Health Benefits program living in B.C. should already be enrolled. First Nations clients that have their MSP premiums paid by their employer, or through another source, are encouraged to contact the Regional office (1 800 317-7878) to ensure they are on or added to the FNHA Eligibility List.

If you have a non-status family member who needs to obtain coverage, contact Health Insurance BC directly.

Basic Medical Coverage

First Nations Health Benefits

Effective October 1, 2013, the FNHA will provide Health Benefits (formerly Non-Insured Health Benefits) to eligible B.C. First Nations. For more information please contact:

First Nations Health Authority
Health Benefits Department

Vancouver and Lower Mainland: 604 666-3331
Other areas of B.C. (toll free): 1 800 317-7878

Other Individuals in B.C.

Certain other individuals, such as some holders of study and/or work permits, or working permits on working holiday programs — which are issued under the federal Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and are valid for a period of six or more months — may be deemed residents. Tourists or visitors to B.C. do not qualify.

Learn more about working holiday program eligibility requirements.

Useful Contacts

If you are uncertain about your eligibility or the eligibility of your dependent(s), contact Health Insurance BC for assistance.

Telephone: (604) 683-7151 (Lower Mainland)
1-800-663-7100 (Elsewhere in B.C.)
Health Insurance BC PO Box 9035 Stn Prov Govt Victoria, B.C. V8W 9E3
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