Adding and Removing Dependents

MSP defines dependent as a spouse or child. If your family unit has changed, you will want to update your account. For example, if you were recently married or are living in a marriage-like relationship, you will want to add your spouse to your account; if you recently had a child you will want to ensure they are added as your dependent. Find out how to add or remove a dependent from your MSP account – for both self-administered accounts and those who are enrolled under a group plan through an employer, union or pension office. 

Learn who can be covered under your account as a dependent.

Adding Dependents

If you pay premiums directly through a self-administered account and the person you are adding is not already enrolled with the Medical Services Plan (MSP), you must complete an MSP Account Change (HLTH 203) (online submission or PDF version - 570KB). If the person is currently enrolled with MSP under a separate account, contact MSP with details, including the person's name, personal health number, and relationship to you.

If you are enrolled under a group plan administered by an employer, union or pension office, you need to complete a Group Change Request (HLTH 170) (online submission or PDF version - 567KB).

If the person you are adding to your account is already enrolled with MSP and is covered under an account administered by an employer, union or pension plan, that account will only be cancelled if the group plan submits a request. If the person has a self-administered account, that account will be cancelled when the person is added to your plan.

It may be necessary to visit an Insurance Corporation of BC (ICBC) driver licensing office (DLO) to complete enrolment in MSP. If this is the case, written notice with next steps will be mailed to you.

Adding a Spouse

When you marry or begin living in a marriage-like relationship, you should combine separate MSP accounts into one family account. If you choose to remain on separate accounts, you must contact HIBC to link your accounts.

If one or both spouses are changing their names, follow the instructions for Changing Your Name.

Adding a Newborn Child

If the mother of a newborn has MSP coverage, the easiest way to enrol the newborn in MSP is by completing the Electronic Birth Registration through the Vital Statistics Agency. When you complete the Electronic Birth Registration, the Vital Statistics Agency sends the baby’s information to Health Insurance BC (HIBC) through a secure communications network. HIBC will then process the application and determine the baby’s eligibility for MSP coverage. Learn more about adding your newborn child to your MSP account at the same time as you register his/her birth.

Important Notes:

  • If the newborn is a B.C. resident, he/she must be enrolled in MSP. This is true even if the hospital assigns the newborn a Personal Health Number.
  • If MSP coverage is being provided through an employer, another group plan (including the First Nations Health Authority), or the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation (SDSI), the group administrator or SDSI must be advised that the baby is being enrolled in MSP.
  • There are circumstances where the Electronic Birth Registration service cannot be used to enrol a newborn in MSP; for example, the father is requesting coverage for the newborn under an account that does not include the mother. Or it may simply be that a different method of enrolling the baby in MSP is preferred. Whatever the reason, application can be made by completing a Baby Enrolment (HLTH 115) form (PDF, 140KB).
  • Parents who are new to the province and who are arriving with a baby should include the baby on the same form they are completing to obtain coverage.
  • A BC Services Card will be issued when the baby is enrolled in MSP. Depending on the length of the baby's name, it may not be possible to include the full name on the BC Services Card.

The opportunity to automatically enrol a newborn in MSP via the Electronic Birth Registration is offered in partnership with the Vital Statistics Agency. If you would like further information, please refer to the Enrolling your Newborn in the Medical Services Plan (MSP) (PDF, 164KB).

Adding an Internationally Adopted Child

If you are covered under a self-administered account, you need to complete an MSP Account Change (HLTH 203) (online submission or PDF version - 570KB).

If you are enrolled under a group plan administered by an employer, union or pension office, you need to complete a Group Change Request (HLTH 170) (online submission or PDF version - 567KB).

Your form must be submitted with photocopies of documents that support the child’s name and immigration status in Canada. If the child has been granted Canadian citizenship, provide a copy of his/her Canadian citizenship card or Canadian passport. Otherwise, if Citizenship and Immigration Canada has issued the child a “Confirmation of Permanent Residence” document that indicates the adoptive parents’ names, a copy of this document is usually sufficient.  If the child either holds a Confirmation of Permanent Residence document that does not include this information, or holds a different immigration document, two items are required:

  • A copy of the child’s current immigration document, for example his/her Confirmation of Permanent Residence, Permanent Resident Card (front and back), or Temporary Resident Permit, and
  • A letter from the Director, Adoption Branch, Ministry of Children and Family Development, to Citizenship and Immigration Canada, stating that the Ministry has no objection to the adoption (a letter of no objection). 

If the child is being adopted from the United States and arrives in BC before an immigration document has been issued, include a note to this effect and a copy of the letter described previously, with your completed form.

Removing Dependents

Removing a Former Spouse

In the case of divorce, the former spouse is no longer eligible for coverage as a dependent and must apply for separate coverage.

If you are covered under a self-administered account, you need to complete an MSP Account Change (HLTH 203) (online submission or PDF version - 570KB).

If you are covered under a group plan administered by an employer, union, or pension office, you need to complete a Group Change Request (HLTH 170) (online submission or PDF version - 567KB).

Removing Children

Children are no longer eligible for coverage on a parent or guardian’s account when they:

  • marry or live together in a marriage-like relationship, or
  • turn 19 years of age, unless they are in full-time attendance at a recognized post-secondary institution and are supported by the parent or guardian. (A dependent post-secondary student may include a student enrolled in full-time studies at a trade school, technical school or high school.)

Health Insurance BC will send a letter to the account holder as a child approaches age 19, advising that coverage as a dependent under that account will end on the last day of the month the child turns 19. MSP will provide continuous coverage for the child by setting up a new, self-administered account. Initially, the child will be provided a full premium subsidy (if the residency requirements for premium assistance are met).

The account holder has the option of continuing to cover the child, if the child is eligible. There are forms on the back of the letter for this purpose, or see Continued Enrolment in MSP for Ages 19-24. Dependent coverage can continue for children who are full-time students until the last day of the month in which they turn 25, provided they are not married or living in a marriage-like relationship, and are supported by the account holder.

Removing Deceased Individuals

When a family member passes away, it is not usually necessary to notify Health Insurance BC. When a person dies in B.C., MSP's records are updated automatically. However, if the family member passed away outside B.C. or more than 60 days have elapsed and there is reason to believe MSP's records have not been updated, please contact Health Insurance BC.

If the person was covered under a self-administered account, you can either visit a Service BC location in your area or contact Health Insurance BC. You will need to provide the person's name, personal health number and the date he or she passed away.

If the person was covered under a group plan administered by a third party such as an employer, union or pension office, contact that party. They, in turn, will advise Health Insurance BC. If the person who passed away was the account holder and other family members were covered under the same account, the group plan will be able to advise whether they will continue to cover the family members.