Temporary Premium Assistance

What is Temporary Premium Assistance?

Temporary Premium Assistance (TPA) is a program offered to residents of British Columbia who are unable to pay Medical Services Plan (MSP) premiums due to a recent* unexpected event causing financial hardship (for example: illness, disability or unemployment due to job loss). To qualify, applicants must not only demonstrate the unexpected financial hardship but they must also demonstrate that they could not have reasonably budgeted to pay premiums. If all requirements are met, MSP premiums may be temporarily waived.

TPA is available to individuals who pay premiums directly to MSP. TPA is not available to those on Group (Employer) coverage until the group plan has ended and a pay direct account has been established.

* Recent is defined as an event that has taken place within the past 12 months.

Who is eligible?

Regular Premium Assistance is the primary MSP premium assistance program. Eligibility for Regular Premium Assistance must be determined prior to applying for Temporary Premium Assistance.

Assessment of eligibility for TPA requires current income tax information from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). You must obtain your previous year’s adjusted net income from a CRA Notice of Assessment or Notice of Reassessment (along with your spouse’s adjusted net income, if applicable) before applying for TPA. Failure to submit an income tax return to CRA will result in a denial of assistance.


The following situations do not qualify under the TPA program:

  1. Quitting a job (unless deemed justifiable by EI)
  2. Being dismissed for just cause (unless deemed justifiable by EI)
  3. Taking a leave of absence
  4. Seasonal employment
  5. Contract employment
  6. Self-employment
  7. Marital breakdown
  8. Maternity/Parental leave
  9. Being a student (unless returning to school after being laid off or enrolled through a government-sponsored program)
  10. Retirement (unless forced into retirement because of illness or layoff)
  11. Reduction in work hours by request

How do I apply for TPA?

To apply for Temporary Premium Assistance you must complete and submit an Application for Temporary Premium Assistance, including supporting documentation as stated on the application form and accompanying check list, or as otherwise requested by Health Insurance BC.

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