Supplementary Benefits

When most patients in B.C. refer to supplementary benefits they are referring to the following services:

  • acupuncture;
  • chiropractic;
  • massage therapy;
  • naturopathy;
  • physical therapy; and
  • non-surgical podiatry.

Those who may be eligible for MSP coverage of these supplementary benefit services include:

  • MSP Premium Assistance Recipients;
  • Income Assistance recipients;
  • Convention refugees;
  • Inmates of B.C. Correctional Facilities;
  • Individuals enroled with MSP through the At Home Program;
  • Residents of long term care facilities receiving the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS);
  • Individuals enroled with MSP as Mental Health Clients; and
  • First Nations individuals with valid B.C. Medical Plan coverage through the First Nations Health Authority.

For these MSP beneficiaries, MSP contributes $23 per visit for a combined annual limit of 10 visits each calendar year for the following services: acupuncture, chiropractic, massage therapy, naturopathy, physical therapy and non-surgical podiatry.  MSP does not provide any coverage for supplementary benefits received outside of the province.

Note: Eligibility for Regular Premium Assistance and supplementary benefits may be impacted if you do not file your taxes each year with the Canada Revenue Agency; or if you do not update your MSP account if you marry or begin living in a marriage-like relationship.

Many supplementary benefits practitioners are opted-out of the Medical Services Plan (MSP). This means they are allowed to charge patients more for a service than is set out in the Payment Schedule.

Opted-out practitioners (for all supplementary benefits service providers) must advise their patients, prior to the treatment being performed:

  • that they have opted out;
  • how much is reimbursed by MSP; and
  • how much the patient will be paying in addition to the MSP fee.

Other Supplementary Services

Eye Exams

Medically required eye examinations are a benefit for all MSP beneficiaries when there is a medical necessity (for example, eye disease, trauma or injury, or health conditions associated with significant risk to the eyes, such as diabetes).

However, routine eye examinations are a benefit only for those 18 years of age and under and 65 years of age and over. Optometrists are permitted to charge patients over and above what is payable by the Medical Services Plan for this service, as is the case with all supplementary health services.

Surgical Podiatry

Surgical podiatry services are a benefit for all beneficiaries. However, if a podiatrist is opted out, he/she may charge patients more than is insured by MSP.

Patients receiving surgical podiatry services may be responsible for:

  • Operating room or surgical suite fees;
  • Surgical supplies; and
  • Service charges over and above what is insured by MSP

All opted-out supplementary benefits practitioners must inform patients of the additional charges prior to services being performed.