Supplementary Benefits

Applying for Supplementary Benefits
Apply Online
Apply by Mail
After You Apply
Assistance Through Other Programs

Medical Services Plan (MSP) supplementary benefits provide partial payment for certain medical services obtained in British Columbia and may provide access to other income-based programs. MSP supplementary benefits support the following services from approved providers:

  • 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:

  • Those who have applied and been deemed eligible based on their annual net income
  • 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 from approved providers: 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: Many supplementary benefits practitioners are opted-out of the 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.

Applying for Supplementary Benefits

MSP enrolment must be complete for you (and your spouse, if applicable) to qualify for supplementary benefits. To complete MSP enrolment, submit the MSP Application for Enrolment form and obtain a Photo BC Services Card by visiting an Insurance Corporation of BC (ICBC) driver licensing office. To find an ICBC driver licensing office near you, please visit icbc.com.

In addition, to be eligible for supplementary benefits, you must:

  • be a resident of British Columbia as defined by the Medicare Protection Act
  • have resided in Canada as a Canadian citizen or holder of permanent resident status (landed immigrant) for at least the last 12 months immediately preceding this application; and
  • not be exempt from liability to pay income tax by reason of any other act

Eligibility for supplementary benefits is based on your net income from last year as confirmed by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) (or combined net income for you and your spouse), less deductions for:

  • Your age (and the age of your spouse)
  • Family size
  • Disability; and
  • Any income from the Universal Child Care Benefit and Registered Disability Savings Plan

The amount left is called "adjusted net income." If it is less than $42,000, your family may qualify for supplementary benefits.

You only need to apply once if you:

  • Remain eligible for MSP coverage; and
  • File your taxes every year

Eligibility for supplementary benefits may be impacted if you do not file your taxes each year with CRA; or if you do not update your MSP account if you marry or begin living in a marriage-like relationship. (For information on combining or linking accounts, see Adding and Removing Dependants).

Income verification: The application process includes giving permission to CRA to release Notice of Assessment or Notice of Reassessment information for you (and your spouse if applicable) to the Ministry of Health and/or Health Insurance BC. We will continue to verify your income each year and assess your eligibility automatically. To avoid losing your eligibility or having to reapply, make sure to file your taxes each year.

Apply Online

The online application takes about 15 minutes to complete. The data you enter will be saved locally to the computer or device you are using up until the point that you close your browser window or submit the form.

Before you start, make sure that:

  • You are using one of these web browsers: Internet Explorer 11 or the latest version of Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome or Apple Safari
  • You have a Notice of Assessment or Reassessment from CRA for you (and your spouse)
  • You have a personal health number for you and your spouse, if applicable
  • You have a Social Insurance Number for you and your spouse, if applicable
  • You are able to include a Power of Attorney letter if you are applying on behalf of someone else

Apply Now

Note: you must apply using the print Application for Supplementary Benefits (HLTH 103) (PDF, 332KB) if you have a spouse who lives and earns income outside British Columbia.

Apply by Mail

You can also apply by mail using a paper application form:

Mail the completed application form along with copies of a Notice of Assessment or Reassessment from CRA for you (and your spouse):

Health Insurance BC
Medical Services Plan
PO Box 9677 Stn Prov Govt
Victoria BC   V8W 9P7

After You Apply

If you qualify for supplementary benefits, you will be eligible to claim reimbursement for covered services from January 1 to December 31 of the year in which you qualify.

If you do not qualify, you will continue to be responsible for payment for the services.

Changes to Your Eligibility

Based on your income tax information from the CRA, your eligibility for supplementary benefits may change. For example, if your net income for the previous year was higher than usual (e.g., you cashed in RRSPs), it could affect your eligibility for supplementary benefits for a period of time.

If your tax return has been reassessed and you think this might change your eligibility, send a copy of the Notice of Reassessment for you (and your spouse if applicable) to Health Insurance BC. If you don’t think the information about your Notice of Assessment or Notice of Reassessment from CRA is correct, contact Health Insurance BC.

Assistance Through Other Programs

Under Healthy Kids, families deemed eligible for supplementary benefits may be eligible for basic dental treatment, optical care, and hearing assistance through the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction.

Fair PharmaCare helps BC residents with eligible costs of prescriptions and certain medical supplies. For more information or to register, visit.

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.