COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

Access to Care is a High Priority – B.C. Medical Services Plan

Q1. Who do I contact if I have general concerns or questions regarding COVID-19 testing and/or treatment?

When in B.C., if you have questions about your or a family members’ health related to COVID-19 symptoms or other medical issues, please contact Healthlink BC at 8-1-1.

If you have non-medical questions about COVID-19, please call or text:

  • Within Canada: 1 888 COVID19, 1 888 268 4319
  • International Calls: 1 604 412 0957; or
  • Text: 1 604 630 0300

The province has provided a self-assessment tool to assist individuals in determining their next steps based on exposure.

Further information can be found on the following websites:

https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/

www.gov.bc.ca/covid-19

Q2. What if my temporary permits have expired and I no longer have MSP coverage?

In response to COVID-19, individuals who are currently in B.C., who were previously enrolled in MSP as a deemed resident, and their MSP has expired, may be provided temporary MSP coverage.

Individuals should contact Health Insurance BC to request this temporary coverage.

Health Insurance BC

Toll-free: 1 800 663-7100
Lower Mainland: 604 683-7151

Mailing Address:
Health Insurance BC
PO Box 9035 Stn Prov Gov
Victoria, BC V8W 9E3

This may include individuals who have applied for a new work or study permit but it has yet to arrive.

In these circumstances temporary coverage will be granted until July 31, 2020.

Q3. I am a resident of B.C., but I am currently outside of the province/country and unable to return, which means I will be exceeding my allowable absence per the Medical and Health Care Services Regulation.

In response to COVID-19, temporary coverage may be provided to individuals who are unable to return home due to COVID-19 and will exceed their maximum allowable absence from B.C.

This includes those that are outside Canada for vacation purposes, work, or in full time studies as per the Medical and Health Care Services Regulations.

Temporary coverage will be valid until July 31, 2020.

Please note, if you are out of country provincial emergency coverage is limited to the physician fee rates that are published in the Medical Services Commission Payment Schedule. The Hospital Insurance Act and Hospital Insurance Act Regulations limits the in-patient hospital per diem rate for hospital services outside Canada, to a maximum of $75 per day, in Canadian funds.

B.C. residents are, as always, strongly advised to purchase additional health insurance when travelling to other countries. Check with your private health insurance provider to see if there is coverage for COVID-19.

Waiver of Wait Period for Canadians returning to B.C. during the state of emergency due to COVID-19

Q4. I am a resident of B.C. and have just returned home. While out of the province I exceeded my allowable absence as per the Medical and Health Care Services Regulation. Will I still have access to health care?

In response to COVID-19, waiving of the wait period may be proved for individuals who return home, and plan to stay in B.C., after exceeding their allowable absence due to COVID-19. Individuals must meet and maintain the residency requirements as per the Medical and Health Care Services Regulations. 

Q5. I am a resident returning to B.C. from a COVID-19 impacted country. Do I need to serve my wait period before I get MSP coverage and can access provincially insured health care benefits?

In response to COVID-19, waiving of the wait period may be provided for Canadian Citizens and Permanent Residents, as defined in the Medical and Health Care Services Regulations returning from COVID-19 impacted countries.

The MSP and your BC Services Card

Q6. What if I am unable to attend an ICBC counter to renew enrolment with MSP due to COVID-19?

During the COVID-19 pandemic some MSP beneficiaries may be unwilling or unable to attend an ICBC driver licensing office to renew their enrollment in MSP and obtain a renewed BC Services Card.

A beneficiary may request a Confirmation of Coverage letter from Health Insurance BC if they are unwilling or unable to attend an ICBC driver licensing office to renew their MSP enrollment.  

To obtain a Confirmation of Coverage document, MSP beneficiaries should contact Health Insurance BC and advise of their circumstances in order to be issued a letter that is mailed to the beneficiary.

Please note that an MSP beneficiary can access provincially insured health care benefits using the Personal Health Number that is printed on an expired BC Services Card and another form of identification.

Health Insurance BC

Toll-free: 1 800 663-7100
Lower Mainland: 604 683-7151

Mailing Address:
Health Insurance BC
PO Box 9035 Stn Prov Gov
Victoria, BC V8W 9E3

Q7. I am new to BC and am trying to enrol in the MSP. What if I am unable to attend an ICBC counter for identity proofing due to COVID-19?

During the COVID-19 pandemic, MSP applicants who are unwilling or unable to attend an ICBC driver licensing office to complete the identity proofing step of two step enrolment, may be enrolled in MSP with temporary coverage provided they have successfully registered with Health Insurance BC.

Individuals who are temporarily enrolled in this manner will not be issued a BC Services Card but will be provided with a Confirmation of Temporary Coverage letter as evidence of temporary MSP enrolment. This letter outlines that coverage is active, and the beneficiary’s PHN.

Temporary coverage will be valid until July 31, 2020.

To obtain a Confirmation of Temporary Coverage letter contact Health Insurance BC and advise of your circumstances. If applicable, a letter will be mailed to the beneficiary.

Health Insurance BC

Toll-free: 1 800 663-7100
Lower Mainland: 604 683-7151

Mailing Address:
Health Insurance BC
PO Box 9035 Stn Prov Gov
Victoria, BC V8W 9E3

Q8. What if I am not eligible for the B.C. MSP and I think I have COVID-19, will I have to pay for my treatment?

If you have questions about your or a family members’ health related to COVID-19 symptoms or other medical issues, please contact Healthlink BC at 8-1-1.

If you have been advised or feel it is necessary to seek additional care from a medical professional for symptoms related to COVID-19, and you do not have private insurance coverage, provincially insured MSP health care coverage may be provided to you or your family members. 

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, individuals present in B.C. who would otherwise not be eligible for coverage under MSP will be provided provincially insured health care coverage for services related to suspected or confirmed cases of infection with COVID-19. Services for unrelated conditions that are performed on non-eligible MSP patients will remain uninsured.

Your attending medical professional will be responsible for determining your eligibility for this coverage.

Q9. I am a temporary foreign worker who has come to B.C. to work during the COVID-19 pandemic; I am unable to access private insurance, can I be insured under the MSP?

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, temporary foreign workers in BC with a permit of less than 6 months, who would otherwise not be eligible for coverage under the MSP, will be provided temporary MSP coverage to July 31, 2020 or the end of your permit, whichever is sooner. 

Individuals should contact Health Insurance BC to request this temporary coverage.

Health Insurance BC

Toll-free: 1 800 663-7100
Lower Mainland: 604 683-7151