Adding, Updating and Removing Members' Dependents

A dependent includes a spouse, child or dependent post-secondary student.

“Spouse” with respect to another person means a resident of B.C. who is married to or is living and cohabiting in a marriage-like relationship with the applicant and may be of the same gender as the applicant.

"Qualifying Spouse", in relation to an eligible person, means a beneficiary who:

(a) is the spouse of the eligible person, and

(b) is not a minor or a dependent post-secondary student.

“Child”, for the purpose of determining who may be included on a member’s premium account, means a resident of B.C. who:

(a) is a child of a beneficiary or a person in respect of whom the beneficiary stands in place of a parent,

(b) is a minor,

(c) does not have a spouse, and

(d) is supported by the beneficiary.

"Dependent post-secondary student", for the purpose of determining who may be included on a member's premium account, means a resident of BC who is:

(a) older than 18 and younger than 25 years of age,

(b) in full-time attendance at a recognized post-secondary institution, and

(c) supported by a beneficiary who is the person's parent or who stands in place of the person's parent.

A dependent post-secondary student may include a student enrolled in full-time studies at a trade school, technical school or high school.

All dependents must be residents of British Columbia to qualify for provincial health care benefits. Please refer to Eligibility and Enrolment for the definition of a resident.

Adding a Spouse

To add a spouse to a Group Account (employer, pension plan or other): the group member or Group Administrator should submit an MSP Group Change Request form (HLTH 170) (PDF version) to HIBC, authorized by the Group Administrator if required, along with all required supporting documents.

Groups submitting spouse changes (addition or removal of a spouse) via MSP Direct must retain a copy of one of the following:

  • MSP Group Change Request form (HLTH 170) completed and signed by the group account holder requesting the change; or
  • A statement completed and signed by the group account holder requesting the change and including the following
    • the date of signature
    • the date of divorce or separation
    • the group member’s and former spouse’s full names
    • the former spouse’s current address, or an indication that the new address is unknown; and
    • the group member’s and former spouse’s Account Numbers or Personal Health Numbers

If your group member would like to update their last name due to a marriage or divorce, they must submit one of the following documents to Health Insurance BC along with a letter requesting the name change:

  • Certificate of Name Change
  • Marriage Certificate
  • Divorce Decree 
  • Separation Agreement

If submitting a Marriage Certificate, Divorce Decree, or Separation Agreement, the document must show the last name you are requesting; otherwise a legal name change document is required.

Failure to update an MSP account after a group member is married or begins living in a marriage-like relationship may impact eligibility for Regular Premium Assistance and other income-based programs. 

Coverage for Established Residents

Spouse – is eligible as of the date of marriage.

Common-law Spouse – is eligible on the first day of the month that the request is made.

Newborn – is eligible as of the date of birth.

Student age 19 to 24 – if coverage is required, is eligible for coverage under the parent’s plan on the first day of the month of enrolment at school or university. For studies outside of B.C., please see “Attending School Outside British Columbia” below.

Adopted Child – if adopted within Canada the child is eligible from the date of adoption. A copy of the Notice of Placement from the adoption agency is required. If being adopted from outside Canada the child is generally eligible on the date of arrival in British Columbia. A copy of the child’s immigration document and a letter from the Director of Adoptions, Ministry of Children and Family Development, to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (either a letter of no objection or a Hague letter) is required. If the child is being adopted from the United States and arrives in B.C. before an immigration document has been issued, the parents should include a note to this effect, and a copy of the letter described previously.

Guardianship - if requesting addition of a child who is not the beneficiary’s child, HIBC requires a photocopy of a legal document indicating guardianship to determine eligibility as a dependent. This information must be sent with a Group Change Request form.

Note: when an effective date for a dependent is on the second day of the month or later, no additional premium is payable for that month.

Coverage for New Residents

Dependents establishing residence in British Columbia are eligible for coverage as outlined in the B.C. Residents section of this website.

Cancelling a Dependent's Group Coverage

A dependent's group coverage will be cancelled at the end of the month he/she ceases to be eligible. Please have your employee complete and submit a Group Change Request form, along with all required supporting documents, to cancel group coverage if any of the following situations occur:

Spouse if

  • divorced or separated
  • deceased

Child if

  • married or living and cohabiting in a marriage-like relationship
  • age 19 or older and no longer enrolled in a full-time study program at a recognized educational facility
  • deceased

If a spouse or child has moved permanently from British Columbia, direct your group member to update their account using the online Permanent Move form.

If a dependent obtains his/her own coverage, HIBC will remove the dependent from the employee’s plan.

Spouse Turning 19 Years Old

If a group member’s spouse is under 19 years old, no premiums will be charged for the spouse. When the spouse turns 19 years old, premium charges will be established for them automatically and will begin to appear on group invoices.

Children Age 19 and Over

In order to remain eligible for coverage upon a child’s 19th birthday, a child must meet the residency requirements and all of the following requirements as a dependent post-secondary student:

  • single (not married or living and cohabiting in a marriage-like relationship)
  • 24 years of age or younger
  • supported by the account holder, who is their parent or guardian
  • enrolled in a full-time study program at an accredited recognized post-secondary institution

A dependent post-secondary student older than 18 and younger than 25 years of age must be a beneficiary on the parent or guardian's account to be recognized as a dependent for the purposes of determining MSP premium rates. As long as the above criteria are met, no premiums will be charged for the child older than 18 and younger than 25 years of age on the parent/guardian's account. A dependent post-secondary student may include a student enrolled in full-time studies at a trade school, technical school or high school.

Before turning 19, individuals need to renew enrolment in MSP and obtain a Photo BC Services Card. A letter is sent to each individual turning 19 to inform them of this requirement. 

Another letter is sent to the mailing address on the parent’s account two months before a child’s 19th birthday. The letter advises that:

  • coverage under the parent’s account will end on the last day of the month the child turns 19;
  • continuous coverage under a new, self-administered account will be established with full Regular Premium Assistance if residency requirements for assistance are met;
  • the parent or guardian has the option of continuing to cover the child, if the child is eligible.

If coverage is being provided for a child age 19 to 24, this arrangement will end on the last day of the month schooling is completed. Continuous coverage under a new, self-administered account is established.

If coverage is being provided for a child approaching the age of 25, the parent is sent a letter advising that this arrangement will end on the last day of the month the child turns 25. Continuous coverage under a self-administered account is established.

A child coming off a parent’s account does not usually have a level of income that requires him/her to pay premiums. Therefore, if the residency requirements for assistance have been met, 100 percent Regular Premium Assistanceis initially provided to the child under his/her new account. When it is time to determine if this assistance can continue, HIBC sends him/her an Application for Regular Premium Assistance.

Attending School Outside of British Columbia

A resident of British Columbia who leaves B.C. to attend school or university may be eligible for benefits for the duration of studies if the individual is enrolled in a full-time study program at a recognized educational facility, and at the time of leaving was physically present in Canada for 6 of the 12 months immediately preceeding departure.

Beneficiaries who have been studying outside B.C. must return to the province by the end of the month following the month in which studies are completed. Any student who will not return to B.C. within that timeframe, must contact HIBC to discuss their situation.

Please provide our Leaving B.C. pamphlet to any account holder or family member who will be leaving the province to attend school or university