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 British Columbia (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 Medical Services Plan (MSP) 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 Medical Services Plan account, means a resident of B.C. 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 B.C. 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 (HIBC) 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 MSP Supplementary Benefits 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 B.C. 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 B.C. 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:
- divorced or separated
- 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
If a spouse or child has moved permanently from B.C., 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.
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 child aged 19 to 24 may be enrolled on a parent or guardian’s account if they are in full-time attendance at a recognized post-secondary institution, and are financially supported by the parent or guardian.
An account holder with a child turning 19 or 25 years old will receive notification from HIBC providing options for the child’s ongoing MSP coverage. You will receive notification if any children are added to or removed from a family’s coverage on your group account.
A resident of B.C. who leaves the province 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
Any changes to the coverage status of your members’ dependents will be reflected in the Group Account Maintenance Confirmation letter (sent monthly to all groups) and Group Account Coverage Summary letter (if requested). For more information, see “Monitoring Your Group Plan Membership” on Administering a Group Plan.