Covered by another provincial medical plan?
Have your health care card number, together with the expiry date (if applicable), so that we can bill your province on your behalf.
If you have made a permanent move to BC from another province, your medical coverage from the other province will be valid for a three month period starting with the month of arrival in BC.
If you are a student or temporary worker from another province, please contact our office immediately with your provincial medical card number with expiration date (if applicable). Your home province medical will be valid for your stay in BC.
If you have received a bill, we may be missing information to properly bill your home province. Contact us to have this corrected.
Some provincial medical plans have different levels of coverage so you may be billed for some services. For instance, Quebec does not allow billing for physician services. Residents of Quebec are required to pay the doctor bill first and seek reimbursement from Regie de l'assurance maladie Quebec (RAMQ) with a paid receipt. Check with your province's health website for more information.
If you have permanently relocated to BC, remember to apply for Medical Services Plan of BC (MSP) coverage. To qualify for MSP, you must be a resident of British Columbia. MSP coverage is not automatic and you need to apply for it to get your own BC Care Card. Visit the Medical Services Plan of BC (MSP) website for more information on eligibility, and coverage for study/work permits.
Visiting Canada or have no coverage?
Tourists and visitors are not covered by our provincial Medical Services Plan (MSP) and will be billed for all health care services.
It is advised that you arrive in B.C. with travel/private insurance. Insurance claims are patient-led and must be started by the patient. Copies of the insurance documents are taken at the time of hospital admittance in order to confirm information with the insurance company.
If your visit is only to the Emergency room, you will be required to pay for the fee at the time of registration and seek reimbursement directly from your insurance company. Depending on your insurance plan, you may also need to request health records for your claim.
If you are admitted to the hospital, Finance will attempt to coordinate direct billing with your insurance company. However, this does not guarantee your insurance company will approve the claim or agree to remit payment directly to Island Health (Vancouver Island Health Authority). Some insurance companies in the United States will only remit payment to their members. It is therefore your responsibility to contact your insurance company prior to coming to Canada to find out what will be covered. It is advisable to purchase travel insurance in addition to your home plan.
Individuals who reside in Canada, but do not have proof of Permanent Resident status, will be billed as Non-Residents of Canada.
If you have Permanent Resident status, you qualify for BC Medical and should apply as soon as your status is confirmed. There may be a three month wait period before your coverage is valid.
In some cases, if you have a work or study permit valid for more than six months you may also qualify for BC Medical. Once again, there will be a three month wait period before your coverage is valid.
Facility costs versus Physician costs
After receiving care at one of our hospitals, you may receive two separate bills:
- For facility costs (includes nursing care, supplies etc.)
- For physicians' services
Island Health (Vancouver Island Health Authority) Accounts Receivable department does not bill on behalf of the physician. Physicians' bills are issued by their own offices. Any questions or payments should be directed to the billing address specified on the invoice or statement.