Medical Services Plan

MSP Premiums Eliminated Effective Jan. 1, 2020

In February’s 2018 BC Budget announcement, the Finance Minister announced the following changes to Medical Services Plan (MSP) premiums:

  • Beginning Jan. 1, 2020, all BC residents (and employers who pay MSP premiums on behalf of their employees) will no longer be required to pay monthly MSP premiums. For 2018 and 2019, MSP premiums will still apply.
  • Beginning Jan. 1, 2019, employers such as UBC will pay an Employer’s Health Tax (EHT) to allow for the full elimination of MSP premiums.

More information about these changes will be provided prior to their implementation date.

Reduction to MSP Premiums Effective Jan. 1, 2018

Reduction to MSP Premiums Effective Jan. 1, 2018

The Medical Services Plan (MSP) is the provincial government program that covers medically required services provided by physicians and supplementary health care practitioners, laboratory services and diagnostic procedures. In the fall, the BC Ministry of Health announced an updated calculation of MSP rates.

Effective January 1, 2018, current rates for MSP premiums will be reduced by 50% for all British Columbians. There is no need to apply for this reduction as premium amounts will be automatically adjusted.

Reminder: There are no MSP premiums charged for dependent children (under the age of 19 or between the ages of 19-25 if they are considered a full-time student).

MSP Rates 2017 Monthly Premiums Monthly Premiums Effective Jan. 1, 2018
One Adult $75.00 $37.50
Two Adults $150.00 $75.00

If you are enrolled under the UBC Group MSP plan:

Employees who pay all or a portion of their MSP premiums (i.e. 100% or 75% of the premium) will pay less than they do now.

If you are part of an employment group that does not pay MSP premiums (BCGEU Childcare, CUPE 116, CUPE 2950, BCGEU Okanagan, Executive Administrative and IUOE 882), this rate change will not impact you.

View the Eligibility & Costs page for your employment group to see the MSP monthly premium cost effective Jan. 1, 2018. The cost is broken down to show what you pay and what UBC pays (if applicable).

The change in premium or portion of premium that you pay (if applicable) will appear on your Dec. 31, 2017 pay statement (premiums are taken one month in advance). You can view your pay statement online via the UBC Faculty and Staff Self-Service website (VPN is necessary to access Self-Service off campus).

Eligibility for Reduced Premiums

Health Insurance BC provides financial assistance (full or partial subsidy) for families who have filed their taxes and have an adjusted net income of $42,000 or less. For more information, please visit the Premium Assistance section of our MSP page.

Newcomers to Canada: How Canadian Health Benefits Work

Moving can be overwhelming, especially if you are trying to figure out how things work in a new country. This article provides an overview on how health benefits work in Canada.

Canada’s Universal Healthcare System Provides Coverage for Physician and Hospital Services

Canada has a universal healthcare system or public health insurance, which means that you don’t have to pay for most healthcare services, including medically necessary physician and hospital services.

Each province and territory has their own health insurance plan and in British Columbia, ours is called the Medical Services Plan (MSP). MSP is administered by Health Insurance BC and is mandatory for all BC residents, including those who hold study and/or work permits or working permits on working holiday programs that are valid for a period of six months or more.

Newcomers to Canada must serve a waiting period for MSP. Generally, the waiting period consists of the balance of the month you arrive in British Columbia plus two full months.  It’s recommended that you arrange for private medical coverage during the MSP waiting period, either in your home country or Canada. Please refer to the UBC HR website for more information.

Consider the following scenario:

A new faculty member from the United States arrived in British Columbia on August 22, 2017. When will their MSP start?

Their MSP will start on November 1, 2017 (waiting period is the balance of August plus the months of September and October). 

Enrol for MSP once you arrive in British Columbia. Enrolment is not automatic, and delaying your enrolment may impact your coverage. If you have dependents (spouse and/or dependent children), you may also include them on your enrolment form.

To enrol for MSP through UBC, please complete the UBC Benefits Sign-On Session to complete your payroll, benefits and pension (if eligible) forms. Refer to your letter of offer for the paragraph that explains how to do this.

Depending on your appointment at UBC, you may be responsible for some, all or none of the monthly MSP premium cost.

Closer to the start date of your MSP coverage, Health Insurance BC will mail you a BC Services Card with your Personal Health Number. Each family member will receive their own card and number. When you use public healthcare services, present your BC Services Card to the medical clinic or hospital as proof of coverage.

Other Useful Information:

Coverage for Prescription Drugs

UBC faculty and staff and their dependents (spouse and/or dependent children) are eligible for prescription drug coverage through our Extended Health plan that is administered by Sun Life.

Depending on your appointment at UBC, you may receive 70–100% coverage for prescription drugs that are prescribed by a physician or dentist and obtained from a pharmacist.

Newcomers to Canada must wait for their MSP to start before their Extended Health coverage becomes effective. The only exception is if you enrol for private medical coverage with Sun Life (Sun Life Inpatriate Plan) during the MSP waiting period; if you enrol for this Plan, then your Extended Health coverage will start on the first of the month on or after your date of hire.

Enrol for Extended Health when you enrol for MSP. Enrolment is not automatic and delaying your enrolment may impact your coverage.

Once enrolled, Sun Life will mail a drug card to your home address. You will receive one card in your name if you have single coverage, and two cards in your name if you have couple or family coverage. When you are filling a prescription at the pharmacy, show your BC Services Card and your Sun Life drug card. The pharmacy will electronically submit your claim to Sun Life and you will pay the pharmacy for what the Plan does not cover.

Consider the following scenario:

A new faculty member went to a pharmacy to fill their prescription. The cost was $50. How much do they need to pay?

The new faculty member is enrolled under the UBC Faculty Extended Health Plan and prescription drug coverage is 80%. They should present their BC Services Card and Sun Life drug card to the pharmacy. The pharmacy will submit the claim to Sun Life and charge the new faculty member $10 for the prescription (Sun Life will cover $40 (80% of $50) and the faculty member pays the pharmacy what the plan does not cover $10 ($50 – $40)).

This example assumes that the faculty member has satisfied the Plan’s annual $25 annual deductible. If they have not, the faculty member would pay $30 for the prescription (Sun Life will cover $20 ($50 less $25 deductible multiplied by 80%) and the faculty member pays the pharmacy what the plan does not cover $30 ($50 less $20)).

For more information on how to make claims, including how to coordinate benefits (if you are covered under more than one Extended Health plan), please refer to the Making a Claim section of our website.

Enrol for Fair PharmaCare:

In British Columbia, BC PharmaCare, through their program Fair PharmaCare, provides financial assistance for the cost of eligible prescription drugs once your Fair PharmaCare deductible has been satisfied.

If you are enrolled for MSP, enrol for Fair PharmaCare. They will calculate your Fair PharmaCare deductible (based on family income) and provide you with a registration number. You will need to let Sun Life know your registration number so that they can coordinate payment of your prescription drug claims with PharmaCare once your Fair PharmaCare deductible has been satisfied.

Coordination happens behind the scenes, so there is no further action required by you other than enrolling for Fair PharmaCare and letting Sun Life know your registration number.

Coverage for Other Medical Services and Supplies

Our Extended Health plan that is administered by Sun Life also provides coverage for other medical services and supplies (up to specified maximums):

  • Services from registered psychologists/clinical counsellors, massage therapists, physiotherapists, chiropractors, acupuncturists and other paramedical practitioners
  • Vision care, including the cost of prescription contact lenses or eyeglasses
  • Medically necessary equipment ordered by a doctor, such as a wheelchair, hearing aids, custom-made orthopaedic shoes and orthotic inserts
  • Emergency medical care while travelling out of province
  • Medically necessary services, such as a private or semi-private hospital room, private duty nursing and ambulance services

You will be required to pay first and submit a claim to Sun Life for reimbursement. The only exception is if your service provider submits claims electronically on your behalf and accepts payment from Sun Life (you can ask your provider what their billing practice is). When making claims, you will need the plan numbers below. These numbers also apply for your dependents.

UBC Extended Health Plan Details:

            Benefits Provider: Sun Life
            Group/Policy: 025205
            Member/Certificate No: Your 7-digit UBC ID

For more information about your coverage, how to make claims and/or how to coordinate benefits (if you are covered under more than one Extended Health plan), please refer to the Extended Health and Making a Claim sections of the UBC HR website.

Coverage for Dental Services

Our Dental plan that is administered by Sun Life provides coverage for a wide range of dental services, from regular check-ups to major procedures such as root canals and crowns, as well as orthodontic work, up to specified maximums. These procedures may be provided by a licensed dentist, denturist, dental hygienist or anaesthetist.

Most dental offices will submit claims electronically on your behalf. You may be required to pay your dental office (which means Sun Life reimburses you for what the Plan covers) or your dental office will receive payment from Sun Life (which means that you only pay the office what the Plan does not cover). You can ask your dental office what their billing practice is. Inform your dental office of your plan numbers below.  These numbers also apply to your dependents.

UBC Dental Plan Details:

            Benefits Provider: Sun Life
            Group/Policy: 025205
            Member/Certificate No: Your 7-digit UBC ID

For more information about your coverage, how to make claims and/or how to coordinate benefits (if you are covered under more than one Dental plan), please refer to the Dental and Making a Claim sections of the UBC HR website.

Other Useful Information:

Want More Information? 

UBC HR invites you to attend a Benefits workshop, hosted at the Vancouver campus with video conferencing available at the Diamond Health Care Centre. Registration is required.

Benefits Workshop (in-person)
Wednesday, October 18, 2017
12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Life Sciences Centre, 2350 Health Sciences Mall, Room 1002 (map)
Note: Register
Benefits Workshop (video conference)
Wednesday, October 18, 2017
12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Diamond Health Care Centre, 2775 Laurel Street, Room 2230
Note: Register

Work Permit Renewals & Medical Services Plan Coverage

If you are working in British Columbia under a work permit and you are enrolled in the Medical Services Plan (MSP), your medical coverage will end when your work permit expires.

If you are applying for a new work permit, it is important that you apply as far in advance of the expiry date of your current work permit as possible. This will avoid a lapse in coverage and having to serve another wait period. According to the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada website (IRCC), the current processing time for a work permit extension (same employer) is 84 days for online applications and 118 days if you submit by paper.

If you hold a work permit, UBC Human Resources will send you an email next week with more details.

 

Health Benefits Coverage for Students during the Summer Months

Updated March 20, 2018

Your child has packed up their books for the summer and will be returning to their post-secondary studies in the fall. Whatever they do this summer, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that they’re still covered under your UBC health benefits plan.

If you have a dependent child between the ages of 19 and 25 who is a full-time student, they may continue to be eligible for coverage under your UBC Medical Services Plan (MSP), Extended Health and Dental plans and Employee and Family Assistance Program during the summer months if they will be returning to school in the fall.

If your child has graduated or does not plan on returning to school, their coverage will end on the last day of the month in which they complete their studies. You must provide us with this date on the Student Health Benefits Dependent Confirmation form you are required to submit each year.

If this date changes (for example, if your child reduces their course load and is no longer a full-time student, graduates earlier than originally indicated, or changes their plans and will not return to school), you are responsible for informing Payroll that your child is no longer eligible for coverage under your benefits plan. Your child’s coverage will be cancelled.

Coverage for full-time students will end on the last day of the month in which they turn 25.

If you have any questions about your child’s student status, please contact Payroll:

Vancouver Campus

Surnames A – G

Jennifer Lim

T: 604-827-3212 / E: jennifer.g.lim@ubc.ca

Surnames H – O

Carol Liao

T: 604-827-1738 / E: carol.liao@ubc.ca

Surnames P – Z

Pravin Khan

T: 604-822-8701 / E: pravin.khan@ubc.ca

Okanagan Campus

Paula Lambert

T: 250-807-8625 / E: paula.lambert@ubc.ca

Health Coverage for Post-Secondary Students Studying outside of BC

Updated March 20, 2018

Whether your child is attending university in Ottawa or Oxford, they are covered by your UBC health benefits plan. Here’s what you need to know.

Coverage outside BC or Canada

If you have a dependent child between the ages of 19 and 25 who is studying outside of BC or Canada, they may continue to be covered under your UBC Medical Services Plan (MSP), Extended Health and Dental plans and Employee and Family Assistance Program.

While your dependent child is studying outside BC, it’s important that they remain enrolled in MSP. Your dependent child must maintain their MSP coverage while temporarily outside BC and they should contact Health Insurance BC prior to their departure from BC.

If your dependent is enrolled in MSP through UBC, you can verify their coverage by viewing your benefit enrolments in the UBC Faculty and Staff Self-Service portal. 

Physician visits and hospital services that are normally covered by MSP in BC will only be covered outside of BC or Canada in the event of an emergency. Reimbursement for emergency physician visits and hospital services is 100%, up to the overall lifetime UBC Extended Health maximum of $2 million per person.

Sun Life’s travel benefits provider, Allianz Global Assistance, will co-ordinate claims with MSP. This means that you only need to submit one claim form to Sun Life. 

Your dependent child will receive coverage for services and supplies that are normally covered under the UBC Extended Health and Dental plans with Sun Life while they are studying outside of BC or Canada, subject to the terms and conditions of the plan.

The only exception is that the services of paramedical practitioners are not covered outside North America.

Services and supplies will be reimbursed at the reasonable and customary rates for the same services and supplies in British Columbia.

There is no need to notify Sun Life of your dependent child’s temporary absence from BC.

Questions?

For additional information, please visit our webpage.

If you have any questions, please contact Stephanie Mah, Benefits Specialist, at 604-822-6823 or stephanie.mah@ubc.ca.

Important Changes to Medical Services Plan Premium effective Jan. 1, 2017

Important Changes to Medical Services Plan Premium effective Jan. 1, 2017

healthcare-card514x328The British Columbia Ministry of Health has announced that the calculation of MSP premium rates will be changing effective Jan. 1, 2017. The new rate structure and rates will reflect a reduction of costs to single parents.

Current

MSP monthly premiums are assessed based on single (1 individual), couple (2 individuals) or family status (3 or more individuals).

Effective Jan. 1, 2017

MSP monthly premiums will be assessed based on the number of adults covered. The MSP premium rate for one adult (with or without children) will be $75.00 per month and the premium rate for two adults (with or without children) will be twice the amount of the single adult rate at $150.00 per month.

Current Rate Structure and Premium

Rate Structure and Premium – Effective Jan. 1, 2017

Single

(1 individual)

$75.00 1 Adult $75.00
Couple

(2 individuals)

$136.00 1 Adult & 1 Child $75.00
2 Adults $150.00
Family

(3 or more individuals)

$150.00 1 Adult & 2 or more Children $75.00
2 Adults & 1 or more Child $150.00

What this will mean if you are enrolled under the UBC Group MSP plan

Employees who pay all or a portion of their MSP premiums (i.e., 100% or 75% of the premium) who are single parents (1 adult with 1 or more child) will pay less than they do now, and those who have couple coverage with 2 adults will pay more than they do now. Those with single or family coverage with 2 adults with 1 or more child will pay the same as they do now.

If you are part of an employment group that does not pay MSP premiums (BCGEU Childcare, CUPE 116, CUPE 2950, BCGEU Okanagan, Executive Administrative and IUOE 882) this rate structure change will not impact you.

View the Eligibility & Costs page for your employment group to see the MSP monthly premium cost effective Jan. 1, 2017. The cost is broken down to show what you pay and what UBC pays (if applicable).

The change in premium or portion of premium that you pay (if applicable) will appear on your Dec. 31, 2016, pay statement (premiums are taken one month in advance). You can view your pay statement online via the UBC Faculty and Staff Self-Service website (VPN is necessary to access Self-Service off campus).

MSP Regular Premium Assistance Program

The threshold for those who are eligible for MSP Premium Assistance has increased. If your household combined adjusted net income is $42,000 or less, you may be eligible for full or partial subsidy. For more information, please visit the Premium Assistance section of our MSP web page.