Medical Services Plan

The Medical Services Plan (MSP) is the BC provincial government’s medical insurance plan and is administered by Health Insurance BC. All eligible BC residents and their dependents must enrol in MSP, which pays for the medically required services of physicians and surgeons, hospital services, as well as dental and oral surgery when it is medically required to be performed in a hospital.

As previously announced by the BC Ministry of Health, BC residents will no longer be charged monthly MSP premiums. For this reason, UBC will no longer administer a group MSP plan for its employees effective January 1, 2020.

By enrolling in UBC’s Extended Health Plan, you are also covered for medical services and expenses that are not covered by MSP, such as prescription drugs, vision care and more.

How do I enrol in MSP?

If you are a resident of British Columbia, you must enrol in MSP. By law, MSP is mandatory for all eligible residents and their dependents. If you are coming to UBC from outside of BC or Canada, see the section below.

Information on how to apply for MSP is available through the Medical Services Plan website.

Proof of coverage

Your BC Services Card is proof of your MSP enrolment. Your BC Services Card contains your 9 digit personal health number.

If you are new to BC and Canada, once you are enrolled for MSP you will receive a notice that explains how you and your family members can get your BC Services Card (with photo).

If you have temporary immigration status, you will receive a BC Services Card (non-photo) in the mail.

Present your BC Services Card when obtaining physician and hospital services.

What are the MSP premiums?

As previously announced by the BC Ministry of Health, BC residents will no longer be charged monthly MSP premiums effective January 1, 2020.

Coming to UBC from outside of BC or Canada

If you are coming to UBC from outside of BC (and within Canada) or outside Canada, you and your eligible dependents must complete a waiting period for MSP. The waiting period consists of the balance of the month in which residence in British Columbia is established, plus two months. Generally, the date residence is established is the date of arrival in BC, however this is determined by the Ministry of Health based on a number of factors, including the type of immigration status held. For more information, visit the Medical Services Plan website.

If you arrived to BC on or after March 1, 2020, you may be able to have your MSP waiting period waived. Please contact Health Insurance BC for more information.

If you are coming to BC from another Canadian province or territory, you should maintain your coverage with your former provincial medical plan during this MSP waiting period. This will ensure you are covered for any medically necessary physician and hospital services by your former province as you wait for your MSP coverage to start.

If you are coming to BC from outside of Canada, you should arrange for private coverage during the MSP waiting period. Faculty and staff employed or appointed by the university from outside Canada can purchase private coverage during the waiting period through the David Cummings Insurance Services (DCIS) or Sun Life. Learn more about private coverage.

Work permit renewals and MSP coverage

If you are working in British Columbia under a work permit and you are enrolled in MSP, your medical coverage will end at the end of the month that your work permit expires. If you are applying for a new work permit, it is important that you apply as soon as possible to avoid a lapse in medical coverage.

If your temporary work permit has expired and you no longer have MSP coverage, you may be provided temporary MSP coverage. Please contact Health Insurance BC for more information.

Once you receive your new work permit, you must provide it to your Department Administrator who will then forward it to Faculty Relations/HR and Payroll. You must also upload a copy of your new work permit to the Medical Services Plan website to have your MSP coverage reinstated in order to ensure continuous coverage.

Please note that it may take as long as 90 days for MSP to process the reinstatement of benefits. MSP coverage will not be active during this time and you will need to personally pay for any medical expenses incurred during this time. Once your MSP benefit is reinstated, you may request reimbursement for these expenses from Health Insurance BC by completing their Reimbursement Request form.

Click here to view the HR Benefits Memo on this topic.

If you have any questions about your MSP, please contact MSP directly.

Temporary absences from BC

The BC Medical Services Plan requires that individuals be physically present in BC for at least six months of the calendar year to maintain their coverage under the plan.

However, you can still be covered by MSP if you are absent from BC for:

  • a total absence of seven months per calendar year for vacation purposes under certain conditions; or
  • temporary extended absences of up to 24 months once in a 60-month period for work or vacation.

It is up to you to seek approval for coverage from the BC Medical Services Plan if you are going to be absent from BC for more than six months of a calendar year. Learn more about temporary absences from BC.