B.C. HEALTH INSURANCE :- B.C. government has a hospital insurance and a
medical Insurance plan. These plans are for British Columbia residents only.
Canadian citizens, landed immigrants and conventin refugees are all eligible.
REGISTERING FOR HEALTH INSURANCE :- you do not need to register or
pay for hospital insurance. To receive insurance through the Medical Services
Plan ( MSP), for medical services including doctors’ fees, you must register. If
you don’t , you will have to pay for these services yourself, which may be very high.
To register for medical insurance, call383-7151 ( in Vancouver ), 386-7171
( in Victoria ) and 1-800-663-7100 ( elsewhere in B.C.).
Even after registering, you will not get insurance protection immediately, you will
need to complete a waiting period that includes the rest of the month in which you
became a residentof B.C., plus two months. You should get temporary insurance
from a private insurance company for the waiting period. When your MSP
coverage begins, everyone in your family will get a “Care Card” with the person’s
name and a personal health number. Sign your card and always take it with
you when you visit a doctor or hospital.
HEALTH INSURANC E FEES :- MSP insurance coverage is not free. You
must pay a monthly fee, which varies if you are a single person or a family
of two or a family of three or more.
Some government-sponsored refugees are eligible for free MSP coverage.
But if you have a job, your payments may be taken off your pay cheque for the
coverage. You do not have to pay for hospital costs if you are a permanent
resident. If you are a refugee Claimant, you must get the “Interim Federal Health”
paper form the Citizenship and Immigration Canada office to go to a hospital.
The Canadian government will pay the hospital costs.
If you call an ambulance to go to the hospital, in case of an emergency, you will
have to Pay for it. The MSP will not pay for an ambulance.
FINDING A DOCTOR
There are two types of doctors in B.C. (a) family doctors, and (b) specialists. Family doctors
take care of most medical problems, whereas the specialists treat special health problems.
e.g. heart disease. Family doctor may refer you to a specialist if needed.
To find a family doctor, you may ask your friend or contact an immigrant settlement agency.
Some hospital may have a list of doctors who are taking new patients. Or simply look in the
Yellow Pages under “Physicians and Surgeons.”
MSP will not for regular dental services. If you have a job, your employer may have a dental
plan that you can join. Some public health units have dental clinics. They give free dental
check ups and cleanings to young children and low-cost dental care to older children and
adults. To find a dental clinic in your area, look in the Blue Pages under “Dental Clinics” in
the Cities and Municipalities Section.
You must have a doctor’s prescription to buy prescription drugs at a pharmacy. You can
However, buy some drugs without a prescription. Such drugs are called “Non-prescription
It is a B.C. government program. It may return some of the money you paid for
Prescription drugs you bought in B.C. For more information, call 682-6849 ( in Vancouver),
952-2866 ( in Victoria ) and 1-800-554-0250 ( elsewhere in B.C.).
PUBLIC HEALTH UNITS
Many communities have public health units. These are medical offices where community
health nurses and doctors give free health care information to families. In case of a serious
health problem, public health nurses may be able to help you in your own home. They can
also help women prepare for a new baby and visit them at home after the baby is born and
give immunizations to babies and children for polio, measles etc. For more information about
the health unit in your area, look in the Blue Pages for the “Health Authorities” section.