How to apply for your BC Medical Services Plan (MSP)
When to apply: Immediately after arriving in British Columbia
Cost: $75 per month for study permit holders
Processing time: 1 to 2 months. Coverage begins after a waiting period (the remainder of the month of arrival plus two full calendar months)
- International students: Copy of valid study permit or work permit such as Post-graduation or spouse/partner work permit
- Canadian students: Copy of proof of status (e.g., Canadian Permanent Resident card, Canadian passport, birth certificate, or citizenship card, citizenship certificate)
- Family members: Copy of visitor record, study permit, spouse/partner work permit, or passport stamp showing arrival date to Canada
Additional documents may be needed
The easiest way to apply is to submit an application online.
If you decide to submit a paper application (pdf) by mail, consider using a secure mailing method such as Canada Post Xpresspost.
If you are reapplying for MSP after no longer being covered by the plan, you will need to go through the approximately 3-month waiting period again. Be sure to get temporary private health insurance, such as the Global Campus Health Plan, to cover you until you can reinstate your MSP coverage. Visit the MSP page for more details.
Temporary BC residents (such as international students and workers) will typically be issued a non-photo BC Services Card (formerly known as “BC CareCard”). Carry your card with you as well as a digital or paper copy of your valid study permit or work permit (such as post-graduation or spouse/partner work permit)
You can also apply for a BC driver’s license and/or BC photo ID by submitting a separate application.
As of 2018, to complete MSP enrolment, adult Canadian citizens and permanent residents will need to obtain a Photo BC ID Card by visiting an Insurance Corporation of BC (ICBC) driver licensing office.
Apply for MSP, wait for your letter of instruction, and take the letter and a primary and secondary photo ID document such as your driver’s license or your BC Services Card, to an ICBC office near you.
Register for BC Fair PharmaCare
It is recommended for most students to register for the BC Fair PharmaCare program, which may provide additional coverage for prescription drugs, medical devices and pharmacy services. PharmaCare registration may be required for prescription coverage through the SUO Health and Dental plan.
Since coverage is based on income, the application requires proof of your previous income based on taxes filed in Canada 2 years ago. If you are a new resident of Canada, recently turned 19, or were exempt from filing taxes in Canada 2 years ago, you might be able to submit a Fair PharmaCare Proof of Income Affidavit—contact MSP for assistance.
You need to provide a Social Insurance Number (SIN) to apply. If you don’t have a SIN yet, consider applying for MSP separately as soon as you arrive in BC, then register for PharmaCare once you have your SIN.
If you have questions about enrollment with Fair PharmaCare, contact MSP.
All international students are required to have basic and extended health insurance for the duration of their studies…
iMED is a temporary basic health insurance plan required for new international students, and will provide you with…
MSP is BC’s provincial health insurance plan. Anyone living in BC for six months or longer (including international…
Get helpful tips for extending your BC Medical Services Plan (MSP).