How to apply for your BC Medical Services Plan (MSP)

Get helpful tips as you apply for your BC Medical Services Plan (MSP).

When to apply Immediately after arriving in British Columbia
Cost The application is free
Processing time 1-2 months; coverage begins after a waiting period (the remainder of the month of arrival plus 2 full calendar months)

Online (recommended)

Supporting documents

International students: Copy of valid study permit OR work permit (eg. Post graduation or spouse/partner work permit)

Canadian students: Copy of proof of status (e.g. Canadian PR card, Canadian passport or citizenship certificate)

Family members: Copy of visitor record or spouse/partner work permit

Additional documents may be needed

Tips for the process

Once your coverage begins

  • MSP will send you an invoice in the mail. You need to start making payments after receiving the invoice.
  • Remember to tell MSP if you change your address, change your name, leave BC permanently, or need to add/remove dependents to or from your coverage (e.g. you get married, divorced, have a common-law partner, or have children). See the Managing your MSP Account page.
  • Remember to keep your MSP valid by renewing your MSP coverage each time you extend your temporary residency in Canada (for example, when you extend your study permit or get a post-graduation work permit). Be sure to read the “how having implied status affects your coverage” if this applies to you. 

Maintain your eligibility

Generally, your BC Services Card has the same expiry date as your status in Canada, such as the expiry date of your study permit or post-graduation work permit. If you have to extend your immigration documents, make sure you extend your MSP coverage as well.

MSP coverage while traveling

If you’re leaving BC temporarily due to a co-op placement or travel plans, you will continue being billed for your health-care coverage fee. 

Before leaving BC

You must call MSP to discuss how your coverage could be impacted by travel plans. 

While away from BC

You can use the travel insurance included in your AMS/GSS Health and Dental Plan only if covered by MSP (or other equivalent basic coverage such as private basic health insurance) when you are travelling. Make sure you understand MSP’s residency requirements.

  1. Although MSP provides only limited coverage when you travel internationally, your AMS/GSS Health and Dental Plan does provide coverage. To use the travel insurance in your AMS/GSS Health and Dental Plan, you must also have basic insurance such as MSP or an equivalent.
  2. The AMS/GSS Health and Dental Plan does not cover travel to your home country.
  3. If you paid the MED/DENT fee (view your financial summary on the SSC) when you began your studies in September or January, you have the AMS/GSS Health and Dental Plan. This plan is valid until August 31.
  4. For more information, talk to the staff in the AMS/GSS Health and Dental Plan office or visit their website.
Upon return to BC
  1. You must call MSP when you return to BC to find out about your coverage. 
  2. If you must re-apply and go through the 3-month waiting period for MSP again, be sure to obtain temporary private health insurance such as the Global Campus Health Plan to cover you during the period until BC MSP is reinstated.

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