Healthcare in British Columbia

Health Insurance BC is the main administrative office of healthcare in British Columbia. It is a combination of five authorities that plan, coordinate and regionally govern 16 healthcare service delivery areas, working together with the Provincial Health Service Authority, which is in charge of the specialized provincial programs and services. The healthcare system is available provincially to residents of British Columbia even if they do not live in the province.

Health Link is a service in British Columbia that you can call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Just call 8-1-1 to speak to a nurse about symptoms you may be having, or a pharmacist about questions about your medication, or visit the above link to find a hospital, clinic, or other medial resource closest to you.

Medical Services Plan:
As a resident of BC it is mandatory to be enrolled in the Medical Services Plan. This is the provincial healthcare system, that offers free coverage of required medical services by supplementary healthcare practitioners, physicians, lab and diagnostic services and procedure, to its residents while in and outside of the province. To be eligible you must:

  • reside in British Columbia
  • live in the province for at least 6 out of every 12 months in a calendar year
  • spouses (married or living together in a marriage-like relationship– same or opposite sex), and children (under 18 or 19-24 studying at school or university full-time) are eligible for coverage as dependants.

For how to enrol, the required documents, and to request an application, please click here. Your enrolment will take about 2 months to process, so we recommend private health insurance to cover unexpected healthcare expenses in that period. The Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association Inc. offer a list of private insurers, so you will be able to find the right company and policy to suit your healthcare needs.

Fair PharmaCare Healthcare in British Columbia:

  • This is an income-based healthcare system that provides assistance in the cost of eligible prescription medications.
  • You pay the full price on prescriptions until you reach your deductible, at which point PharmaCare will pay 70% of the yearly cost.
  • Once you reach your family maximum (the point at which cost exceeds ability to pay) 100% of your eligible prescription costs will be covered.

About the Author:

Living in Montreal since 2005 after France and the United States, I want to share with you how much I love Canada and my advice to successfully immigrate to Canada!

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