The B.C. government began issuing photo identification cards for health coverage in 2013, after finding that there were 9.1 million CareCards in circulation, and only 4.5 people living in the province. (B.C. government)

B.C. still struggling to control non-resident medical care fraud

Unpaid bills, out-of-province claimants a costly legacy of MSP

With more than $400 million in unpaid Medical Service Plan bills still owing, the B.C. government is also dealing with a legacy of millions of people illegally claiming health insurance from outside the province.

Health Insurance B.C. is sending out letters this month to MSP account holders, reminding them to notify the provincial health insurance agency if they plan to be out of the province for six months or more.

“B.C. residents must fulfill their MSP obligations under the Medicare Protection Act, such as updating their MSP account due to address changes,” the form letter states. “HIBC and the Ministry of Health offer easy online services to ensure that your MSP account information and address stay current. To update your MSP account, visit gov.bc.ca/managingyourMSPaccount.

“Any MSP premium debts from before Jan. 1, 2020 remain payable to Revenue Services of British Columbia.”

MSP billings officially came to an end Jan. 1, as Canada’s only remaining health care fee was phased out and replaced with the “employer health tax” on payrolls of more than $500,000. The finance ministry confirmed to Black Press this month that as of Dec. 31, B.C. residents and businesses still owed $422 million in unpaid MSP charges, with the Canada Revenue Agency assisting with collections taken from tax refunds and credits.

RELATED: B.C. residents still owe $422 million in medical premiums

RELATED: New B.C. identity cards developed to stop health fraud

Non-residents living in the U.S. and elsewhere while claiming B.C. health benefits is another huge financial problem that lingers today. In 2013, the B.C. government started issuing the new “B.C. Services Card” with photo and secure identification, which can be combined with a B.C. driver’s licence.

The new cards were developed after the health ministry calculated that it had 9.1 million of the old “B.C. CareCard” health cards in circulation. B.C.’s total population was only 4.5 million, with most of additional cards considered to be obtained for health care fraud.

B.C. residents can obtain or renew a B.C. Services Card at any ICBC motor vehicle office. The single-purpose health card is available at no cost, expiring after five years like a driver’s licence.

For combined driver’s licence and health cards, a renewal fee of $75 applies, discounted to $17 for seniors. The health card is free, but still requires a photo of the holder and the card will be mailed once B.C. residence is established.

An expiring B.C. Services Card or CareCard is acceptable as identification for enrolment.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislature

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C. firefighters only responding to most life-threatening calls during COVID-19 pandemic

The directive comes after province spoke with paramedics, fire services, according to top doctor

Two inmates found positive for COVID-19 at Mission Institution; two other tests pending

15 staff self-isolating waiting results, says correctional officer

‘An extra $220 every 90 days’: B.C. patients pay more dispensing fees due to prescription limits

Kelowna woman says it’s outrageous to charge for refills every 30 days

COLUMN: The other graph that shows B.C. can beat COVID-19

Is the curve being flattened? data on hospitalizations provides a crucial answer.

Goose in Abbotsford rescued after legs wrapped up in fishing line

Wildlife centre operator says people need to be more careful

As 240K apply for emergency benefit, Trudeau says aid coming for Canadians left behind

Canada Emergency Response Benefit provides $2,000 per month

Businesses advised to prepare for federal, B.C. COVID-19 assistance

Canada Revenue Agency portal expected to open this week

Bars, cannabis sector eligible for $40B credit program from government bank

Applicants must go through their own banks to access the program

Immunocompromised community call for more options to get groceries during COVID-19

One woman has decided to build a greenhouse to ensure she is able to access food throughout pandemic

Emergency aid portal opens Monday, cash could be in bank accounts by end of week: Trudeau

Emergency benefit will provide $2,000 a month for those who have lost their income due to COVID-19

Education, not enforcement: B.C. bylaw officers keeping a watch on physical distancing

A kind word, it turns out, has usually been all people need to hear

COVID-19: Hospitals remain safe for childbirth, say Vancouver Island care providers

North Island Hospital has been asked to share its perinatal COVID-19 response plan

Most Read