MSP Replacement Coverage

Mar 10, 2014

We often complain about our healthcare system, however few of us take for granted the security it provides. You may be surprised to learn that sense of security is not fully extended to new entrants to Canada.

As an employer, you may find the need to venture outside of Canada to find the right people for your organization and ensuring they have adequate healthcare coverage can be a challenge. Basic provincial government health insurance coverage may not be available until they satisfy the provincial residency requirements.

In British Columbia, and with only nominal differences with other jurisdictions, to qualify for MSP coverage, an individual must be a resident of British Columbia who:

  • is a citizen of Canada or is lawfully admitted to Canada for permanent residence,
  • makes his or her home in B.C., and
  • is physically present in B.C. for at least six months in a calendar year

During the 3-month waiting period, or while the employee is applying for coverage, the potential risk for life changing events  we all deal with does not go away. So how can employers alleviate some of the concerns and potential risk for these new workers? Fortunately, the insurance industry has developed products to help fill the gap in coverage. These products are known by varying names such as the Visitors to Canada Plan, theMSP Replacement Plans and the Welcome Plan. These insurance programs provide coverage for expenses that would normally qualify for reimbursement under the provincial health plan, such as visits to the doctor, ambulance, lab services, hospital ward accommodations, eye exams, emergency dental services, and more. Sometimes they even include out-of-country coverage.

As with most policies, the details and fine print always matter and should be reviewed carefully to ensure they meet the needs of the new workers and their families. Some plans may only be available through the group insurance carrier and not on a stand-alone basis. Contact your benefits advisor, who should be able to help you source a program that makes sense and meets your needs.

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