GOOD NEWS - MSP coverage expanded to all uninsured people for COVID-19 testing and treatment!

NationBuilder r1 British Columbia Health Coalition

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This crisis has made clear that barriers to health care only increase risk. BC is moving in the right direction by starting to expand health coverage to those who were previously uninsured. Now, all migrants in BC (including newly-landed permanent residents, temporary foreign workers, international students, those who have been rendered undocumented and those who have been stuck here since the borders closed) will have vital access to COVID-19 related health care. This is an important step towards ensuring equitable access to Universal Public Health Care while also helping to safeguard all of our health.

MSP coverage for migrants has been amended in a number of ways during the crisis. Information concerning extended coverage can be found on the BC Government... website under COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions BC. See Q2, Q8 and Q9. Coverage during the crisis has been expanded to include:

  • Individuals present in BC who would otherwise not be eligible for coverage under MSP will be provided provincially insured health care coverage for services related to suspected or confirmed cases of infection with COVID-19. This is contingent on them having called 8-1-1 or otherwise being advised by a medical professional to seek care for symptoms related to COVID-19. Services for unrelated conditions that are performed on non-eligible MSP patients will remain uninsured.
  • All Temporary Foreign Workers who have come to work in BC during the pandemic and cannot access private insurance will be covered for all services under MSP.
  • People whose work or study permits have expired in Canada may continue to receive temporary MSP coverage. This includes people who have applied for a new permit and therefore have the right to continue to work or study in Canada (referred to as “implied status”) while their new application is decided.

There is still more work to do. The new policy only covers COVID-19 related conditions. People with preventable or chronic conditions who are not able to access health care risk their condition escalating. At a time when we need all possible acute care resources available, it is only logical to make sure that uninsured people can, and will, access primary and preventative care to reduce their need for acute care.

Many migrants, including temporary foreign workers, who we depend on for our food supply and other essential services, are often caught in a web of policies that create barriers to health care. Policies like the 3 month wait, which was recently repealed in Ontario and now only exists in BC and Quebec, result in greater long-term health care costs and poor health outcomes for migrants. The BC Health Coalition joined over 25 organizations in writing letters to the Medical Services Commission calling for the permanent removal of this policy. This pandemic has made clear how deeply our health is dependent on each other and why access to health care is a basic human right. We hope to see the BC government continue in this direction and ensure that health care is available to every one of us who lives and works here.

In these hard times, this COVID-19 related good news is a much needed moral boost. Please spread the word.

Also join us as we show support for our health care workers at 7pm each night.

In Solidarity,


Ayendri Riddell
BC Health Coalition Campaigner

British Columbia Health Coalition · 3102 Main St, 302, Vancouver, Unceded Coast Salish Territories, BC V5T 3G7, Canada
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