Update: The government waived the three-month MSP coverage wait period effective March 1, 2020 and then re-implemented the wait period coverage on July 31, 2020. This temporary waiver shows both that it’s possible to remove the wait period, and also that it’s beneficial to public health. As a community, let’s continue to demand the complete removal of the wait period and expanding full health coverage for all!
Before the COVID-19 crisis, British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec were the only provinces that deny three months of health coverage to people arriving or returning from outside of Canada. This exclusionary wait period prevents new immigrants, temporary foreign workers, returning Canadians and even some newborn Canadian babies from receiving health care coverage.
The three month wait period places individuals in a limbo period and forces them to delay seeking care until coverage is received. This is evidenced in the increased physician billing rates in the fourth month after an immigrant’s arrival. The delay in seeking appropriate and adequate health care results in poorer health outcomes and increased costs as individuals run the risk of developing more complex health concerns, which places a greater burden on our health care system.
The three month wait period was a policy decided on by the Medical Services Commission and they have the power to change it. Sanctuary Health sent the following package to the Medical Services Commission requesting that they take action to end the three month wait. We also requested an opportunity for Sanctuary Health to present to them about the impacts of the current policy and why it should be changed.
- Briefing Note
- Appendix A: Policy Study of the “Three Month Wait” in BC, Sanctuary Health, 2019
- Appendix B: Minute of the Commission 15-074, Medical Services Commission, 2015
- Appendix C: Letters of Support: Midwives Association of BC, Hospital Employees’ Union, Health Sciences Association, West Coast LEAF (2020 & 2015), BC Health Coalition, Umbrella Multicultural Health Cooperative, REACH Community Health Centre, Strathcona Midwifery Collective, RISE Community Health Centre, BC Government and Service Employees’ Union, First Call: BC Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition, Migrant Workers Centre, Vancouver Committee for Domestic and Caregivers Rights, SWAN Vancouver, Vancouver & District Labour Council, BC Civil Liberties Association, Pivot Legal Society, BC Poverty Reduction Coalition, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives – BC Office, Living in Community, Community Action Initiative, SEIU Local 2, DIVERSEcity Community Resource Society, Society for Children and Youth of BC, Watari Counselling and Support Services, Melissa Glen, PNC(c), MN, NP(f) Family Nurse Practitioner