You wouldn't be the first person to wonder what the difference is between the Extended
Health Care coverage provided by Pacific Blue Cross and the Medical Services Plan
provided by the BC government.
Government or public plans provide coverage of core health care services such as
physician services and hospital acute care. The government health plan is a pre-paid
plan that ensures medical coverage is available to all residents of BC as defined
by Health Insurance BC.
All BC residents are required to enroll with the Medical Services Plan. When a resident
enrolls for government coverage, they are billed a monthly premium and issued a
CareCard with a personal health number.
Supplementary benefit providers like Pacific Blue Cross provide private insurance
for non-core services that are either not covered or only partially covered by the
government health plan. Employers, unions and associations (also known as plan sponsors)
can purchase group coverage or individual consumers can purchase coverage for themselves.
The BC provincial government health plan covers core health services including:
In addition to these core services, the government health plan may provide limited
coverage for other services in some cases, however most other health expenses are
The following is a summary of the coverage limitations under the BC government health
plan. These expenses may be eligible for coverage under your Blue Cross plan. See
your Member Profile for your plan's coverage details.
As well, most physicians in other Canadian provinces and territories (except Quebec)
will bill their own provincial health plan for services if you present your valid
BC CareCard. The provinces recover the funding between each other. When travelling
in Quebec you will likely be required to pay for your medical services and seek
reimbursement later from the government health plan.
The government strongly advises BC residents to purchase travel insurance
when travelling outside of Canada and to other Canadian provinces to cover the cost
of services not included in the reciprocal agreement between provinces.
This summary of government health coverage is based on information provided by Health
Insurance BC. It is intended as a general reference only and may not be up-to-date
when changes to public health coverage are made by the BC government. Other government
programs and services may be available. Always refer to Health Insurance BC for the most up-to-date information
about the government health plan.