By March 1, 2018, eligible residents of B.C. are expected to renew enrolment in the Medical Services Plan (MSP) and get a B.C. Services Card.
The B.C. Services Card is replacing the CareCard, which was introduced in 1989 and had not been significantly updated over the last 20 years. The replacement process started in February 2013.
According to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia, while most adult patients will present a B.C. Services Card when accessing care, others who are not aware of the change may continue to use their CareCard.
Patients who present with a B.C. CareCard for services after February 2018, must also provide one piece of photo identification. If they do not have photo ID, then they must provide two pieces of alternate identification along with their personal health number. Other provinces will be directed to not accept the B.C. CareCard as evidence of enrolment in the MSP.
You can get the B.C. Services Card at any ICBC driver licensing office in the province, including Service B.C. centres and appointed agents. People who do not drive can still enrol at the nearest location where driver’s licences are issued.
Once a person enrols, they will be mailed the new card, and will need to re-enrol and get a new card every five years. Children and certain groups of adults, such as the elderly or those in residential care or extended hospital care - for whom renewed enrolment would be impractical or present a hardship - will be exempt from re-enrolling or managed through special arrangements.
Adults aged 75 and older do not need to renew in MSP, but should still obtain a B.C. Services Card. Children are automatically issued a non-photo B.C. Services Card and do not need to renew MSP enrolment until their nineteenth birthday.
According to the provincial government, the new card takes advantage of significant advances in technology, to provide a secure piece of photo identification with enhanced features to protect citizens’ personal information. The B.C. Services Card also provides the foundation for supporting the potential future development of more convenient access for citizens to new online government services.
The B.C. Services Card can be used for access to MSP benefits, services that need a photo ID - such as opening a bank account - and participating in government services online.