New health care card aims at fraud

B.C. Health Minister Mike de Jong

VICTORIA – There are 9.1 million B.C. CareCards in circulation, but only 4.5 million people live in B.C. That’s one reason why the province’s health care costs are so high.

Health Minister Mike de Jong is introducing a new “smart card” in an effort to cut down on unauthorized access to the health care system by residents of the United States and other jurisdictions who do not pay into the Medical Services Plan.

De Jong introduced legislation Thursday to replace the plastic cards that B.C. started issuing in 1989. The new cards will include a picture and an electronic chip, and drivers will have the option of including health care registration on their driver’s licence.

As with the driver’s licence, people will have to enrol and then renew the card every five years to maintain medical coverage. De Jong said there will be no extra charge for the new card, whether it is separate or included on a driver’s licence renewal.

A program will be developed to go out to seniors’ homes and reach people who do not drive, he said. It is expected to take five years to put the new system in place.

De Jong said the health ministry doesn’t have statistics on how much fraud there is, but other provinces have found that people are coming from other countries to take advantage of the health care system.

NDP health critic Mike Farnworth said he wants to know how much the smart card program is going to cost, and how much it will really save. A survey of 399 cards last year indicated that 94 per cent of patients claiming MSP coverage were legitimate residents of B.C., he said.

MSP enrolment entitles people to publicly paid hospital treatment, as well as subsidized coverage for ambulance service and prescription drugs. De Jong said no one will be refused care, but those without MSP coverage will be billed for services.

Just Posted

Aftershock soccer tournament takes over Port Hardy fields

Around the clock matches were played in divisions ranging from tots to U18.

Eke Me-Xi Learning Centre’s 2018-2019 graduating class

The Eke Me-Xi Learning Centre is located on the Tsulquate reserve in the North Island.

Skin deep: A look inside the ink behind Beacon Tattoo

Patrick Berube, owner of Beacon Tattoo, spends most of his Tuesdays at… Continue reading

Second recreational cannabis shop opens its doors in Port Hardy

Pacificanna owner Darren Saunders was excited to finally see his family-run business open up shop.

Bradshaw’s Photo Highlight: A lone crow landing beside an eagle

“I saw an eagle just sitting there, but I had a feeling it wouldn’t be there long as I got closer”

VIDEO: Clip of driver speeding past B.C. school bus alarms MLA

Laurie Throness of Chilliwack-Kent says he will lobby for better safety measures

Vernon Judo coach pleads guilty to child pornography charges

Bryan Jeffrey McLachlan is set to return to court Sept. 4 for sentencing

Olympic skier from B.C. suing Alpine Canada after coach’s sex offences

Bertrand Charest was convicted in 2017 on 37 charges

B.C. senior’s car vandalized for more than 18 months

Retired RCMP officer determined to catch ‘tagger.’

VIDEO: Driver doing laps in busy Vancouver intersections nets charges

Toyota Camry spotted doing laps in intersection, driving towards pedestrians

Former Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo to retire

‘Bobby Lou’ calls it a career after 19 NHL seasons

Man charged in crash that killed B.C. pregnant woman

Frank Tessman charged for 2018 Highway 1 accident where Kelowna elementary school teacher died

Province unveils 10-year plan to boost mental health, addiction recovery services

The plan, called A Pathway to Hope, focuses on early-intervention services that are seeing high demand

Most Read