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

Port Hardy council stands with Marine Harvest

Mayor and council went out on the water to experience local aquaculture firsthand.

Marine Harvest Upper Island Riptide U18 Girls bring home provincial gold

“This has been an extra-ordinary season with a diverse group of young ladies…”

Heat warning issued for Vancouver Island

Temperatures expected to cool down later this week

Port Alice considers taking back Link River

Village debates not renewing agreement with RDMW

Living with obsessive compulsive disorder

The Big Read: Vancouver Island mom calls for more mental health services as son battles OCD

REPLAY: B.C.’s best video this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

B.C. baseball team offers funeral prize pack

Wednesday’s West Coast League game in Victoria features draw for end-of-life package

Black Press Media journalists win big at Canadian community newspaper awards

Newsrooms earn recognition for editorial and photography excellence

Short trip to car-free Sidney Spit offers camping, beaches, hikes

Sidney Spit is part of B.C.’s Gulf Islands National Park Reserve, a protected marine ecosystem

Riptide, CVUSC paved the way for varsity soccer players

Chloe Gummer has become a leader at VIU

B.C. woman disappointed after family asked for ID at townhouse complex pool

Surrey woman says it’s not the first time she has experienced racial profiling at the complex

Park pipeline protesters say arrest is a ‘declaration of war’

Group behind North Thompson River Provincial Park occupation protest says arrest is ‘declaration of war’

A day of deals at Amazon, and at its rivals

Online retail giant extends annual ‘Prime Day’ promotion to 36 hours

Alert B.C. campers raise alarm and avert potential propane disaster

Salmon Arm camper lodges a complaint with Technical Safety BC after motorhome tank is over-filled.

Most Read