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

B.C. Green Party pushes for wild salmon commissioner

The role would serve as a unifying force in the provincial government

BC Ferries confirms Northern Sea Wolf will not sail until mid-July

BC Ferries had hoped to get the vessel in September of last year, but it didn’t arrive until December

UPDATED: Horgan says B.C. defending its interests in Trans Mountain pipeline

Canadian finance minister’s update comes the same day Kinder Morgan shareholders plan to meet

5 things to know about B.C. Floods 2018

Snowpacks continue to melt causing thousands to be displaced, dozens of local states of emergency

VIDEO: Canadian Forces help flood-ravaged Grand Forks residents heal

Sgt. Bradley Lowes says the military is used to dealing with traumatic times

UPDATED: Almost 1,200 people allowed to return home in Kootenay-Boundary as floods dry up

Officials hope to have all 3,000 people back in their homes by Monday night

B.C. Lions bring back 6-time all-star offensive lineman Jovan Olafioye

He was acquired by the Montreal Alouettes last year.

Whitecaps rally for 2-2 draw with FC Dallas

Vancouver climbed out of a two-nil hole to tie FC Dallas 2-2

B.C. VIEWS: Making sense of climate policy

Flood and fire predictions have poor track record so far

Chilliwack Chiefs moving on to RBC Cup final after thrilling win over Ottawa

Kaden Pickering scored the winning goal in the 3rd period as Chilliwack won their semi-final 3-2.

VIDEO: As floodwaters recede, crews assess the damage to Grand Forks’ downtown

More than four dozen firefighters and building inspectors came out to help

Wellington Dukes pull off epic upset of Wenatchee at RBC Cup

The Dukes are off to the championship game after downing the Wild 2-1 Saturday at Prospera Centre.

Canada to face U.S. for bronze at world hockey championship

Canada was looking to play in the gold medal game for a fourth straight year, but saw 3-2 loss

Most Read