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

Elk Valley mines boost overall Teck production

Fording River, Elkview achieve record fourth quarter; Fording, Greenhills have bumper year

B.C. Interior free from measles

Vancouver measles outbreak hasn’t spread to the B.C. Interior

Man injured in police shooting near Nelson has died

The death follows an incident in Bonnington on Feb. 13

Local DJ to take stage at Fernie Stoke Fest

Jenn Johnson - aka Jenn Frost - confirmed as closing act at Fernie Stoke Fest on April 9

B.C. BUDGET: Surplus $374 million after bailouts of BC Hydro, ICBC

Growth projected stronger in 2020, Finance Minister Carole James says

Sell regulated heroin to curb B.C.’s overdose problem: report

B.C. Centre on Substance Use points to organized crime and money-laundering as contributing factors

Kootenay man dies in crash near Sparwood

Accident occurred last night east of Sparwood, RCMP appealing for witnesses

POLL: Are Wildlife Detection Systems in the Elk Valley working?

In 2016, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) installed two wildlife… Continue reading

Fernie Ghostriders face defeat during away weekend

Fans encouraged to wear white for first playoffs game at Fernie Memorial Arena, February 26

Galchenyuk scores in OT as Coyotes edge Canucks 3-2

Vancouver manages single point as NHL playoff chase continues

B.C. legislature moving suspended staff controversy to outside review

Whale watching, Seattle Mariners trips billed as emergency preparedness, Speaker Darryl Plecas says

More people signing up for compulsory vaccines

Maple Ridge mom says public tired of hearing about measles

UPDATE: Man charged in stabbing of woman, off-duty cop outside B.C. elementary school

Manoj George, 49, is facing two counts of aggravated assault and two counts of assault with a weapon after the incident on Wednesday, Feb. 20.

Why do zebras have stripes? Perhaps to dazzle away flies

Researchers from University of Bristol look into why zebras have stripes

Most Read