In British Columbia, residents could not travel outside of the province for longer than six months without losing their Medical Services Plan (MSP) coverage. Recently, the Canadian Snowbird Association requested that the six month residency requirement be altered to allow for longer trips abroad, whether in Canada or to the south.
According to Health Minister Margaret MacDiarmid, “Our government listened to [the Canadian Snowbird Association], and we are making the change to permit more flexibility.”
If the legislation is approved, it means that British Columbians will be able to take an extra month of vacation time without losing their eligibility for MSP coverage. This is particularly good news for all the B.C. snowbirds who like to travel south during the winter – an estimated 144 000 of them! The Canadian Snowbird Association is pleased with this potential new amendment to the Medicare Protection Act.
With the new regulations pending, it seems likely that B.C. will join Ontario and Newfoundland in allowing absences longer than six months.
**Note: This legislation will not affect the U.S. immigration law that restricts Canadians from visiting for more than six months in a year.
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