|Authority||Health Insurance BC – Medical Services Plan, Ministry of Health|
Kathy moved to Quebec from British Columbia to attend university. In 2000 she was enrolled in the Quebec Medical Plan. She moved back to British Columbia in 2005 and enrolled in the Medical Services Plan (MSP) under her employer’s group account. She changed employers a short time later and her new employer also paid her MSP premiums as part of her benefits package. In 2006, Kathy received a $108 bill for MSP premiums. She assumed there was a gap in premium payments made by her respective employers and she paid the amount in full. Kathy heard nothing further with respect to any premium debt until 2009 when she received a $1,233 bill for premiums.
She learned the premiums she paid in 2006 were applied to a debt from 2000 and 2001, a time when she was eligible for premium assistance. It was Kathy’s understanding she did not owe for premiums for this time period, and she was concerned she had not been informed of the premium debt in a timely way or provided with any opportunity to dispute the validity of the claim that she owed premiums for that time. MSP cancelled Kathy’s coverage during the period she was living in Quebec, but only to November 30, 2001. When we questioned this, the ministry explained this was as far back as the computer system would allow and it noted that she failed to meet her obligation to notify the MSP of her change of address when she moved from British Columbia.
Neither reason seemed to provide sufficient basis to continue to charge Kathy for premiums since she had established she was living in another province and enrolled in that province’s medical plan. If a debt is not valid, then the technical limitation of a computer system does not justify collection of the debt and we would expect the authority to find another means to remove the debt.
We suggested the ministry reconsider its decision and it agreed to retroactively change the date of cancellation for Kathy’s coverage to July 31, 2000. The ministry sent a refund to her for payments she had already made against the previously assessed debt.
|Location||Vancouver Island / Sunshine Coast|