Maple Bay’s Grace Price said she was shocked when she was informed that her request for complete physical exams for her and her husband would cost $380.
Price, 66, said she and her husband have had a number of physical exams over the years and they were fully covered under the Medical Services Plan.
But when the couple decided it was time for them to have regular physical exams without being ordered to do so by a doctor so they could monitor their own health as they age, they were informed that it would cost $190 each.
“We were told that complete physical exams are not covered unless there are medical issues involved,” Price said.
“We’re not willing to pay for this, and we think the public needs to be aware of this issue.”
A statement from the Ministry of Health said routine annual physical exams have never been covered in B.C.
Physicians can bill the MSP for a complete physical if they deem it medically necessary, whereas routine annual exams are not covered.
“Patients may request their physician perform annual physical examinations, however, the Medical Services Plan can only provide coverage when the examination is medically required for the management of health issues, as determined by the attending physician,” the statement said.
“If a patient attends a physician with specific symptoms or monitoring of a known medical condition under treatment, MSP will pay for the visit.”
The ministry said it is important to distinguish the routine, complete (i.e. “top to toe”) examination from the periodic, targeted health examination.
“Periodic, targeted examinations that follow the appropriate standard of care and lead to the delivery of evidence-based preventative services are appropriate, and these examinations may be billed to MSP as an office visit,” the statement said.
“There has been no change in MSP coverage of these examinations. Historically, routine examinations have not been covered.”