Extra-billing by for-profit health care companies is pervasive in BC even though it is unlawful. Do you believe you've been a victim of extra-billing? If so - we'd like to hear your story.
Extra-billing happens when patients are either charged directly by their health care provider for services already covered by the Medical Services Plan or charged in addition to the amounts prescribed by the Medical Services Plan. This includes medically necessary diagnostic services such as MRI or CT scans.
This could be as little as a $10 “tray-fee” charged by a physician for the cost of disposable supplies like a needle or thousands of dollars for the use of a private operating room. Or perhaps you were pressured to pay out of pocket for a more expensive cataract replacement lens.
While the Ministry of Health provides an avenue for patients to report extra-billing charges, the burden of reporting and responding is on patients. There is no email address or phone number for patients to report extra-billing. Instead, they must fill out a PDF form and mail/fax it to the designated address. At a time when patients are struggling to pay for housing, food, and other essentials, it should be easier to report extra-billing and be compensated.
This is only possible if patients even realize they are being extra-billed. Often, extra charges are built-in to services or many patients feel forced to pay them to access care. The Ministry of Health needs to take a proactive approach to monitoring and auditing for-profit health care companies so the burden of reporting does not fall on patients.
Share your story below and let us know if you, or someone you know, have been extra-billed.