Surgery Funding

The following section provides updated information about surgery funding in BC.

British Columbia residents are covered through MSP for approved gender-affirming surgeries. This includes the surgical readiness assessments which are funded if done with qualified assessors working in the publicly funded healthcare system.  There are also private practice based qualified assessors such as psychologists or clinical counsellors who will charge you or an extended benefits plan for the assessment. Once the assessment is complete, patients receive the results of their assessment directly from their primary care provider or the care provider who referred them for assessment. Prior to December 2016, assessments flowed through the chief assessor's office. This step has been removed from the process. Please check out our Surgical Assessment page for more information about how to obtain an assessment.

Patients recommended for surgery by Qualified Assessor(s) are automatically covered by BC Medical Services Plan (MSP), with the exception of breast augmentation which currently requires a funding application to be done by plastics surgeon. Health Insurance BC will receive and pay the bill for the surgery. However, BC MSP coverage is limited to physician and hospital in-patient medical care services.


What gender-affirming surgeries are covered by MSP?


MSP provides coverage for:

MSP currently does not cover:

  • Facial procedures (such as reduction of the Adam's apple, nose feminization, facial bone reduction, face lifts, rejuvenation of the eyelid);
  • Pectoral implants;
  • Hair reconstruction or restoration;
  • Liposuction or lipofilling;
  • Vocal feminization surgery or voice surgery.

What costs associated with gender-affirming surgery will not be covered by MSP?

While MSP pays for the cost of the above surgeries, there are some costs that are not covered. These include:

  1. Travel and accommodation costs to and from surgical centres (in BC, Montreal and out-of-country) for all gender-affirming surgeries and surgical revisions. Please note that masculinizing lower surgeries, erectile and/or testicular implants require at least two trips to surgical centres.
  2. Supportive garments (for breast construction and chest surgery), and wound care for post-surgery.
  3. Hair removal for surgery as required by surgeon.
  4. Other travel related costs: travel insurance, accommodation (as needed outside of surgical care), accompaniment’s travel and accommodation cost (if applicable).

How do people pay for their extra surgery costs?

Unfortunately, additional costs may be a barrier to surgery for some people. Strategies people have used to cover these costs include checking with extended benefits or other funding sources like FNHA, throwing a fundraising party and taking out a loan.

What if I am on provincial disability assistance or income assistance?

If you are on provincial disability assistance, you may wish to contact the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction to discuss funding for travel, support garments, and other medically necessary supplies. Your primary care provider can write a letter of support to obtain these funds.


 

I can’t afford the cost of my flight(s) for gender-affirming surgery. Is there any travel assistance available?

You can apply to Hope Air, a Canadian charity that arranges free flights with commercial carriers, for Canadians who must travel to health care.The assistance is based on financial need. BC also offers travel assistance through the Medical Services Plan (MSP) Travel Assistance Program (TAP).

If you are approved for TAP, you may also qualify for a Request for Non-local Medical Transportation Assistance. If you need advice, you may visit the Contact Us page for contact informatino with our Trans Care BC care coordination team.

Does MSP cover out-of-province surgery?

MSP only provides coverage for out-of-province procedures (physician and hospital expenses) if they are currently not available in BC.  Only vaginoplasty, metodioplasty and phalloplasty are approved to be provided outside BC.  See Out-of-province Surgery page for more information.

Who covers aftercare facility costs for out-of-province surgery?

Trans Care BC currently provides funding for aftercare facility for all MSP approved out-of-province surgeries. For more information, Contact Us.

SOURCE: Surgery Funding ( )
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