BC Health Care revisited


 

BC Care CardBack in April I mentioned a Huffington Post article about a woman here in BC who had to give birth in a hotel here rather than in hospital because she was not yet eligible for provincial health services.

Since that time I have learned that in fact this really wasn’t the case and that in fact BC really is quite generous when it comes to granting medical care to those with PR applications in process.  Since I found this to be useful information, I’m going to capture it here as well in hopes that it will be useful to others in the future.

Bottom line: the spouse of a BC resident living with that resident in BC is normally eligible for coverage as well according to documents on the BC MSP website:

Most immigration documents, when submitted with the required MSP form, provide sufficient information for MSP to determine whether a person qualifies for benefits. There are circumstances, however,  where additional documentation is required. If, for example, a spouse/child has visitor status in Canada and his/her papers do not state “Case Type 17” or provide any other indication that permanent resident status has been applied for, the MSP form should be submitted with copies of as many of the following as possible:

  • a photocopy of any immigration document he/she may hold
  • any relevant letters issued by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC)
  • proof that the application fee for permanent resident status has been paid to CIC online or through a financial institution
  • the identity page of the spouse/child’s passport and any other pages stamped by CIC or the Canada Border Services Agency
  • a copy of the spouse/child’s birth certificate if he/she is a United States citizen.
  • pages one and two from the CIC e-Client Applications Status website (www.cic.gc.ca) showingthe receipt date of the application. (On that website, click on Check Application Status.)

The above helps confirm that CIC considers the person to be an applicant for permanent resident status, and helps MSP determine when, if appropriate, coverage should begin.

Thus, it would seem that had that woman submitted evidence they had submitted the application (payment receipt, evidence that it was received in Vegreville, AB) she likely would have been eligible.  Instead, the original point of the article was that she wouldn’t qualify until such time as she was granted AIP (initial approval).

I’d been looking at this recently in any case, because of the opt-out provision of the BC provincial plan (as far as I can tell, only BC and Alberta have such a provision, although hopefully if there are other options for other provinces someone will tell me and I can update this information).  For me that was important because it demonstrated one possible way out of the excessive demand argument and indeed, had there been [b]any hint[/b] from the visa officer that no amount of insurance would overcome the BC policy, I would have offered to opt-out.  All I received was a generic form letter – and the only text in the medical officer’s opinion that deviated from the standard language that provides no insight into the rationale of the officer was “This applicant’s medical condition is likely to require treatment that is expensive and publicly funded in B.C.  Although he has private insurance, antiretroviral medications are covered 100% by the provincial drug plan in the province of British Columbia with no payment from private insurance.”

Previously, this same medical officer (in a different case, with the same medical condition): “Admissibility is dependent on the visa officer determining if the clients will have access to private or employer based insurance”.

Thus my point – I’ve investigated insurance alternatives.  It’s not easy to [b]get[/b] insurance with a pre-existing condition but it isn’t impossible – there are actually brokers who deal with that sort of thing (albeit with restrictions).

Of course, now that’s a moot point – CIC didn’t communicate clearly, so there was no effective way for me to respond back to them.

 

 

 

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Judicial Review: Leave Granted


This afternoon I repeated my usual habit of checking the Federal Court Docket.  To be honest, I did it this morning as well, and there was no update.  This afternoon however, there was an update in the docket system (including information that my attorney acknowledged receipt, even though I haven’t heard a peep from his office.)

Of course, this now has me going back and thinking about all the issues I’ve previously mentioned: what will the impact of this becoming public information: how will it impact me and my family.

The hearing is scheduled 90 days from today (the maximum allowed by the rules here) so it will be 17 October 2012.  Ironically, I’m not 100% sure I will be able to attend the hearing, as I’m currently blocked for the same period for a trial in the US (in which I’m serving as an expert witness).  I’m working to find out now.

I will go to the local registry and order a copy of the actual order tomorrow (it’s too late today, as it was issued in Ottawa, and that means I had to get to the Registry by 1 pm here on the west coast.)  But it should just confirm what the online system says:

  • review granted, hearing date on October 17, 2012
  • tribunal (CIC NYC) record on or before August 9, 2012
  • applicant’s affidavits (that’s me) on or before August 20, 2012
  • respondent’s affidavits (CIC) on or before August 29, 2012
  • cross-examination on or before September 10, 2012
  • applicant’s further memorandum of law on or before September 18, 2012
  • respondent’s further memorandum of law on or before September 28, 2012
  • cross-examination transcripts on or before September 28, 2012

Of course, this also means I have to pay my attorney his supplemental fee (which, to be honest, cannot possibly cover the amount of time involved in this sort of case.  Either that, or I’m too used to working with expensive patent litigators!)

In addition, it is possible that some parties might be interested in participating as well (“intervening”).  This certainly isn’t guaranteed.  I expect I will learn more as the case proceeds.

Bottom line: this is good news.  My case will gain a hearing.

Three months and counting


Cat waiting outside of mouse hole

Three months and counting

As I write this, I realize that it will be three months since my file was sent to the court for a decision.  Thus, my case now seems to stretch into an unusual category, since this time of extended delay seems, from what I can tell, to be remarkably unusual.

Companioni took three weeks to decide (and review was granted).  Another case of someone I know took two months for a denial.  Ovalle took just under a month to decide (and review was again granted).  While I’m sure there are other cases that wait three months for a decision on the application, I have not found one.  This leaves me in the peculiar position of wondering why it is taking so long to actually make a decision.  Part of me wonders if the Court is waiting to see if CIC makes a decision on my other application (thus allowing the Court to wriggle out of making a decision that is unlikely to be popular, regardless of what they decide.)

Of course, nothing seems to be moving when it comes to the Canadian government and any of my applications.  At the beginning of July, the GCMS notes for my request to Seattle (for the TRP – in order to definitively settle the question of admissibility or not) indicated that Seattle had still not started processing my application.  Given that they quoted a three to six month application time frame (and it’s now at five months) I’m now wondering if even six months is a realistic number.

Heck, I’m still waiting to hear from CIC with respect to my request to withdraw the sponsored spousal application (indeed, that hurt to do – I put it off until May, but I didn’t seem to have much choice in the matter.)  Knowing my luck, they’ll finally match the withdrawal letter with the file the dayafter the Court declines to grant my judicial review application.

The final looming deadline is that my current work permit expires on September 3, 2012.  That means that in about a month’s time I will need to gather up all the paperwork for it and submit a renewal. Of course, my hope had been to have a TRP by then so I could apply for the renewal of both the work permit and the TRP at the same time – but that really only worked if I had the TRP by June.  At this point, even if i did get the TRP, I seriously doubt I could get a renewal of the work permit and the TRP prior to September 3, 2012.  Of course, an inland application for a work permit is automatically canceled if you leave Canada after the expiration of the first work permit and prior to the granting of the second (new) permit.

The inland work permit application differs from the outland application in one critical area.  The inland permit renewal asks if you have any “serious medical conditions” and while I wouldn’t think of an asymptomatic disorder to be “serious” I’ve been assured by my attorney that CIC considers it to be one and that I must answer yes.  The outland permit renewal asks if you have any serious medical conditions that require treatment other than prescription medications and the answer for that in my case is “no”.  Indeed, my attorney told me that he was involved in the drive to change the rules (and specifically this field of the form).

So I’m not quite at the point where I have to prepare for the work permit renewal.  But I’m already thinking about it.

In the meantime, it’s now been three months, no decision.  Perhaps there will be a decision tomorrow – or not.  Only time will tell.