Tuesday, April 25, 2023

BC Ferries reduces the financial burden on those travelling by Ferry for medical travel

The cost for travel to medical appointments aboard BC Ferries just became a bit less, with the Ferry Service announcing that they are waiving the 18 dollar booking or reservation fee each way for those who are travelling for medial appointments not available in their own communities.

From their Information Release of today, BC Ferries notes that travellers must qualify for the government's medical travel program, as well as to have TAP form from a health care  provider.

The new service is available on bookable routes for those who qualify for the provincial government’s Travel Assistance Program (TAP), which covers transportation costs for eligible B.C. residents who must travel within the province for non-emergency medical services not available in their own communities. 

To secure a complimentary booking with BC Ferries for medical travel, customers must obtain a TAP form from their physician, nurse practitioner, or specialty clinic and obtain a TAP confirmation number from Health Insurance BC. 

Travelling with a confirmed booking helps to provide travel certainty by reserving a spot in advance and avoiding wait times at the terminal.

Janet Carson BC Ferries Vice President of Marketing and Customer experience noted how the Ferry Service was looking to reduce the stress for those travelling for medical reasons.

“We understand that travelling while unwell, or to treatments and surgeries, can be stressful. Removing the booking fee is our way of helping with travel certainty while removing the financial burden when travelling to and from doctors’ offices, clinics or hospital.”  

The cost of waiving booking fees for medical travel is projected to be in the range of $250,000 to $350,000 annually in foregone revenue and aligns with the TAP program’s goal of removing financial barriers to healthcare.

Among the routes that will be included as part of the the program ae the Port Hardy to Prince Rupert run, as well as that between Prince Rupert and Skidegate on Haida Gwaii 

The Prince Rupert to Haida Gwaii service is likely the one that delivers the larger amount of medical related travel with Haida Gwaii residents coming to Prince Rupert or Terrace for medical purposes. 

North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice, who is also the Parliamentary Secretary for Rural Health welcomed the announcement today. 

“The Travel Assistance Program is so important in helping people living in rural or remote communities access critical health-care services. 

Making reservations for people travelling with TAP free is another great step in removing barriers to accessing health care and I am grateful to BC Ferries for this action.”

More items of interest from BC Ferries can be explored here.

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