Telus Health Changes Subscriptions After Overbilling Allegations

Image: Telus; Reception at the TELUS Health Care Centre located on Nelson Street in Vancouver, B.C.

Summary:

  • Telus Health’s LifePlus program will no longer offer doctors’ services to new patients.
  • LifePlus will no longer offer publicly funded, medically necessary services.
  • These changes come as part of a settlement with B.C.’s Medical Services Commission over allegations of extra-billing.

Telus Health has made significant changes to its health service subscription, LifePlus, as part of a settlement with British Columbia’s Medical Services Commission over allegations of extra-billing — reports the Vancouver Sun.

In a statement, Telus Health said it has agreed to modify “some of the program’s operational processes over time to ensure a clearer delineation between insured and uninsured care delivery, while maintaining continuity of care for its clients.”

The LifePlus program will no longer offer physicians’ services to new patients, said Health Minister Adrian Dix. “This is how we act to protect health care services in B.C,” the minister said during a news conference on Wednesday.

Existing LifePlus members will retain access to their family doctor in order to maintain “continuity of care,” Dix noted.

What’s more, Telus Health will no longer offer publicly funded, medically necessary services under the subscription service. Instead, these services will be offered through Telus’s virtual walk-in clinics, MyCare.

This change comes after B.C.’s Medical Services watchdog in December filed for a court injunction against the LifePlus program, accusing it of charging customers for services covered under the province’s Medical Services Plan. The Medical Services Commission originally launched a probe into the private, fee-based services offered by the LifePlus subscription in June of last year.

Telus Health and the Commission agreed to a settlement following out-of-court negotiations. Under the terms of the agreement, the Commission will withdraw its complaint to the B.C. Supreme Court, which alleged that LifePlus services violated the Medicare Protection Act by allowing paying patients to jump the line for access to a family doctor.

Juggy Sihota, chief growth officer at Telus Health, said in a Wednesday statement that the company came to an agreement with the Commission following a “highly collaborative, transparent and thoughtful process.”

Telus Health agreed to modify “some of the program’s operational processes over time to ensure a clearer delineation between insured and uninsured care delivery, while maintaining continuity of care for its clients,” she continued.

Following publication, a spokesperson for Telus Health emailed iPhone in Canada to clarify that “there were no instances of extra billing identified by the MSC in the LifePlus program during its review.”