The British Columbia Medical Association (BCMA) administers five major benefit programs that are available to practicing BC physicians and surgeons. This post is the first in a series of five describing the various benefit programs.
The Continuing Medical Education (CME) fund is designed to assist physicians with their educational expenses. In the past, physicians had to submit an application along with supporting documentation to claim the benefit. It has now been recognized that all licensed physicians are required to participate in a recognized revalidation process. Accordingly, an application form is no longer required for claims beginning with 2011. The benefit will be paid out in full once the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC confirms that a license has been issued. Claims for prior periods still require an application to be submitted.
To be eligible, a physician must have earned at least $5,000 of eligible income in the previous calendar year. Eligible income is fee-for-service income paid by the Medical Services Plan (MSP), sessional income and and non-salaried earnings under a service contract with a government agency. It is my understanding that billings to ICBC and WorksafeBC are not eligible.
The benefits for different levels of income are summarized below. The current maximum benefit of $1,800 is obtained when eligible income in the previous calendar year is over $30,000.
|Gross Income||Benefit %||Benefit $|
|$15,001 – $30,000||75%||$1,350|
|$10,001 – $15,000||50%||$ 900|
|$5,000 – $10,000||25%||$ 450|
|Less than $5,000||Nil||Nil|
Please ensure that the BCMA has your banking information on file to be able to receive the benefit payment.
Payments received personally for the CME benefit are considered taxable income and are reported on a T4A slip. Payments made to a physician’s professional corporation are income to the company and a T4A will not be issued.
Non-members of the BCMA are entitled to receive the benefit, but must pay an administration fee of the lesser of 50% of the benefit or the balance of the equivalent BCMA dues, plus HST.
Future posts will address the remaining benefit programs:
- Contributory Professional Retirement Savings Plan (CPRSP)
- Canadian Medical Protective Association (CMPA) Reimbursement
- Physician’s Disability Insurance (PDI)
- Parental Leave Program (PLP)