It’s a hassle when driver’s licence and health card names don’t match


B.C. is merging the driver’s licence and health care card into a single card.

Under a new policy, when you renew your driver’s licence, you are directed to bring along your health card, known as CareCard, so that the two can become one. (You have the option of requesting separate cards, but you still have to renew both cards.)

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This is causing a headache for some people, such as me, because the names on the two cards must match exactly.

A notice I received in the mail says this: “Check your driver’s licence and CareCard to be sure your name exactly matches on both. If not, call Health Insurance BC at 604.683.7151 or 1.800.663.7100.”

The names on my cards do not exactly match, and I’m betting that’s also the case for a lot of other people. How can this happen? Examples: Typing mistake, getting married and adopting a new last name, filling in the form wrong, contending with a form that won’t accept unconventional names, having more than one middle name.

For people in this situation, getting the new combo card can become a hassle.

My name is correctly rendered on my driver’s licence, matching my birth certificate exactly. But the name on my CareCard only has the first part of my two-part middle name. When I first got the CareCard nearly two decades ago, I immediately noticed that it wasn’t quite right. Being a nitpicker, I’m fairly certain I tried to get it fixed. But, obviously, at some point, I let things slide.

A couple of weeks ago, I called Health Insurance BC as instructed, and was told that the thing to do was to fill in a Medical Services Plan change request form and include a copy of my birth certificate.

My middle name has a space between the first word and the second. A space, not a hyphen. The change request form has a 12-character box for the first name, and the same for a second name, but no box for a third name. I filled in the form and, as a work-around, I put my two-word middle name into the second-name box, with the space. I submitted the paperwork.

A week later, I learned that Health Insurance BC’s computer system would not accept my middle name as two words. Which would explain why my CareCard was issued with an incomplete middle name those many years ago. It also reveals that this glitch has existed for at least two decades.

I’m heading to the motor vehicles office this week for the next step in my licence and CareCard renewal. Wonder what will happen there when I present my not-quite-matching cards.

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