What You Should Know About Canadian Health Insurance


In the article above this post, we provided a general explanation about how the Canadian health care system works. Yet, there are many important aspects of the Canadian health insurance you should be aware about, and this short article will help you to dig deeper in this issue.

First of all, you have to know that the Canadian government does not influence the medical policy of regions directly – each region has its own health insurance program and each region is responsible for it. The only way of influencing the regions’ medical policies by the government is a fiscal policy, since the federal government allocates funds for the provincial health insurance programs. In Canada, 70 percent of all the money spent on medical care (including plastic surgeries, etc.) comes from the Canadian government, so public financing of the medical industry is really immense.

The Canadian legislation and, in particular, the Canada Health Act of 1984 obliges all regions to provide free access to the “medically necessary services” to all residents of the country. Typically, the term “medically necessary services” includes the services of general practitioners, medical services in hospitals, and the long-term residential care. All other types of medical care are usually excluded from this list.

Even though the public health insurance is financed by the government, i.e. those finances are taken from the money of the Canadian taxpayers, some regions levy additional premiums. For example, the regions of Ontario and British Columbia oblige all families to pay flat premium rates for the Canadian health insurance.

Health insurance in Canada

All dental care services are not covered by the public health insurance

Also, medical services to be delivered by private institutions and covered by private health insurances is allowed, yet only for medical services that are not covered by the Canadian health insurance (public). Though, 4 provinces allowed private health insurance for “medically necessary services” as well, but there is no demand in that market.

If you are a resident of Canada, you can freely use a private health insurance for other medical services, known as “elective medical services.” This includes the cost of prescription and non-prescription drugs, cosmetic surgeries, surgeries of vision correction, and so on.

The majority of the Canadian population enjoys additional (private) health insurances that cover additional costs of health care. Yet, many of them receive it from the companies they work for.

The number of days you have to stay within the country in order to be eligible to apply for a health card – without that card, you actually can’t have the basic health insurance – varies across the Canadian regions, too. In Alberta, for instance, you can apply 30 days after living in the region and in case if you can provide your work permit and the proof of your permanent address.

After all, it would be better to buy all necessary non-prescription medicines in your home country: the prices of non-prescription drugs are not regulated by the federal government and so their cost is much higher than the cost of prescription medicines. If you are able to do so, it would be better to bring painkillers, sedatives, remedies against allergies, and similar drugs along with you.


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