Health insurance in Canada is provided free of charge. But unlike many countries, their health care system is regulated at the regional level, and not at the federal level – that’s why the local administration that provides residents with insurance. The policy is valid throughout the country, and every citizen has the right to free medical care anywhere in Canada.
However, the pass to the world of free Canadian healthcare is provided by the use of Health card. It is given to all citizens of the country and to those people who work and live in Canada legally. But this Health card doesn’t cover some services for all categories of citizens. Also there are categories of people in Canada who have to pay for each visit to a doctor. For example, you may check the statistics offered by the online community of MCInTheDoctorsOffice. Some of this statistics is offered at the screenshot below.
What is covered by Health Card in Canada:
All essential care services, like hospital services, primary care physicians and specialists. Such free health insurance for Canadians covers almost all Medicare treatment services, as well as free visits to healthcare specialists, hospital ambulation, any diagnostic tests as well as vaccinations. State Health Card Insurance is available after 3 months of living in Canada.
What is not covered by Health Card in Canada:
Depending on province’s laws, certain services are not covered – almost all provinces demand paying off dental or vision services in full. Also, they do not cover cosmetic surgeries and elective surgeries which are not considered as essential ones. The pharmaceutical benefits are offered only to the disabled, low-income categories and elderly patients.
The recommendation: as soon as you get to Canada, apply for a Health Card and public health insurance. Find the appropriate forms in any private or governmental medical facility.
Keep in mind that some Canadian provinces like British Columbia, Ontario, New Brunswick and Quebec will keep you waiting up to 3 months before giving a Health Card.
Personal experience of users without Health Card in Canada:
Usually, Health Card in Canada covers all services found the medically necessary ones. Of course, everything depends on the province, but, as a rule, the company pays for medical examinations, prescription drugs and any other necessary procedures.
For example, when you reach a certain age, you can use the services of an ophthalmologist for free: such health insurance will cover the cost of contact lenses or glasses, but the frame is charged separately, since it is not considered necessary for recovery. Specifically, this situation seems to be quite understandable, but, in fact, it is not always easy to say which case is insured and which is not.
For example, the user of My Canadian Pharmacy (who preferred to be stay anonymous) shared his story of using the medical services in Canada without a Health Card:
“My therapist works in a small office near my home, so it’s not so difficult to make an appointment. I never have to stand in a huge queue (only if I did not warn about the meeting in advance). Big cities are another matter: in Canada, the number of doctors is somewhat less than what is needed, so it is rather difficult to agree on annual medical tests and other essential services. Nevertheless, it is quite realistic to see a doctor spontaneously: after all, the queue of receiving patients depends on the urgency, and not on the time of arrival. Once I had an allergic reaction to a wasp sting when I was in Montreal, but since this bite did not pose a threat to my life, but only brought some inconvenience, I had to wait several hours before a healthcare specialist could see me: night there were several accidents. Then I, of course, was not very good, but now I am glad that the doctors first helped those who suffered in the accident”.
About Canadian Health Card
The health care system is based on private clinics and doctors to which the government pays the costs of treating residents and citizens with a Health Card. There are clinics with coupons and queues, sometimes long. The first visit is provided by therapists who solve the majority of problems. If necessary, an appointment with a specialist is appointed. There is a big problem with queuing up to specialists, for tests and surgery.
It is also possible to find a family doctor who will be your therapist and always contact him. The problem is finding a doctor who agrees to accept new clients. A doctor in Canada values his or her independence, he or she can work in the clinic, in the hospital and use the private practice.
Ambulance cost in Canada
Calling an ambulance with a delivery to the hospital will cost about 100 USD. Calling an ambulance implies a threat to life and the task of the service to get you to the hospital as soon as possible. In the event of a delay, another emergency service may come to you, such as the police or the fire department. Calling an ambulance without a good reason should be paid on in full – about 250-300 CAD. That is why it’s preferable to go to the nearest hospital on your own. In case of need emergency care and danger of life, the hospital takes immediately without a queue. But if you can wait, you will probably have to wait a few hours.
Medications coverage in Canada
Medications are usually sold in local drugstores, only a small percentage is produced in Canada. Usually the branded drugs receive cheaper analogues “common” (generic). Most drugs can be bought at a Canadian pharmacy, such as this online pharmacy without a prescription, which doesn’t exempt you from having a valid prescription though. In the pharmacy, you can ask if there is a cheaper equivalent for the generic prescribed medication.
Drugstores do not cover Medicare costs and that is why you must pay for most OTC meds from your own pocket. Dentists are also independent of this system, the dental care is fully paid by patients. But you can get a sore tooth out for free. Each treatment is paid for or additional insurance is bought. Often, the cost of dental services is paid by an employer.
How much does it cost to pay for dental services in Canada:
- Treatment of one tooth = 50-100 CAD;
- X-ray of one tooth = 40-50 CAD;
- Treatment of 1 tooth by a private doctor = 30 CAD.
It is considered normal to visit a doctor who does not have a governmental license. Quality is acceptable. When doctor receives a license, he immediately raises the price for its services.