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Moving to Canada? Understand the Canadian Healthcare System First

If you are a digital nomad, taking a vacation, or permanently relocating to Canada, you have the duty of familiarizing yourself with the country and its healthcare system before relocating. Canadian Medicare is funded through taxes and covers everything under medical necessities, including medical checkups and hospitalization. However, Canadian Medicare is only available to Canadian citizens and specific refugees with each of the 13 provinces managing their healthcare system. The good thing is that there is also insurance for visitors to Canada that don’t qualify for the public system. Therefore, when visiting or planning to stay in Canada, you don’t have to worry about the availability of healthcare. Being in Canada irrespective of how long you will be there means you have access to the best healthcare in the world. This article will discuss various things to help you understand more about the Canadian healthcare system before you get there.

The Basics for Non-Citizens

The reason why many people choose to relocate to Canada is because of its superior care system. In every province, a small portion of the taxes paid by residents and citizens is used by the government to cater for healthcare amenities. This allows Canadian residents to receive basic health necessities and medical help free of charge. Each of the 13 provinces operates differently, and their healthcare insurance plans are different too. If you just moved to Canada, you may have to wait for a few months before being eligible for Medicare. Here are three essentials for healthcare when you are a newcomer.

  • Know the Coverage Available

Canadian healthcare for non citizens is available even without a health card. The Canadian government provides free medical and emergency services to no citizens. Hence, before you get a health card, make sure you visit the nearest hospital in case of a medical emergency. The provincial insurance will cover basic medical services. However, things like dental care, prescriptions, and ambulance services are not covered. So, you will have to pay out of your pocket if you don’t have a private insurance plan.

  • Get a Healthcare Card

Whether you are a Canadian resident or a newcomer, you must have a health card to access healthcare services. Residents get the cards from their provinces, while newcomers must apply for the health card in the provincial government offices. Once you get the card, you must show it whenever you visit the hospital.

  • Get a Family Doctor

Most Canadian dwellers have family doctors to ensure they can easily get access to medical care and advice whenever they need it. So, ask someone you know to refer you to a good family doctor. Look for recommendations on provincial websites, or also check with the community health center in the area.

How Free is Healthcare in Canada?

Canadian citizens and permanent residents receive Medicare for free. Nevertheless, they must be enrolled in their province. The patients eligible for Medicare don’t need to pay for medical care and advice such as surgery, prescriptions, childbirth, and other services. However, there is one limitation when it comes to prescriptions drugs. Any drugs taken outside the hospital setting are not covered in the insurance. Other services not covered by the system include vision care, dental care, unnecessary cosmetic surgery, and rehabilitation.

Those people who don’t qualify in the public system, like newcomers, need to pay for healthcare from their pockets by purchasing a private insurance policy. Everyone not from Canada including tourists and short-term visitors can receive medical care, but the costs are not covered by the public healthcare system in Canada. Therefore, when visiting Canada, it is crucial to confirm with the international travel insurance.

Healthcare Options for Expats and Foreigners in Canada

As mentioned earlier, international citizens who come to Canada do not receive immediate coverage. They receive medical attention for emergency services as long as they have international travel health insurance. Otherwise, they are forced to pay for the services from their pockets. Both Canadian citizens and permanent residents must comply with the provincial policies and regulations to access healthcare services. One requirement is that a person has to be physically present in their province for 153 days for every half a year. One important thing you should know is that Medicare is only applicable in Canada. If you decide to travel outside the country, you will need to have an international healthcare insurance plan to cover your medical needs.

Final Thoughts!

As you travel or relocate to Canada, one of the most essential things you must acquaint yourself with is the healthcare system of the province you settle in. Learn about how the province works and the things you need to get the card. You also need to know the right process you can take in case of an emergency, and you don’t have a private insurance plan. Familiarizing yourself with the Canadian healthcare system will help you when transitioning into life in Canada.

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