What You Need to Know About Canadian Health Insurance

For those who don’t already know, Canada is ranked in the top five for the most well-developed public healthcare systems in the world. It’s also of no cost to Canadian citizens and permanent residents living in Canada. The Canadian government uses the tax income to provide somewhat free essential medical services, known as Medicare.     

Below is the information you need to know about Canadian health insurance when preparing for the big move to Canada. 

Canadian Healthcare System 

Medicare, Canada’s healthcare system, offers free medical services. They are, however, limited to particular services. Each province and territory is responsible for allocating its own healthcare services, and therefore the extent of the medical coverage will vary from province to province. All provinces and territories will provide free emergency medical services, even if you don’t have a government health card. 

Medicare generally covers the below services in all provinces:

  • Emergency hospital treatment;
  • Most primary and secondary care, i.e., any medically necessary services to help diagnose and treat any injuries/illnesses; and
  • Maternity services (including prenatal and postnatal care).

As the government uses the tax income to cover these medical services, you will not be charged any excess fees. However, if there is an emergency while you are in a province that you don’t live in, and you go to a walk-in clinic, there will be extra charges.   

All provinces and territories will provide free emergency medical services, even if you don’t have a government health card. The health insurance card you receive, also known as Care Cards, is all dependent on the Canadian province you’re living in. 

You may also need private insurance to pay for things that the government plans don’t fully cover. The most common type of plan is extended health plans. These plans cover costs for:     

  • Prescription medications
  • Dental care
  • Physiotherapy
  • Ambulance services
  • Prescription eyeglasses

Who are eligible for Medicare?

To be eligible for Canadian Medicare, you’ll need to be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident. If you’re moving to Canada on a permanent basis or on a  work visa, you can apply for a Medicare health insurance card in your province. This will typically take three months to be issued, but once you’ve got it, you’re fully covered by your province’s Medicare plan.  

For more information about healthcare in Canada, visit this page

There are several paths you can take when moving to Canada as a permanent resident. One of the most popular immigration pathways is the Express Entry system. Here’s how it works. 

The Express Entry System      

The Canadian Express Entry system is an online immigration system for skilled workers to become permanent residents. The Express Entry system manages three federal programs. They are:

  1. Federal Skilled Worker Program
  2. Federal Skilled Trades Program
  3. Canadian Experience Class

Eligible applicants are put into a draw pool and given a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score, which determines their ranking. Candidates who meet or exceed the qualifying CRS score will receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA), which means the candidate has the opportunity to apply for Canadian permanent residency.

Here are the benefits of the Express Entry system:

  • If you aren’t successful the first time, you’ll still be able to remain in the pool for a year and improve your CRS score. 
  • Everything is done online.
  • Draws happen as frequently as every two weeks.

Why Move to Canada?

Canada’s government has a goal of welcoming 1.23 million foreign nationals as permanent residents within the next three years (2021-2023). The Express Entry system will be issuing 108,500 Invitations to Apply (ITAs) this year alone.    

Now that you have what you need to know about Canadian health insurance, visit CanadianVisa.org for more information about the Canadian immigration process and how to apply.    

Written by Barbara McGee