Healthcare in Canada

Last updated: July 26, 2019

Coming from England we often take advantage of our excellent health care services. The NHS provides free health services for most treatments. Healthcare in Canada works slightly different; all Canadian citizens and permanent residents may apply for public health insurance. Medicare is Canada’s public health care system, which uses funds from the government. When you have it, you do not pay for most health-care services as health care is paid for through taxes. Healthcare in Canada. Unfortunately, expats with temporary residency in Canada are not eligible for the same benefits.

Health care in Canada

Healthcare in Canada required?

It is not essential to own health insurance in Canada; however is advised. You could end up paying an arm and a leg for a trip to the hospital. Although many are covered with insurance through work, for those who aren’t there are three main options:

  • Basic plan – lowest-cost plan helps you budget for basic medical and dental needs.
  • Standard plan – popular plan includes catastrophic drug, emergency travel medical and optional preventive dental coverage.
  • Enhanced plan – comprehensive coverage, with a higher prescription drug maximum than the standard plan and optional dental coverage.

Public and private healthcare in Canada

Medicare is Canada’s equivalent to the NHS. It allows individuals to get treatment at both private and public healthcare facilities; however the majority of hospitals, clinics and practices in Canada are, in fact, private.

Public health

Each province in Canada defines what is and what is not covered by their particular health insurance plan. For the most part, the only things not covered are optometry, ambulance services, dentistry and outpatient prescription drugs.

Private health

While the healthcare system in Canada covers basic services, including primary care physicians and hospitals, but there are many services that are not inclusive in this.  Such as dental services, optometrists, and prescription medications. The pros to having private healthcare is waiting time  reduces significantly. Private healthcare however can cost around $600 a month, which can be large proportion of your income.

Health care in Canada

Doctor visits in Canada

If you are not a Canadian citizen or if you don’t have a permanent visa a doctor visit without health insurance can be very pricey. For a simple sore throat can over all cost around $90. This is including antibiotics and the doctors visit. For those who have cover by medicare, payments are not required to be paid after appointments. You simply need to show your insurance card for proof. In most cases the prescriptions are not free so this is something that will need to be paid for.

Accessibility of Canada healthcare

Doctor practices are more common near cities, but it is more difficult for those who live in rural areas. Patients in Canada wait longer for the free primary care appointments than those in many other developed countries, a large proportion of emergency visits in Canada have a limited availability of primary care.