Free Healthcare in Canada: What You Must Know
What can you get for free when it comes to healthcare in Canada? Canadian citizens and residents (people who work with legal visas and permanent residency) get a chance for a governmental medical insurance called Medicare. Free health insurance in Canada for these categories of patients covers everything related to a diagnosis that may be a threat to a person’s life.
When Canadians need medical care, they go to a general practitioner or clinic of their choice and present him with a health insurance card issued to all legal citizens and residents of the country. Canadians do not pay directly for medical services and they do not need to fill in various forms for services covered by the insurance policy. There are no limits in terms of money or additional payments.
More than 95% of all Canadian hospitals operate as non-profit private organizations managed by a local board of directors, volunteer organizations or municipal workers. In addition to the nationwide health insurance system, the provinces also provide medical care to the population that needs additional medical services – elderly people, children and unemployed. These additional packages of medical services often include free medications, basic dental care, eye care services, various facilities for the disabled people (prostheses, wheelchairs, etc.) and more.
Although the provinces provide additional services to certain categories of the population, this service is located in the private sector, which means that Canadian residents directly pay them from their own pocket. In this case, it is reasonable to purchase a private insurance plan that covers most of the expenses for the services of a dentist, ophthalmologist, etc.
What is not covered by a free health insurance in Canada?
Medicare does not cover the cost of dentists like in most countries, with the exception of urgent surgical cases. When a person is experiencing an acute pain or if the disease can cause some terrible consequences for his or her health, this person may receive a free help until the stabilization of situations.
For example, the state medical insurance (the one that is free of charge for all citizens and residents) does not cover the manufacture of glasses and lenses. And health insurance does not cover the cost of buying drugs for treating any sort of chronic diseases. All this you will have to do at your own expense if you live in Canada.
Besides, each of Canadian provinces offers its own free healthcare insurance plans for citizens. Living in one of these provinces, you must go to the nearest medical establishment responsible for medical care, fill in all necessary forms. Then you will get a personal health insurance number that will be carved on a plastic card sent to the registered address in 5 days after getting the insurance number. Most basic medical services are free in all provinces. And a free health insurance covers 50% of the cost of most drugs.
Paid healthcare services in Canada: ambulance and dentists
It’s better to go to the hospital in Canada on your own, without calling an ambulance. However, prepare to wait for many hours and filling in many forms if your case is not life-threatening. On average, doctors in the Canadian hospitals and state clinics check more than about 18 patients per shift. Sometimes nurses are taking care of minor injuries – it is a common practice.
Ambulance transportation is expensive – for example, in Quebec, it will cost up to $150 and additionally they charge for extra miles from the place of transportation to the nearest hospital. These services are not covered by any free Medicare insurance.
Dentist treatment is very expensive in Canada. Medicare does not cover dental services at all. Usually, when applying for a job, people are offered benefits when a company covers their dental treatment. Often these benefits are given for all employee’s family members, but there are restrictions depending on the company. If you don’t have any dental care benefits at work, prepare to spend up to $150 per a tooth treatment. Though the prices may differ, depending on the clinic and the dentist’s personal regards.
Canadian health care system has its drawbacks for sure. But Medicare also brings many positive things. For example, elderly people may get free surgeries if they have cancer or other life-threatening disorders, while in the USA no one cares if you have cancer and don’t have money for the treatment. From many aspects, Canadian health services are free and available for all citizens.