Canada Living

Apply for a Health Insurance Card

You should apply for a health insurance card as soon as you arrive in Canada. Each member of your family, even babies, must have their own health insurance card.

All Canadian citizens and permanent residents are eligible for Medicare. In some provinces, temporary workers, students and others who are in Canada temporarily may also be eligible.

To apply for a health insurance card, contact the Ministry of Health in the province or territory where you live. You can get an application form from any doctor’s office, hospital or pharmacy, or directly from your Ministry of Health. Apply for your health insurance card as soon as possible after arriving in Canada.

You will need to show your birth certificate, your Confirmation of Permanent Residence (IMM 5292) and your passport when you apply for a health card. You can also show your Permanent Resident Card. You may also need to provide other documents showing your name, address and signature. Contact your Ministry of Health for more information.

In most provinces, you will receive coverage as soon as you apply for your health card. In British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick, there is a three-month waiting period before your coverage begins. You should buy your own private health insurance in case you need medical care during the waiting period. Private insurance companies are listed in the yellow pages of the telephone book. You can also get help finding private medical insurance from an organization that helps immigrants.

People claiming refugee status who are needy or living in a province with a three-month eligibility waiting period can get emergency or essential health-care services through the Interim Federal Health Program.

How to Get Medical Services

Medical services are available across Canada from hospitals, clinics, doctors and other health-care providers. When you receive medical services, you must show your health insurance card or you may have to pay for the services you receive.

If you do not have a health insurance card, you will have to pay to receive the medical services you need.

Your telephone book lists doctors and other health-care providers under the heading “Physicians and Surgeons”.

Apply for Health Card

Health Coverage

Healthcare Coverage in Canada

Health-care services covered by Medicare Canada include:

  • Examination and treatment by family doctors
  • Many types of surgery
  • Most treatments by specialists
  • Hospital care
  • X-rays
  • Many laboratory tests
  • Most vaccinations

However the following services Not covered by by Medicare Canada

  • Ambluance services
  • Prescription drugs
  • Denal care
  • Glasses and contact lenses

Please note that You will have to pay for these above services yourself. If you have a job in Canada, you may be covered for some or all of the costs of these services through a workplace benefits package. Ask your employer if you are not sure.

Some provinces do pay for non-medical services, such as prescription drugs. In some cases, only a portion of the total cost is covered.

Visiting or Moving to a New Province

Your health card is mainly for use in the province where you live. If you are visiting another province, you can use your health insurance card in an emergency.

If you are moving permanently to another province, reapply for a new provincial health card as soon as possible. There are waiting periods before your coverage begins in your new province, although the province you left will continue to provide coverage for a limited period of time.

If you move to another province temporarily, you should contact the provincial ministry of health office in your home province before you leave.

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