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Does Canadian Health Care Cover Visitors to Canada

  • Published: 2008-12-31 (Revised/Updated 2015-11-09) : Amy Nutt.
  • Synopsis: As a visitor to Canada you can purchase health care insurance and benefit from public services in the Canadian territory

Main Document

Quote: "Private insurance in Canada may cover up to 80% of medical cost and it is available to visitors and local residents unsatisfied with their provincial or territorial health care system."

The Canadian Health Care System is based on several socialized health insurance plans providing full coverage to Canadian citizens and a model to follow that the American Health Care System has been analyzing for a while.

In Canada, federal government set the guidelines that apply to the different provinces and territories of the country in health matters, but the system comes from public funding on a territorial or provincial basis.

Because every Canadian region manages its own health care system, there is too much controversy and debate in relation to health care coverage for both locals and people visiting the country.

People who want to access the Canadian Health Care system must apply for a provincial health card and wait for no longer, than three months to obtain their health card in the case of new immigrants.

While the Canada Health Act guarantees that all residents of a territory or province will be accepted for health coverage, temporary visitors can only access this system purchasing insurance by themselves.

However, there are also Public Health Care Providers that ruled under the same act, providing services such as hospitals, dental surgery, ambulatory services, primary care doctors, and specialists to cover provincial insurance policies.

As a visitor to Canada, you can purchase a health care insurance policy and benefit from these public services during your stay in the Canadian territory.

Canada counts with about 30,000 primary care doctors, who account for over half of all Canadian doctors so you will not have a problem finding a physician that can provide you with preventative care or basic medical treatment.

Specialist doctors account for 28,000 all over the country and there are countless private clinics operating in the country offering specialized medical services, although under federal law they should not provide those services covered by the Canada Health Act.

Even though, most clinics offer such services regardless the legal limitation, they are covered by private insurance policies to provide health care assistance to people that otherwise would be left without medical protection.

Private insurance in Canada may cover up to 80% of medical cost and it is available to visitors and local residents unsatisfied with their provincial or territorial health care system.

In terms of medical availability as of 2007, there is one primary care doctor for every 1000 Canadians, who spend nearly $3,300 per capita on health care attention every year.

Keep in mind that the Canadian Health Care System does not provide basic services to residents, and some of them are those that visitors usually require, such as optometrists, dental services, and prescription medication, which people have to pay.

Related Information:

  1. Canadian National Health Insurance Program - The Canadian National Health Insurance Program referred to as Medicare is designed to ensure all Canadians have access to hospital and physician services.
  2. Canada's 811 Phone Health Care System - Disabled World
  3. An American's Experience with Canadian Health Care - Global Health Media


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