The Basics of Canadian Healthcare
We often hear in the news about Canadian healthcare being free for everyone. For many people who are new to Canada, it’s very likely that they believe this to be the case. However, did you know that healthcare in Canada is actually not free? In fact, most people pay for it in the form of mandatory monthly premiums to their provincial government. That’s because Canada utilizes a form of healthcare commonly known as universal healthcare. This means that everyone who lives here pays into the system.
Universal healthcare is a fantastic system which has been widely adopted in the developed world, except the United States. Its major benefit is that in case of catastrophic health event people won’t have to ruin their financial lives. Surely, you have heard of some horror stories, mainly from the US, about people who go into financial ruin simply because they developed a disease.
How do we pay for it?
In Canada, individual provincial governments are in control of healthcare. Your rates are determined by your net adjusted income, so the less you earn, the less you have to pay.
What does provincial healthcare cover? What doesn’t it cover?
This is a great system which covers all required medical services. Those are things like “medically necessary services provided by physicians and midwives, dental and oral surgery performed in a hospital, eye examinations if medically required and some orthodontic services”, among others. The good thing is, regardless of which province you call home, the coverage is the same 99% of the time.
More importantly, however, is learning about what provincial health does NOT cover. We won’t be going through them all today, but we would like to point out some non-covered items, which applies to most provinces.
Dental services like a root canal won’t be covered! Only extreme damage, which requires in hospital surgery, will be.
Eyeglasses or eye exams are not covered. The upkeep of your eyes is entirely up to you.
Prescription drugs aren’t covered either. This is a pretty important one as there are plenty of health matters which can require a long-term basis of drug usage.
What should you do about these non-covered services? You can get a private extended health insurance or plan these expenses into your monthly budget. Also, remember to check provincial programs that help people with less income afford expensive prescription drugs.