Health insurance in Canada for new immigrants, Canada is well known for its high-quality national health insurance program. The guidelines and standards for the health insurance system in Canada are set by the federal government. However, the actual administration of the national insurance program is the responsibility of each province and territory. Permanent residents can apply for provincial/territorial health insurance. They are encouraged to apply as soon as possible after arriving in Canada. Application forms are available online from each province or territory’s Ministry (or Department) of Health.
Private health insurance can cover your needs during this period. Visit BestQuote, or get a free quote here from Cigna, to see which policies may be available to you. Temporary residents, including workers and students, can review their options for travel insurance in Canada here (in some cases, it may be mandatory to take out an insurance policy before arriving in Canada).
Health insurance in Canada for new immigrants, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) encourages permanent residents to apply for private health insurance to cover a provincial wait period. IRCC cautions that private insurance must be purchased within five days of arriving in Canada or the insurance company might not cover the individual. Be aware that private insurance is not an option for many families owing to pre-existing medical conditions or high costs; these families may remain uninsured. For more information, visit the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada website.
The Cost of Health Insurance in Canada for Foreigners
Here are examples of the average costs of healthcare in Canada for non-residents coming from some of the more popular countries or citizenship.
- Provincial insurance name: Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan (AHCIP)
- Eligibility for permanent residents: Coverage begins from the date residency is established (typically, the date of arrival).
- Coverage: Includes full coverage for medically necessary physician services, some dental and oral surgical health services, and hospital visits and stays. Partial coverage for podiatry and optometry services.
- Free health advice by phone: Dial 811 or access Health Link.
Our recommendation: You should purchase private health insurance for your first three months in British Columbia, as no new residents are eligible for provincial coverage until they complete a three-month wait period. Read our complete guide to health care in British Columbia for newcomers.
Permanent residents: Eligible for BC MSP.
Temporary workers: Eligible for BC MSP with a work permit valid for six months or longer in duration. Working Holiday participants who are working in B.C. for at least 18 hours per week may also be eligible, but this does not negate the requirement to show proof of insurance upon entry to Canada.Health Link.
- Provincial insurance name: New Brunswick Medicare and Drug Plans
- Eligibility for permanent residents: Once a completed application form is received and eligibility is established, a letter indicating the actual start date of the New Brunswick Medicare coverage is issued and followed by a New Brunswick Medicare card.
- Coverage: Includes physician’s services, certain specified surgical dental procedures, and most hospital services.
- Free health advice by phone: Dial 811 or access Tele-Care.
Temporary Medical Insurance for Canada
Canada provides one of the best healthcare systems in the world. However, it is very expensive. Without proper insurance, it would be extremely difficult for anyone to pay out of pocket for medical expenses, if they were to get sick or injured during the waiting period. The medical bills can range from tens of thousands of dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Fortunately, various temporary medical insurance from US based companies are available, provided you purchase them BEFORE arriving in Canada:
provincial public health care coverage for newcomers
To find out more about provincial public health care coverage for newcomers, visit:
British Columbia – http://www.health.gov.bc.ca/insurance/msp_register.html
Nova Scotia – https://novascotia.ca/dhw/msi/
Prince Edward Island – https://www.princeedwardisland.ca/en/topic/health-pei
What is the Interim Federal Health Program in canada?
The Interim Federal Health Program provides limited temporary coverage of health care costs to protected persons who are not eligible for provincial or territorial health insurance plans and where a claim cannot be made under private health insurance. These protected persons include resettled refugees, refugee claimants, certain persons detained under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and other specified groups.
How Can I Purchase this Insurance?
Visitors to Canada emergency medical insurance can be purchased before you leave your home country, which is recommended, or after your arrival in Canada. Terms and conditions vary by insurance provider when it comes to purchasing insurance after arrival in Canada. Some providers limit the number of days for which an individual has already been in Canada to a maximum of 30. In other words, if an individual has been in Canada for more than 30 days, they are no longer eligible to purchase a policy from the provider.
How to Apply Health insurance in Canada for new immigrants?
Healthcare in Canada falls under provincial or territorial jurisdiction, meaning that you will need to apply to your regional government for a healthcare card. Depending on where you are settling, you may be required to wait up to three months before you will be given government health insurance. You can learn more about the specific details of applying for health insurance in your region by clicking on your region below:
- British Columbia
- New Brunswick
- Newfoundland and Labrador
- Northwest Territories
- Nova Scotia
- Prince Edward Island
- Quebec (in French only)