Public Health facilities at Canada
Continuing with my series on introduction to Canada. In fact there is such a great difference in public health system and facilities. If you are coming from India, Pakistan or may be even China or say from most of Asian Countries, then you have to understand the health system here as the difference is huge.
Health facilities in Canada vary from Province to Province, with probably Alberta offering the best of facilities. However, today I am talking about Health facilities provided by Ontario province.
The Government of Canada and the provincial governments collect taxes to pay for medical services and health insurance. The Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) provides most basic and emergency health services free to residents of Ontario.
APPLYING FOR THE ONTARIO HEALTH INSURANCE PLAN (OHIP)
Your Health Card OHIP is the Ontario Health Insurance Plan. It provides for many different health care services. It pays for most basic and emergency health care services. OHIP does not pay for the cost of medication or dental services. Health care service providers, like doctors, hospitals and walk-in clinics, will check your Health Card (OHIP card) each time you visit. It is important to always carry your Health Card so you can receive medical help in an emergency.
Most newcomers CANNOT get an OHIP card until after they have lived in Ontario for three (3) months. OHIP will mail your card to you three months after you apply for it. It is very important that you apply for your Health Card as soon as you arrive in Ontario so you can be insured as soon as possible. To apply, you must go to an OHIP office. Call the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and ask where the nearest office is. Their phone number is 1-800-268-1153, which is a free call from anywhere in Ontario, or 416-327-4327 if you are calling from Toronto.
When you go to the OHIP office, you need to complete an application form. You must also provide original documents that prove your immigration status and that you live in Ontario. If you have children 15 1/2 years of age and older, they must go with you to the office. The staff at the OHIP office will take their picture for their card.
After OHIP accepts your application, they will mail your Health Card to you.
It is a good idea to buy health insurance from a private company right away, so you can have health care during the 3-month waiting period. Contact the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association (CLHIA) for information about insurance companies - 1-800-268-8099, which is a free call from anywhere in Ontario.
For Private Health Insurance, It is best to talk to different companies to find the best insurance for you. Usually, the coverage you want would be for "visitors to Canada." Ask the insurance company if they provide coverage for new immigrants to Canada.
You MUST buy this insurance within 5 days of arriving in Ontario, or the insurance companies may not provide coverage for you. It is important to know that:
Insurance companies charge a daily premium for each person. Depending on your age and the insurance plan you get, your premium can be from $2.00 a day to over $8.00 a day. Most private health insurance companies will not pay for treatment for health conditions you had before you got the insurance, even if you did not know about them.
There is often a short waiting period before you can make claims.
Most insurance covers medical emergencies, necessary treatments, medical tests and medication prescribed by a doctor. Most temporary private health insurance plans for newcomers do not pay for “regular” check-ups and visits to a family doctor.
When you need health services, call the insurance company first and ask if they will pay for them.