Health insurance waiting period for immigrants
Canada, 28th February: Imposing waiting period for receiving public health insurance for immigrants can increase health problems.
In Canadian province Ontario, there is a waiting period of three months for new immigrants coming to Canada before they become eligible to get public health insurance benefits.
Apart from Ontario, other provinces having waiting period for insurance are Quebec, B.C.(British Columbia) and New Brunswick. And critics allege such rules could play havoc to the health of new immigrants coming to Canada.
That’s because it will lead to delays among immigrants in seeking medical treatment which could prove a threat to the patients’ life in some cases.
Loss of health advantage among newcomers after coming to Canada—Findings of several recent reports reveal that new immigrants coming to Canada are generally healthier than their native Canadian counterparts. However, this advantage is lost soon after their arrival in Canada. Moreover, studies also reveal a higher mortality rate among immigrants living in Canada for a period exceeding three decades as compared to the newcomers coming to Canada.
Eliminate health insurance waiting period in Ontario---This calls for an immediate need to eliminate any waiting period for providing immigrants access to public health insurance in all Canadian provinces.
According to executive director of Somerset West Community Health Center, Jack McCarthy, Canada is encouraging people to come here, but, it is quite strange that they face obstacles once they are here.
Ontario must work towards eliminating the waiting period for immigrants, especially those suffering from tuberculosis, assert Ontario Medical Association, health agencies and Ottawa Board of Health.
And chief medical officer of health in Toronto, Dr. David McKeown also feels an immediate need for abolishing the three-month waiting period.
According to chairperson of the Ottawa Board of Health, Councilor Diane Holmes, immediate health coverage must be provided to newcomers having tested positive for tuberculosis.
Ontario Health Insurance Program (OHIP) should make sure to offer prompt and effective treatment to help prevention of latent tuberculosis from developing into active tuberculosis, Holmes quipped.
Quebec happens to provide exceptions to waiting period of health insurance for immigrants suffering from tuberculosis.
Waiting period of three months before getting access to public health insurance benefits is for new immigrants as well as returning residents. This is meant to enable Canadian province confirm the eligibility of the newcomer before providing health insurance.