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Friday, September 9, 2011

Do You Have to be a Citizen of Canada to Receive Public Health Benefits?

“Do you have to be a citizen of Canada to receive health benefits or can you just be a resident?” The Newton Falls Public Library staff knows that many individuals are unable to afford health insurance. We are sure that many people will find the answer to this question to be interesting.

Searching online, we typed in the question: “Do you need to be a Canadian citizen to have health care?” Eliminating the websites which discussed the pros and cons of socialized medicine, we found the site for Citizenship and Immigration Canada. The page Live in Canada links to About being a permanent resident of Canada. Permanent residents and their dependents are able to receive most of the social benefits that Canadian citizens receive, including health care coverage. There is also information about immigrating and applying for permanent status. If our patron would choose to move there, they would have to live in Canada for at least two years within a five-year period to keep their status as a permanent resident.

The public health insurance in Canada is paid for through taxes. It is different in each province and territory and, depending on your coverage you may also require temporary private health insurance. This will also be necessary while waiting on your permanent resident status to be approved. “You must buy this private insurance within five days of arriving in your province or territory or insurance companies may not provide coverage for you. Refugee claimants who cannot afford private health insurance and refugee claimants living in provinces that have a three-month waiting period can receive emergency and essential health services at no cost”. Some of the public plans do not cover dental expenses, private hospital rooms, prescription drugs, ambulance services and prescription eyeglasses.

We were surprised to find that the Canadian health care system seems to be a combination of public and private coverage. 

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