One of the first things that a newly-arrived immigrant does when he/she arrives in Manitoba is to apply for Manitoba Health card. Having a “health card” is very important as it your ticket to access Manitoba’s health services and programs.
Here are the important things that you should know about your Manitoba Health coverage.
An individual must be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident or must be work/study permit holders to be eligible for health coverage. To continuously be eligible, the person must be physically present in Manitoba for six (6) months or 183 days each year. For newcomers, the coverage begins on the first day of the third month after his/her arrival in Manitoba.
The person eligible for Manitoba Health coverage is provided with Manitoba Health card, which is a paper card that is issued as a registration certificate. The name of the person and his/her eligible dependents, their date of birth and coverage effective date will be listed on the certificate. Each family will have one assigned registration number, while each individual listed in the certificate will have their assigned personal health number. It is not transferrable, which means that it cannot be used by anybody whose name is not recorded on the certificate. It is advisable to carry your health card and it is must be presented whenever the person covered or his/her dependants require health services. Should there be a life style change such as marriage, birth, adoption, death, divorce or legal separation and change in address, it is important to report these changes to Manitoba Health either in person or by phone.
As of this time, there is no cost for this health coverage. Since it is publicly-funded, a person eligible for this benefit do not have to pay for necessary medical and hospital services. The health coverage allows the eligible individual his/her dependants to see a doctor, get a prescription, visit a hospital emergency room or use most health services. However, services such as private nursing, routine eye exams for persons 19 and older but under 65 years old, and dental care (except certain dental procedures that require hospitalization) are not covered. A person can always supplement his MB health coverage with additional health insurance from private insurance companies. There are also employers who offers health insurance as part of employees’ benefits.
A person eligible for the Manitoba health coverage whose prescriptions are not covered by other provincial or federal programs, or a private drug insurance program can apply for Pharmcare. Pharmacare is a drug benefit program for eligible Manitobans, regardless of disease or age, whose income is affected by high prescription drug costs. This program is income based which means a deductible is calculated based on the total adjusted family income. Once the yearly deductible has been reached through the purchase of eligible prescriptions drugs at a pharmacy, Pharmcare will bay 100% of eligible prescriptions costs for the remainder of the benefit year. Pharmcare benefit year is April 1 to March 31 of the following year. To be eligible for this benefit, the person must submit an application for this program on or before March 31 of the current benefit year. (Visit Manitoba Pharmcare Program page further information.)
The Manitoba Health Services Insurance Plan is financed from general revenues of the Province of Manitoba and with funds provided by the Government of Canada. All statements are subject to the provisions of The Health Services Insurance Act and Regulations.
Recently, the news about Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister announced that the government may be faced with a choice of imposing health care premiums. Accordingly, this is in relation to the announcement that Ottawa is scaling back the growth rate of health transfer in 2018. This means that Manitoba will receive approximately $2B less than the province is expecting from the federal government over the next decade. Here is some information regarding the health premium:
- What is Health premiums – Health premiums are “tax” in one word. As Premier Pallister announced in the news conference held on September 13, health premiums are certainly a tax increase and any money made from tax will go directly to the healthcare system.
- Provinces that pay health premiums – Right now British Columbia and Ontario residents are paying health care premiums.
- Calculation of health premiums – The rate of the health premium can be based on annual income. In. B.C. residents pay monthly premiums based on annual income, annual incomes below $24,000 are exempt from paying health premiums.
- Cost of health premium – In BC, the average premium cost per person is $936 per year, while a family with two or more members can expect to pay as high as $1,872 annually. In Ontario. the premium ranges up to $900 if the resident’s taxable income is more than $20,000.
- How the premiums are collected – In B.C. A monthly invoice indicating how much they owe are mailed to the residents. They pay their Medical Services Plan premium monthly through their bank, via their credit card, in the mail or in person. In Ontario, the premium is deducted from pay and pensions as part of income tax. The premier said that in Manitoba the premiums will be paid when Manitobans file their income tax (similar to Ontario)
Health, Seniors and Active Living, gov.mb.ca, retrieved September 14, 2017
‘It’s most certainly a tax increase’: Manitoba premier considering health-care premiums, globalnews.ca, retrieved September 15, 2017