An in Depth Guide to the Manitoba Health Plan & Health Card

Read on to learn more about the provincial government health plan (Manitoba Health Plan), the eligibility requirements, ways to obtain a health card, and more. If you are a permanent resident of Manitoba, you should know how to take advantage of Manitoba’s healthcare benefits.

    The Manitoba Health Plan, or MHSIP (Manitoba Health, Seniors, and Active Living Insurance Plan) is a provincial health plan that supplies all Manitoba residents with free, fundamental medical benefits. Alongside Pharmacare (the provincial drug benefits program). These health care benefits are available to all permanent residents, which includes those who spend a minimum of 6 months per year in the province.

    Free Healthcare Coverage in Manitoba

    Manitoba Seniors Walking With Nurse in Hospital

    If you are a Canadian citizen, permanent resident, work permit holder, or have physically resided in Manitoba for six months, then you are eligible for free healthcare coverage. It allows your dependents and you to see a doctor, visit a hospital emergency room, get a prescription, or use many other health services. As for dental care, routine eye exams (for people older than 19 but younger than 65), and private nursing, you and your dependents are not insured.

    Manitoba free health care coverage can be supplemented by purchasing additional health insurance from private insurance companies.

    Pharmacare and Manitoba Health and Seniors Care

    What Does Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living Cover?

    The Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living program is designed to supply all the Manitoba residents with fundamental and free medical benefits. Once you are registered and obtain a Manitoba Health Plan card, your coverage provides:

    • General physician services
    • Essential nursing care
    • Surgeries (including anesthesia and surgical equipment use)
    • Standard hospital accommodation and meals
    • Drugs prescribed and administered in-hospital
    • Diagnostic services authorized by a physician

    However, you will not be covered by Manitoba Health for a great number of important and valuable medical services, such as:

    • Emergency medical travel protection and ambulance services (e.g., emergency medical dispatch, response, medical care, transport, as well as inter-facility transportation - land ambulance, stretcher service, critical care air transport, and basic air ambulance)
    • Prescription medication
    • Registered specialist care
    • Prescription eyewear
    • Upgraded hospital rooms and amenities

    What does Pharmacare Cover?

    Pharmacare is a drug benefit program for people whose income is affected by the high costs of prescription drugs. Those Manitoba residents who don’t have access to prescription drug coverage through individual insurance plans, union, or work turn to Pharmacare coverage. It’s based on a family’s total income and the amount they pay for eligible prescription medications. It is adjusted to include a spouse and the number of dependents with the deductible based on your family’s adjusted income.

    The criteria one must meet in order to qualify for the Manitoba Pharmacare program:

    • The prescriptions aren’t covered by other federal or provincial programs.
    • You meet the eligibility criteria for Manitoba Health and Seniors Care coverage.

    What does Student Care Cover?

    Those that are automatically covered by the Enhanced Care UMSU Health & Dental Plan are undergraduate students who are UMSU (University of Manitoba Students' Union) members and registered for a minimum of 6 credit hours in the Fall Term. Also, the program covers:

    • New Winter Term Undergraduate students (UMSU members, registered in at least 1 on-campus cours) and registered for a minimum of 9 credit hours in the Winter Term.
    • Full-time graduate students who are UMGSA (University of Manitoba Graduate Students' Association) members.

    UMSU offers students the option to choose between two levels of healthcare coverage at different costs – the basic and enhanced plan. The Basic Plan provides lower coverage at a cost of $245 for a full year coverage), while the Enhanced Plan offers higher coverage at a cost of $345 for a full year coverage.

    With this coverage, Manitoba students get financial support to cover:

    • Health – prescription medications and vaccinations, services of a psychotherapist, counselor, and clinical psychologist, chiropractors, massage therapists, naturopaths, orthotics, and acupuncturists.
    • Vision – eye exam, eyeglasses and contact lenses.
    • Dental – basic services (polishing, recall exams), annual maximum, endodontics, etc.
    • Travel health coverage

    Registering for Manitoba Health and Seniors Coverage

    If you are eligible for Manitoba Health and Seniors coverage, it will initiate on the first day of the third month after your arrival in the province. For example, if you arrive on February 15th, February will count as the first month, with March and April as the following two. In your case, your coverage will begin May 1st.

    When registering, you will need to provide:

    • Provide your previous territory’s/province’s health card number.
    • Fill out a Manitoba Health Registration Form
    • Provide a copy of Canadian Passport, Canadian Citizenship Card, Permanent Resident Confirmation (both sides), Canadian Birth Certificate, or Certificate of Indian status as a valid proof of legal status in Canada.

    Furthermore, you are required to provide proof of residence in Manitoba – 183 days (6 months) in a calendar year.

    Applying for Manitoba Health Card

    manitoba health card sample

    The Manitoba Health Plan Card is a paper card issued as a registration certificate. Whenever you or your dependents require health services, you must have it by your side to present it. Your health card registration is affected by change in family status, address, marriage, new address, birth, death, adoption, legal separation or divorce should be reported to the nearest Insured Benefits Branch or Manitoba Health (via phone), and your new health card will be sent to you.

    How to Apply in Person for a Manitoba Health Card

    In order to apply in person for a Manitoba Health Plan Card, you need to visit the Registration and Client Services Office located at 300 Carlton St., Winnipeg. Registration can also be done via main, fax, and email.

    You can obtain your registration forms here.

    The Manitoba Health and Seniors Care Registration and Client services department processes requests by email, fax, and mail related to both new health cards and corrections to immunization records.

    In-Person Registration and COVID
    The in-person Registration and Client Services Office at 300 Carlton St., Winnipeg will be temporarily closed to the public to support social distancing efforts.

    Other locations where you can register for a Manitoba Health Plan card are:

    Bilingual Service Centre. Main floor, 170 Goulet St., Winnipeg MB. In person services are also temporarily suspended at this location.

    Rural areas: Contact the municipal or city office in your area or visit the nearest Bilingual Service Centre::

    • 51 Rogers St, Notre-Dame-de-Lourdes MB.
    • Unit A, 30 Dawson Rd, Ste Anne MB.
    • Recreational Centre on Hwy 6, St. Laurent MB.
    • 427 Sabourin St, St-Pierre-Jolys MB.

    How to Apply Online for a Manitoba Health Card

    To apply online for a Manitoba Health Plan Card, you need to fill out this form with necessary information, such as personal information, residence and citizenship/immigration information, etc. After you complete and sign the application, send it along with supporting documents to Unsigned or incomplete forms will not be processed.

    Renewing or Replacing Your Manitoba Health Card

    Once obtained, your Manitoba Health card is valid throughout the next five years. Renewing or replacing your health card (in case it gets damaged, stolen, or lost) is important because you need to carry a valid card with you whenever you or your dependents require medical services. A Manitoba Health Plan card cannot be used by others whose name is not recorded on it.

    Renewing Your Health Card

    After five years, your Manitoba Health card ceases to be valid. In order to renew it, you need to:

    • Apply online using the eNotice of Change form.
    • Contact the Insured Benefits Branch.

    Replacing Your Health Card

    A valid Health Card can be replaced if lost, damaged or destroyed. You will also need to replace in case of any significant changes in your personal information or marital status.

    To replace your Health Card:

    • Contact the Insured Benefits Branch, or
    • Fill in the eNotice of Change.

    Changing Your Address on Your Health Card

    When filling out the eNotice of Change, tick the box “Change of Address.” Provide the new address in the next section and submit the form.

    Manitoba Health and Seniors Care Coverage

    The Manitoba Health Plan, Seniors and Active Living program is Manitoba’s provincial health plan, while Pharmacare is the provincial drug benefits program. All permanent residents of Manitoba (residing in the province for at least 6 months a year) have access to these benefits.

    dentist instruments


    When it comes to dental benefits, the coverage doesn’t include routine or major services, such as cleanings, extractions, fillings, periodontics, endodontics, dentures, bridges, crowns, etc.

    There is no coverage for treatment of accidental injury to teeth.

    There is no coverage for dental surgeon services, for any specific dental procedures performed in the hospital.

    When hospitalization is required, Manitoba Health Plan and Seniors Care will insure certain dental procedures.

    bottles of medications

    Prescription Drugs

    The Pharmacare program provides coverage for drugs that are listed on the Manitoba drug formulary.

    The Pharmacare program provides coverage based on prescription drug cost and your household income. In other words, you pay an annual deductible based on your income, a dispensing fee, and the rest is paid for by the program.

    men visiting doctor office

    Extended Health Care

    Manitoba’s Extended Health Care is designed to provide financial help for medical expenses that aren’t covered by Manitoba Health. These benefits include:

    • Assisted care
    • Home nursing
    • Ambulance services
    • Semi-private hospital room
    • Prescription drug coverage
    • Paramedical services
    • Coverage for eye exams and glasses

    Manitoba Extended Health Benefits Plan

    The Manitoba Extended Health Benefits Plan covers a wide range of health and medical services to protect you and your dependents. Those eligible for the Extended Health Plan are full-time and part-time employees (regular, term, or departmental).

    You must register according to your true family status, listing all eligible dependents. Once you enroll in the program, you are not permitted to opt out while still employed. The Extended Health Benefits will pay for 80% of eligible health care services, including:

    • Accidental dental treatment
    • Athletic therapy
    • Audiology
    • Cardiac rehabilitation
    • Chiropractic
    • Clinical psychology
    • Foot care
    • Foot orthotics
    • Hearing aids
    • Massage therapy
    • Medical appliances
    • Naturopath
    • Nutrition counseling
    • Orthopedic shoes and modifications to orthopedic shoes
    • Osteopath
    • Physiotherapy
    • Prosthetic and remedial equipment
    • Private duty nursing
    • Speech therapy
    • Travel protection
    • Wigs

    Travel, and Out of Province Coverage

    When you travel outside of Canada, you are responsible for some of the costs of emergency medical or hospital care. Buying health insurance before your departure is always a good idea. Healthcare services in other countries can be more expensive than in Manitoba. Manitoba Health and Seniors Care will pay for the medical services you need in case you get admitted to a hospital outside of Canada on an emergency basis.

    If you’re seen in a hospital emergency or outpatient department, your coverage is limited to $100 CDN, while physician services are covered by Manitoba Health at the rates paid to Manitoba doctors.

    As for Out of Province Coverage, when visiting another Canadian province and require medical or hospital care, you can show your Manitoba Health card and your medical needs will be covered by Manitoba Health. 

    Out-of-Province Transportation Subsidy Program

    Manitoba residents may be eligible for help with the transportation costs in relation to accessing medical care outside of the province. You can ask your treating Manitoba specialist to apply for a transportation subsidy on your behalf if your specialist has referred you outside of the province for medical care. 

    The eligibility criteria:

    • You must be referred out-of-province by a specialist for insured care and treatment that can’t be provided in Manitoba, and in the case of an out-of-country referral treatment that can’t be provided in Canada.
    • To demonstrate what investigations or services are medically necessary and why they aren’t available in Manitoba (or Canada, in the case of out-of-country referrals), your treating Manitoba specialist should provide evidence.
    • It must be demonstrated that the requested medical service is not being performed on a trial basis, of emerging technology, and not experimental.
    • Prior to the treatment occurring, approval needs to be granted for medical services requested outside of Canada.

    In case of an emergency, you may be eligible to require air ambulance services thanks to the information supplied by your referring specialist. If you require such services, you will not be charged for the cost of air ambulance transportation.

    ophthalmology. slit lamp exam

    Vision Care

    The Vision Care Plan is beneficial because it provides you with reimbursement for certain services for eligible employees and their eligible dependents. If you or your spouse are older than 65, Manitoba Health program provides you with a limited vision care benefit. Before you will be reimbursed, you must apply for the government benefit.

    Vision Care Plan Eligibility

    Full-time Employees

    • Regular employees upon completion of 6 months of calendar service from the date of employment.
    • Term employees upon completion of 12 months of calendar service from the date of employment.
    • Departmental employees upon completion of 12 months of calendar service within a period of 36 consecutive months. 

    Part-time Employees

    • Regular employees upon completion of 6 months of calendar service from the date of employment.
    • Term employees upon completion of 12 months of calendar service from the date of employment.

    If eligible, the Vision Care Plan will cover your expenses as follows:

    • Full time employees - 80% for eligible vision care expenses
    • Part-time employees - 80% for eligible vision care expenses
    high school students and teacher.

    Students & Seniors

    Both domestic and international students have coverage with Enhanced Care UMSU Health & Dental Plan and Manitoba International Student Health Plan (respectively). 

    The Home Care program is designed to provide long-term health care services to the seniors. There is also the Long Term & Continuing Care Association of Manitoba (LTCAM), which is a membership-based, non-profit organization that has been a valued partner and advisor in the promotion of long-term care for seniors in Manitoba. 

    To be eligible for home care services, you must be a Manitoba resident, require assistance with daily activities, require services to stay in the home or establishment as long as possible, and require more help than what is available from potential or existing support. If eligible, your case will be assessed and the regional health authorities will determine whether you should receive it in house or in an establishment. 

    According to your assessed care needs, you may be eligible for home care services such as:

    • Health care (nursing care, home nutrition, physiotherapy, home oxygen concentrator, home dialysis, home ostomy, home IV therapy, and referral to other services)
    • Personal care/mobility
    • Respite care in the home
    • Respite care in another setting
    • Supplies and equipment needed for your care
    • Adult day programs
    • Enhanced support options

    Who is covered by the Manitoba International Student Health Plan (MISHP)?

    International students in Manitoba are required to have primary health coverage. Each student will be covered by the MISHP. This includes English Language Centre program students, degree-seeking students, and students in Extended Education certificate programs.

    This health program will cover foreign students for eligible medical services that may be difficult to afford outside their native country. These may include visits to the doctor, hospital stays, x-rays, etc. You can purchase family coverage within 30 days from the start of your academic term, and the cost of this coverage is in addition to your MISHP fee.

    International students who graduate will have their health coverage extended for 4 months after their final term. Freshmen students have emergency-only health coverage for 1 month before the first term.

    The cost of MISHP is assessed each term during registration with your tuition fees for a total of $996 per year.

    Manitoba Health Plan Eligibility and Common Procedures

    There is much confusion regarding this provincial government health plan and the extent of the coverage. Let’s take a look at this breakdown of common procedures and coverage eligibility.

    List of Eligibility Requirements

    • Be a Canadian citizen or;
    • Have Immigration status as outlined in The Health Services Insurance Act:
      • Permanent residents
      • Work Permit holders and their spouse/dependants (permit validity periods apply)
    • Establish a permanent residence in Manitoba, and
    • Reside (physically) in Manitoba six months in a calendar year

    The following are not eligible for coverage:

    • Tourists
    • Transients
    • Visitors
    • Domestic students temporarily absent from other provinces and territories in Canada to attend educational institutions in Manitoba

    What Isn’t Covered by Manitoba Health Plan and Seniors Care

    X-Rays and Exams In approved facilities when ordered by a physician
    Wisdom teeth No
    Eye Exams One exam every two years for those between 19 and 64 years of age. Medically necessary eye exams are covered regardless of age.
    Glasses No
    Laser Eye Surgery No
    Rhinoplasty Yes, if it’s recommended by a doctor for medical reasons
    Breast Reduction Yes, if it’s recommended by a doctor for medical reasons
    Hospital stays Yes
    Ambulance transportation If medically necessary
    Giving birth Yes
    Sexual Health
    Gynecologist Yes
    Erectile Dysfunction No
    Birth Control (including IUD) Yes
    Fertility Treatment Yes
    Dermatologist Yes
    Physiotherapy Yes
    Massage Therapy No
    Podiatrist and Foot Care No
    Allergist and Allergy Testing Yes
    Sleep Physician and CPAP Machines Yes

    Extending Manitoba Health Plan Coverage

    Private health insurance can help extend your coverage. Private insurance can cover the costs of prescription drugs, dental procedures, glasses, and more.
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