A Guide to Saskatchewan Health Plan and Health Card

Read on to learn more about current Saskatchewan health plans, the eligibility requirements, ways to obtain a health care card, and more. If you are a permanent resident of Saskatchewan, you should know how to take advantage of Saskatchewan’s healthcare benefits.

    In 1947, Saskatchewan was the first Canadian province to introduce a universal, province-wide hospital care plan. In 1962, they introduced universal medical insurance in order to provide medical services to all Saskatchewan residents. The federal government followed their steps and introduced the Medical Care Act (1966) which offered to reimburse a half of territorial and provincial costs for medical services provided by medical workers outside hospitals. All provinces had universal physician services insurance plans within 6 years.

    The Canadian healthcare system has a reputation of being world class, and one of the greatest benefits for Canadians (as well as newcomers moving to Canada) is access to publicly funded healthcare.

    Free Healthcare Coverage in Saskatchewan

    To qualify for Saskatchewan healthcare coverage, you must be a Saskatchewan resident and reside in Saskatchewan for at least 6 months per year. To be eligible, you must register with eHealth Saskatchewan and your health coverage starts when your application has been approved.

    To receive free healthcare coverage in the province, you will need to apply for the provincial Health Card. With this Health Card, you will receive coverage for various community and medical services. To make the best use of the Saskatchewan health system, you need to know what is covered and what is available. Furthermore, this will help you make better informed choices when it comes to purchasing supplemental insurance for yourself and your family.

    Saskatchewan Health Plan

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    What Does Saskatchewan Health Plan Cover?

    The Ministry of Health covers most medically necessary hospital and physician services (under the Saskatchewan Medical Care Insurance Act) as long as they’re provided in the publicly-funded healthcare system.

    The following are the medical services that are fully covered through your Saskatchewan Health Card:

    • Visits to a family doctor or physician and medical examinations
    • Diagnostic procedures and laboratory services
    • Occupational therapy and physiotherapy
    • Mammogram screening for women between 50 and 69 years of age
    • Mental health services
    • Medically necessary dental surgery
    • Home care services, including case assessment and home nursing
    • Medical services through institutions that have a contract with the Saskatchewan Health Authority
    • Problem gambling services and services for treating alcohol and drug abuse problems
    • Influenza vaccine for all residents 6 months and older and immunizations for children
    • AIDS testing and treatment of STIs

    Medical services that are partially covered by your Saskatchewan Health Card include:

    • Air ambulance (ordered by a medical practitioner)
    • Ambulance for seniors (up to $275)
    • Chiropodist and podiatry services
    • Optometric services for residents who have eye trauma or diabetes and children aged 17 and under

    The Saskatchewan Health Plan doesn’t cover:

    • Routine dental services
    • Air ambulance (unless necessary for urgent medical treatment)
    • Prescription drugs
    • Eyeglasses
    • Medical examinations for employment or insurance
    • Psychologist
    • Ground ambulance (except for senior residents)
    • Naturopaths, massage therapy, acupuncture, and other paramedical or complementary services

    What does Saskatchewan Seniors Drug Program Cover?

    Saskatchewan’s Senior Drug Program is for residents 65 years of age and older and it ensures that they pay $25 per prescription for drugs that are approved under Exception Drug Status or listed in the Saskatchewan Formulary. 

    The plan doesn’t include senior residents covered under the federal Non-Insured Health Benefits Program, Veterans Affairs Canada, or other federal government program.

    What does Student Care Cover?

    The Student Care plan covers various services that are not covered by the provincial healthcare plan. To be eligible to make health claims, you must have Canadian provincial healthcare or equivalent coverage. The Saskatchewan Student Care covers the following services:
    • Prescription drugs
    • Hospitalization, home care, and tutorial service
    • Health practitioner
    • Accidents and emergencies
    • Medical equipment
    • Vision coverage
    • Travel coverage
    • Eligible medications
    • Diagnostic services
    • Vaccinations
    • Dental coverage (partially covered)

    Registering for Saskatchewan Provincial Health Plan

    To be eligible for benefits, you must be registered with the Saskatchewan Ministry of Health. Once registered, Health Registries will issue a Health Card to you and each one of your family members once your applications have been approved.

    If you are a newcomer to the Saskatchewan province, you’re required to register for the provincial health plan. Your health coverage begins on the first day of the third month following the date of your established Saskatchewan residence. In other words, if you establish residency on April 16, your coverage would begin on July 1.

    The provincial Ministry of Health also covers health services for special classes of newcomers. As a newcomer from outside Canada, you may be eligible for health benefits from the day you arrive to Saskatchewan if you are a:

    • permanent resident (landed immigrant)
    • non-immigrant who is in Canada in connection with your profession or trade
    • discharged member of the Canadian forces
    • returning spouse of Canadian Forces member
    • returning resident
    • returning Canadian citizen
    • international student

    To register for a Health Card, you should get an application form available from the administrators of offices of Health Registries, rural municipalities, villages, and towns. You can also get the application form by visiting www.ehealthsask.ca/healthregistries.

    Health Registries will require information about dependents or children remaining in another Canadian territory or province and intending to move to Saskatchewan upon completion of the current school year. If you are 18 years of age (or older) and single, you must register separately.

    Applying for a Saskatchewan Health Card

    saskatchewan health card

    The Saskatchewan Health Services card is a personal identification card. Whenever you need health services, you should be prepared to present it.

    If you are eligible to apply for a Health Services card, you should gather all the necessary documentation to accompany your application, and start your application.

    How to Apply in Person

    To apply for a Saskatchewan Health Services card in person, you need to:

    • Print your Health Card application form, fill it out, and attach the supporting documents.
    • The Saskatchewan Health Services Card Application form is available in the eHealth Saskatchewan Health Registries office.
    • Drop the documents to eHealth Saskatchewan Health Registries, 2130 – 11th Avenue, Regina, SK S4P 0J5.

    How to Apply Online

    All eligible individuals can visit the online application portal to fill out an application form and submit the supporting documentation online. Before you can complete the online process, you will need to set up your account first.

    In case you can’t find your way around the online application portal, you can print out your application form and fax it or mail it along with the photocopies of supporting documentation to eHealth Saskatchewan Health Registries, 2130 – 11th Avenue, Regina, SK S4P 0J5. Fax: 306-787-8951

    It usually takes 4-6 weeks for the health card application to be processed.

    Forms and Documentation Required

    Besides the application form, you will need to provide the supporting documentation when applying for Saskatchewan Health Services card. This documentation includes:

    • Proof of legal entitlement to reside in Canada (e.g., work permit, study permit, Canadian Immigration ID card, Landed Immigration document, front and back of Permanent Resident Card, Canadian birth certificate or passport);
    • Supplementary identification (e.g., birth certificate, employee ID card, student ID card, immunization record, passport, Saskatchewan driver’s license or temporary license)

    As for your dependents, each of them will have to provide:

    • Identification
    • Proof of legal entitlement to reside in Canada

    Renewing or Replacing Your Saskatchewan Health Card

    Renewing Your Health Card

    Your Saskatchewan Health Card is renewed by placing a renewal sticker that is sent to you by the Health Registries. Health card renewal packages are sent by mail and contain updated stickers that renew your health card for the next three years. Once you receive your package, you need to update your health card with the new sticker. In case you have not received your renewal package, you should contact eHealth Saskatchewan to request additional stickers: Call: 1-800-667-7551 (available Monday through Friday from 8 AM to 5 PM) Email: Change@eHealthSask.ca The most common reason for not receiving Health Card renewal stickers is because people have relocated and forgot to update their address.

    Replacing Your Health Card

    If your Health Card has been damaged, stolen or lost, you should replace it because you need to have a valid Health Card to ensure health care coverage. There are two ways for replacing your Health Card:

    Health Registries
    2130 11th Avenue
    Regina SK S4P 0J5
    Saskatchewan Health Card Phone Number

    Toll free: 1-800-667-7551 (Canada and US)
    Phone: 306-787-3251 (Regina area)
    Email: change@ehealthsask.ca

    Changing the Address on Your Card

    In case your personal and family info has changed sometimes during the past three years, you are responsible for updating that information with eHealth Saskatchewan. This way, you ensure to receive your health card renewal package in the mail (along with the right number of renewal stickers).

    You need to contact Health Registries immediately in case any of the information below is incorrect or changes:

    • Change of name
    • Incorrect spelling of name(s)
    • Incorrect date of birth
    • Births or deaths
    • Changes to marital status
    • Absence from Saskatchewan or extended vacation lasting three months or more
    • Family member attending school out-of-province
    • Other changes to family status

    You can update your Health Card information via online service or by completing the right forms and emailing/mailing them to eHealth Saskatchewan. Choose the correct form based on the information you need to update:

    Saskatchewan Health Plan Coverage Details

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    All permanent residents of Saskatchewan (residing in the province for at least 6 months a year) have access to provincial health coverage. Keep reading to find out more about what’s covered and what isn’t covered by the health plan, as well as about extended health care, drug plan, coverage for those travelling in and out of Canada.

    Dental

    When it comes to dental benefits, the Ministry of Health doesn’t cover routine dental services. However, it does cover the following services:
    • Limited orthodontic services for cleft palate (when referred by a dentist or physician).
    • Dental implants are covered only when no other method of treatment is appropriate and a specialist in oral maxillofacial surgery will need to submit a written request to the Ministry of Health for prior-approval. Dental coverage is limited to medical circumstances related to congenital defects and tumors.
    • Limited oral surgery procedures required to treat conditions caused by congenital problems, infection, or accidents.
    • Extractions of teeth in certain situations (e.g., when medically required prior to undertaking surgical procedures related to the head or neck cancer, chronic renal disease, total joint replacement, heart, etc.

    Dental Costs with Saskatchewan Health Plan

    Saskatchewan Health Plan will cover or partially cover certain dental procedures. Otherwise, you will need to supplement your health plan with additional dental insurance.

    Prescription Drugs

    Residents of Saskatchewan with a valid provincial health coverage may be eligible for drug plan benefits. Cost of your prescription drugs vary according to the type of benefits you receive. The Saskatchewan Drug Plan was established to:

    • Reduce the cost of drug materials
    • Reduce the cost of prescription drugs to provincial residents
    • Encourage the rational use of prescription medication
    • Provide coverage to provincial residents for quality medication of proven therapeutic effectiveness

    Saskatchewan has also established other prescription drug coverage programs, such as the Children's Drug Plan, Seniors' Drug Plan, Palliative Care Drug Coverage, and the Drug Cost Assistance program.

    Prescription Drug costs with Seniors’ Drug Program

    Senior Saskatchewan residents who are 65 years of age (and older) with a reported income that is less than the Provincial Age Tax Credit may be eligible for the Seniors’ Drug Plan. For obtaining pharmaceutical drugs approved under Exception Drug Status or listed in the Saskatchewan Formulary, the program ensures that seniors pay only $25 per prescription.

    Seniors with SIP (Seniors’ Income Plan) or GIS (Guaranteed Income Supplement) will continue to have a $100 or $200 semiannual deductible after which they pay only 35% for drug prescriptions. With these supplements, seniors will pay $25 or the lesser of the 35% co-payment.

    Extended Health Care

    Besides the specialty drug plans, the Saskatchewan provincial health plan also provides extended benefits for eligible residents. The Extended Benefits and Drug Plan includes:

    • Exception Drug Status - coverage for specific prescription drugs.
    • Seniors Drug Plan - residents aged 65 years or older only pay up to $25 for prescription drugs.
    • Children’s Drug Plan - maximum of $25 for prescription drugs for children aged 14 and under.
    • Palliative Care Drug Coverage - prescription drug coverage for patients in the late stages of a terminal illness.
    • Emergency Assistance for Prescription Drugs - provides one-time emergency assistance in case a resident can’t afford necessary prescription drugs.
    • High Drug Cost Assistance - assistance with high drug costs in relation to your income.
    • Family Health Benefits - health benefits for low-income families who have a low family income, are on Saskatchewan Rental Housing Supplement, or are on Saskatchewan Employment Supplement.
    • Seniors Income Plan (SIP) - financial assistance to senior provincial residents aged 65 and older to help them meet their basic needs.
    • Guaranteed Income Supplement for Seniors - a monthly benefit for residents with low come who are receiving Old Age Security.
    • Supplementary Health Benefits - assistance for non-insured benefits to residents who are enrolled in one of the income support programs, are inmates of correctional institutions, and government wards.
    • Saskatchewan Insulin Pump Program - financial help for residents younger than 26 who have Type 1 diabetes and require an insulin pump.
    • Saskatchewan Aids to Independent Living (SAIL) program - financial help for provincial residents with physical disabilities.

    Travelling within Canada

    Saskatchewan residents who require medical assistance while travelling within Canada will have an easy time receiving it without having to spend a fortune. Just make sure to have your provincial health card with you at all times while travelling.

    All territories and provinces (except Quebec) signed the Interprovincial Billing Agreement. Under this agreement, the host province agrees to cover the cost of medically necessary services which the Saskatchewan province will reimburse.

    However, there are certain additional services that won’t be covered. These include hospital transfer, ambulance, and transportation back to Saskatchewan. In case you have private insurance coverage, contact your insurance company to determine if you have coverage for these additional services through your plan. In case you fall ill while in Quebec, you will most likely be charged up front for any medical assistance you receive there. However, you can submit a reimbursement claim to Saskatchewan Ministry of Health once you get home.

    Travelling Outside of Canada

    When it comes to health coverage outside of Canada, the costs for medical services may be much higher. You are responsible for paying the difference between the amount charged and the amount your provincial health plan covers. When travelling outside the country, it is highly recommended that you purchase additional health insurance.

    Students & Seniors

    Students enrolled at the University of Saskatchewan receive provincial health coverage that cover medical services such as:

    • Prescription drugs (covers eligible drug costs up to 80%)
    • Hospitalization, home care, and tutorial service
    • Health practitioner services (psychologists, osteopaths, registered dietitians, massage therapists, chiropractors, chiropodists, podiatrists, physiotherapists, speech therapists, athletic therapists, and naturopaths
    • Accidents and emergencies (costs of travel accidents, dental accidents, ambulance, and accidental dismemberment and death)
    • Medical equipment (hospital-type bed, wheelchair rental, crutches, permanent prosthesis, hearing aids, orthopedic shoes, orthotics, and rigid and semi-rigid braces)
    • Vision coverage (eyeglasses, contact lenses, eye exam, and laser surgery)
    • Travel coverage
    • Eligible medications
    • Diagnostic services (lab tests performed in a commercial lab for diagnosing an illness)
    • Vaccinations (completely covered with the Student Care Plan, up to $150 per policy year)

    Common Procedures and Saskatchewan Health Plan Eligibility

    There is much confusion regarding the Saskatchewan Health Plan and the extent of the coverage. The following are common procedures that aren’t covered by the Saskatchewan Health Plan.

    What Is and Isn't Covered Under the Saskatchewan Health Plan

    Dental
    X-Rays and Exams In approved facilities when ordered by a physician
    Wisdom teeth No
    Vision
    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
    Surgery
    Rhinoplasty Yes, if recommended by a doctor for medical reasons
    Breast reduction Yes, if recommended by a doctor for medical reasons
    Hospital
    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
    Specialists
    Dermatologist Yes
    Physiotherapy Yes
    Massage therapy No
    Podiatrist and foot care No
    Allergist and allergy testing Yes
    Sleep physician and CPAP machines Yes

    Extending Saskatchewan Health Plan Coverage

    Saskatchewan provincial health coverage grants its residents access to various fundamental medical services at no cost. However, the provincial health plan requires co-payment for specific services, such as dental care, home care, hearing health care, prescription drugs, optometrist exams, etc.

    Although the provincial plan provides coverage for essential medical benefits, there is still a lot of ground left uncovered. The Insurdinary health insurance plan will provide coverage for various medical emergencies and everyday health needs. Our supplemental health insurance plan is there to fill the gaps that are left by the provincial health plan.

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    Sources and references:

    • https://www.saskatchewan.ca/residents/health/prescription-drug-plans-and-health-coverage/health-benefits-coverage
    • https://www.saskatchewan.ca/residents/health/prescription-drug-plans-and-health-coverage/health-benefits-coverage/fully-covered-services
    • https://www.saskatchewan.ca/residents/health
    • https://www.saskatchewan.ca/residents/health/prescription-drug-plans-and-health-coverage
    • https://www.ehealthsask.ca/residents/health-cards/Pages/Eligibility-for-Health-Benefits.aspx
    • https://www.ehealthsask.ca/residents/health-cards/Pages/Apply-for-a-Health-Card.aspx
    • https://www.ehealthsask.ca/residents/health-cards/Pages/Update-or-Replace-a-Health-Card.aspx
    • https://www.saif-sk.ca/uploads/media/5ec4fc04e066b/104987-104987-its-for-your-benefit-jan2018.pdf
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