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Know Your Coverage: A Guide to Manitoba Health Insurance

on 21 Nov, 2018

The population of Manitoba is growing faster than the Canadian average. According to Statistics Canada, the province has seen 5.8 percent population growth in recent years.

One of the factors in this growth rate has been the migration to the province. Newcomers to Canada are choosing to settle in Manitoba. Canadians from other provinces see job opportunities and other benefits.

Whether you’re a newcomer to Manitoba or a longtime resident, you need to know your Manitoba health care coverage. When you’re sick, you want to know where to turn and what coverage you have.

This guide will walk you through Manitoba health insurance, including what’s covered. We’ll also go over how to make sure you have access to the health services you need when you need them.

What’s Covered Under Manitoba Health Insurance?

Like other provinces in Canada, Manitoba health care is publicly funded. Residents of Manitoba have health care coverage for a variety of health services. Taxes fund the health care system.

Covered services include:

  • visits to your family doctor or other specialists
  • trips to the hospital emergency room
  • some prescriptions
  • most in-patient hospital services
  • some personal home care services, such as basic nursing and daily living assistance

The list of covered services is quite lengthy. This means Manitobans have access to many of the health care services they need to live their best lives.

What Isn’t Covered?

Manitoba health coverage isn’t comprehensive and doesn’t cover every health service. There are many procedures and services you’ll need to pay for out of pocket. Even if you’re eligible for Manitoba health care coverage, you’ll need to pay for:

  • most dental services
  • visits to the optometrist for people aged 19 to 64
  • ambulance transportation costs
  • psychologists, dietitians, chiropodists, and podiatrists
  • non-medically necessary procedures, such as cosmetic surgery

There are exceptions to the rules. For example, the provincial health care system covers dental procedures performed in hospitals. There are also community clinics, which may see you for a reduced fee if you don’t have private insurance.

A Word About Pharmacare in Manitoba

As a rule of thumb, prescriptions are not covered by Manitoba health insurance. This means most Manitobans will need to pay out of pocket for medications prescribed by a doctor.

There are exceptions. Medications administered in a hospital are usually covered by Manitoba Health. You may also qualify for the Pharmacare program, which helps cover the costs of prescription medications.

This program doesn’t cover all medications. You must qualify separately to receive coverage under it.

Who is Eligible?

Most Manitoba residents can receive health care benefits, provided they meet certain criteria. To qualify, you must be a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident, or have a work/study permit.

You must also establish a permanent residence in Manitoba. To be covered, you’ll need to live in the province for at least six months of the year.

Canadians moving from another province must wait three months before applying. During this time, they can still receive coverage in their home province.

Newcomers to Canada will need to provide proof of permanent residency. If you have permanent resident status, you’re eligible for coverage the day you arrive. Otherwise, you’ll need to wait until you receive your card.

The Manitoba Health Card

Once you’ve proven your eligibility, you will receive an MB health card. This is a paper certificate, which lists you and your dependents. It declares you eligible to receive health services in Manitoba.

You need to carry your Manitoba medical card with you everywhere. You never know when you may be in an accident or need emergency health services. Carrying your card will ensure you have access to the health services you need whenever you need them.

You should also make sure your card is up to date. If you change your name or get married, you should update your card. You’ll also need to update it if you change addresses.

What Happens if You Leave Manitoba?

Many Manitoba residents travel. Some people travel for work, while others will travel for pleasure. If you travel outside of Manitoba, you may wonder what kind of coverage you have.

Generally speaking, you have limited coverage once you leave the province. If you travel outside of Canada, you will have coverage for emergency services only. If you were admitted to the hospital because of a car accident, you would have coverage.

You could still end up with a large bill, as Manitoba Health only pays what a Manitoba doctor would receive. Manitoba Health also uses a fixed rate to determine how much it will pay for hospital services. Where costs run higher, such as in the United States, it may be up to you to pay the rest.

Do You Need More Coverage?

Manitoba’s health care plan covers a wide range of health services. It’s designed to meet many of the health needs of residents of Manitoba. Despite this, it most definitely doesn’t cover every health service you may need.

If you plan to travel outside the province, it’s a wise idea to look into travel insurance. A good insurance policy will ensure you’re well covered while you travel. It can also help you make up any difference Manitoba Health won’t cover.

Even if you don’t travel much, you might want to consider more private insurance to top up your coverage. Private plans may offer extra funds for some partially covered services. They may also provide coverage for services Manitoba Health doesn’t cover.

Given the limits of the provincial Pharmacare program, private health benefits are a good idea.

Give Your Coverage a Check-up

Manitoba health insurance covers many health services you and your loved ones need. Additional health insurance can offer you even more peace of mind.

If you need more information about what health insurance is right for you, take a look at our guide. Taking care of your health has never been so simple.

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