Manitoba Health Care Coverage: A Guide to Your Coverage Options

Posted on April 15, 2019

In March of 2019, the provincial government introduced new legislation. The aim is to improve Manitoba healthcare. The amendment promises to integrate health services, thus improving efficiency.

The amendment pulls regional health authorities, CancerCare Manitoba, and Shared Health together. As a result, Shared Health will deliver several Manitoba health services.

Though, every health authority will still develop and administer its individual operating plan. 

If you are living in or planning to live in Manitoba province, you may be eligible for the Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living health plan. What is Manitoba Health Care? You’ll find all the answers here.

Your Manitoba Health Card

If you are new to the Manitoba province, one of your first tasks is to apply for your Manitoba Health Care card. Manitoba healthcare is an integrated network of services and programs.

Healthcare in Manitoba is publicly-funded. Residents don’t pay for hospital and medical services. Manitoba Health, Health Living and Seniors, a provincial department, oversees this program.

Regional health authorities (RHAs) deliver these services. RHAs comprise of five agencies set up by the province to meet the needs of Manitobans. The first is Prairie Mountain Health.

Another is the Winnipeg Health Region. Next are Interlake-Eastern RHA and Southern Health/Sante Sud, and Northern Health Region. 

Who Is Eligible for Manitoba Healthcare?

You are eligible for Manitoba Healthcare if you are a Canadian citizen. You are also eligible if you have immigration status under The Health Services Insurance Act.

Immigration status includes permanent residents, work permit holders and their spouse and dependants. You must maintain permanent residence in Manitoba. And, you must live there for at least six months in a calendar year.

Applying for Manitoba Healthcare Benefits

For those who are eligible, their coverage begins on the first day of the third month after they arrived in Manitoba.

So, let’s say you came on May 29. May counts as the first month. June and July would be months 2 and 3. Your health coverage begins on August 1.

To register, complete and submit a Manitoba Health Registration Form. You must provide your previous health card number and proof of Canadian citizenship.

For example, provide a copy of your birth certificate, Canadian Citizenship card, or Permanent Resident Confirmation card.

If you have other health insurance, you will maintain coverage until your Manitoba benefits begin.

Reporting Changes

You must report changes such as a new address, the birth of a child, or marriage. Provide the relevant documentation to the Insured Benefits Branch.

Where to Register for Manitoba Healthcare

You can register for Manitoba healthcare in a few places. Those are Registration and Client Services, or the Bilingual Service Centre in Winnipeg. If you are in a rural area, you can contact your local municipal or city office.

Or, visit the nearest Bilingual Service Centre. For complete contact information, visit the Health, Seniors and Active Living. 

Registering as a New Canadian Resident

If you are new to Canada, complete the Manitoba Health Registration Form. Include the relevant documentation. You will need a copy of your passport and any citizenship and immigration documents.

Include any documents for your dependents as well. Next, are the criteria for the various types of incoming residents.

Returning Canadians

You’re eligible for coverage the day you arrive in Manitoba. Coverage begins the day you present proof of citizenship, arrival date, and resident status.

Permanent Resident

You’re eligible for coverage from the day you arrived in Manitoba. Coverage begins once you provide the required information about your Permanent Resident status.

Work Permit

You and your dependants are eligible for Manitoba Healthcare coverage if your Work Permit is valid for at least 12 months. Coverage begins the day you received your Work Permit.

If your Work Permit is for less than 12 months, you are not eligible. You’ll have to apply for an extension allowing you to stay for at least 12 months. Coverage begins on the extension date.

Study Permit

If you have a Study Permit from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), you are not eligible for health benefits in Manitoba.

Visitor Record

Visitors are not eligible for health coverage in Manitoba. The exception is if they come with a spouse or parent with a Work Permit valid for 12 months or more. Additionally, the Visitor Record must be valid for at least 183 days.

Dependants 18 years of age or older must be a student at a recognized school. Or, they must have a Work Permit of their own to be eligible for health benefits.

What Does Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living Cover?

Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living pays for physicians' medically-necessary services. Benefits include physicians’ services, surgery and anesthesia, X-rays, and laboratory services.

More covered services are as follows below.

Vision Care

Manitoba Health provides for one routine eye exam within a two-year period. This applies to patients under 19 years over 65 years of age. All residents are can have to an eye exam when there is a medical need.

Otherwise, the plan does not cover eye exams. The provincial health plan does include coverage for select eye tests. Tests include the Full Threshold Visual Fields Test, the Dilated Fundus Examination, and the Tonometry Test.


Under this provincial healthcare plan, you can see a chiropractor seven times per calendar year.

Dental Surgeons

Manitoba Health insures select dental procedures, but only when hospitalization is necessary.

Hospital Services

The plan insures you for most standard hospital services. Such services include operating room and anesthesia, nursing, meals, and laboratory services.

The plan covers radiology and diagnostic procedures, as well as any supporting medications.

Benefits for Personal Care Home Residents

Placing you or a dependent in a Manitoba personal care home requires a decision by an assessment panel. Manitoba Health authorizes that panel. If the panel determines the individual needs personal home care, he or she receives it.

Included in the personal care benefits is the standard accommodation. This involves nursing care and help with daily living. The patient will receive needed medical and surgical supplies, medication, and meals.

Anyone who lives in a personal care home in Manitoba pays a daily resident's fee based on his or her income. Manitoba Health pays the majority of the expenses. The residential fee increases as the cost of living increases.

Pharmacare and Manitoba Health

Manitoba Health does not cover most prescriptions. In most cases, you will pay for your prescription medications out-of-pocket. Manitoba Health does have exceptions.

For instance, the plan covers any medicine you receive while in hospital. For medication coverage, you can apply for the Pharmacare program. Pharmacare offsets your costs for more prescription medications.

If you qualify for Manitoba Health, then you also qualify for Manitoba Pharmacare. The exception is if other federal or provincial plans already cover your prescriptions.

Ambulance Services

Manitoba Healthcare covers medically-necessary ambulance transport. The benefit does not apply when you fall under other health plans.

For example, members of the Canadian Forces or veterans with Veterans Affairs Canada benefits don't qualify under Manitoba Health.

Likewise, inmates or anyone covered under the Worker’s Compensation Act do not qualify for ambulance services. Nor do individuals involved in an accident.

Instead, they qualify for coverage under The Manitoba Public Insurance Corporation Act.

Last, anyone who receives benefits from the Non-Insured Health Benefits Program, Health Canada can seek coverage there rather than Manitoba health.

Ground Ambulance Services

Manitoba Health covers ambulance transports when the patient requires transport between healthcare facilities. Patients often need transfers for diagnostic tests. Some need transport for rehabilitation care to a facility that is closer to their home.

Air Ambulance Services

Air ambulance transfers work a different way. Coverage occurs in the following ways.

If a patient meets the acuity requirements for transport under the Manitoba Lifeflight Air Ambulance program, he or she receives the full benefit under Manitoba Heath.

If the patient is north of the 53rd parallel, he or she qualifies for the Northern Patient Transportation Program for any medically-necessary air transportation.
Any first nation citizens on reserves may qualify for land or air transportation under the respective federal programs.

Ambulance Services Outside of Manitoba

If you need an ambulance while you are outside of Manitoba, Manitoba health won’t provide coverage. You are responsible for any bill you receive from the ambulance company unless one of the other coverage plans discussed applies.

Insurance Quotes for Manitoba Residents

In summary, Manitoba’s provincial health plan is a health plan for all permanent residents of Manitoba. Though, it does not cover every medical service. Supplementary insurance is available if you want to research insurance quotes

If you have any questions about Manitoba Healthcare, please contact us.

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