5 important facts about your Manitoba Health Care coverage

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One of the first things you should do when you arrive in Manitoba is to apply for your Manitoba Health card. It is one of the most important documents to have as illnesses or accidents do not give advance warning. Want to know how to apply for a health card? Read Essential documents for newcomers.
Health card application notice

Manitoba’s health care system is a broad network of services and programs. It is publicly-funded, which means that you don’t have to pay for necessary medical and hospital services. Overseeing this is Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living. The actual services are delivered through local regional health authorities (RHAs), which are five agencies set up by the province to meet the needs of Manitobans. These include the Winnipeg Health Region, Southern Health/Sante Sud, Interlake-Eastern RHA, Prairie Mountain Health, and Northern Health Region.

5 important facts about your Manitoba health care coverage:

  1. What does it cover?

    Your health coverage allows you and your dependents to see a doctor, get a prescription, visit a hospital emergency room or use most other 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 insured. For a complete list of medical and hospital services that are covered and not covered, go to this page.

    You can supplement your health coverage by buying additional health insurance from private companies (read Do I need supplementary health insurance? to know more). Some employers may provide this too. However, for those with limited income and no dental insurance, there are community clinics that see patients without insurance or for reduced fees. You can inquire from Access Centres.

  2. Eligibility

    To be eligible for health coverage, you must:

    • be a Canadian citizen or
    • be a Permanent Resident or
    • be work permit holders (and their spouse/dependants)
    • establish a permanent residence in Manitoba, and
    • reside physically in Manitoba for six months each calendar year

    If you’re a newcomer, present your (and your dependents’) IRCC documents along with a completed Manitoba Health Registration Form. You will also need to present a supporting document such as a mortgage or lease agreement, employment confirmation, driver’s license, or others (see complete list here: Essential documents for newcomers). Permanent residents are eligible for coverage on their date of arrival in Manitoba when proof of Permanent Resident Status is provided or on the date Permanent Resident Status is granted.

    For those moving to Manitoba from another province or territory, coverage will begin on the first day of the third month after their arrival in Manitoba. Based on the Canada Health Act, residents moving from one province/territory to another will be covered by their home province/territory during the waiting period.

  3. Your Manitoba Health Card

    It is a paper card that is issued as a registration certificate. You must carry this card with you and present it whenever you or your dependants require health services. It is not transferable, which means that it cannot be used by anybody whose name is not recorded on the certificate. It is also important to note that your registration is affected by change in address or family status. You should report a new address, marriage, birth, adoption, death, divorce or legal separation to the nearest Insured Benefits Branch or call Manitoba Health. Your new card will be mailed to you.

  4. Health Care Options

    You can consult a health professional whenever you need advice. For common health concerns, call Health Links-Info Santé (204-788-8200 in Winnipeg or 1-888-315-9257 Toll free), 24/7, for free. You can also call this number if you have an urgent health concern but you’re not sure if it is an emergency or not. However, if is a heart attack, major trauma, severe head injury, or similar grave situations, you can call 911 (read Urgent care or emergency? Getting the right health care services if you need more help deciding).

    Family doctors are the best option for continued primary health care for you and your family. Find a family doctor by registering online or by phone with the Family Doctor Finder.

    If you don’t have a family doctor yet or when other clinics are closed and you need medical attention, you can go to Walk-In or QuickCare clinics. These are staffed by nurse practitioners, physician assistants and registered nurses who diagnose and treat minor health issues. If you’re in Winnipeg, you can go to Walk-In Connected Care or Walk-In Clinics. There are QuickCare clinics in Steinback and Selkirk. Another option are ACCESS Centres in Winnipeg and Brandon.

    Go to Myrightcare.ca, to see a summary of your health care options in Winnipeg.

  5. Pharmacare

    This program protects Manitobans from high drug costs. It provides assistance by paying a part of your prescription costs, regardless of the disease or your age. The coverage is based on your total family income and the amount you pay for eligible prescription drugs.

    You can apply for Pharmacare if you are eligible for the Manitoba health card and your prescriptions are not covered by other provincial or federal programs, or a private drug insurance program. Go to the Manitoba Pharmacare Program page to download the forms and know about the two ways you can apply for this benefit.

Article updated 02/2020.

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Community Resources

Find hospitals and health care centres nearest you by going to the Regional Health Authority to which you belong. You can get a listing at each site.

If you want to know more about health and safety alerts, immunization guides or Canada-wide consumer product safety guidelines, go to Health Canada.

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