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 (to guide you when applying for a card, read Essential documents for newcomers).

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, Health Living and Seniors, a department of the provincial government. 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 dependants 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 always 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 Downtown (204-940-3816) or check the Winnipeg Health Services Online Directory. You can also download this pamphlet for a complete list: Where to go for dental care in your community.

  2. Eligibility

    To be eligible for health coverage, you must:

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

    For newcomers to Canada, the start of your coverage will be determined once you present a photocopy of your passport and all other IRCC documents issued to you and your dependants along with a completed Manitoba Health Registration Form. For permanent residents, you are eligible for coverage on your 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 your 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 actually 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 transferrable, 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

    In Manitoba, you can talk to a health professional whenever you need it. For common health concerns, you can call Health-Links-Info Santé (204-788-8200 in Winnipeg or 1-888-315-9257 Toll free), 24/7, and free of charge. You can also call this number if you have an urgent health concern but you aren’t 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.

    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 QuickCare clinics. These are staffed by registered nurses and nurse practitioners who diagnose and treat minor health issues. To learn more about QuickCare clinics and their locations, click here. You can also watch this video to get an idea what these clinics can do for you:

  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.

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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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