Healthcare in Canada vs US
The key difference between healthcare in Canada and healthcare in the US is that the Canadian system is universal. What does this mean? That all Canadians are entitled to basic health insurance through the government. It’s a big perk!
Canada’s universal healthcare, called Medicare (not to be confused with America’s own Medicare program), will cover routine and emergency medical service, but excludes a number of areas. With this centralized healthcare system, doctors and physicians are bound by a pre-negotiated fee scheme… which means no price gouging!
Cost of Healthcare in Canada
Americans understand the importance of accessing affordable healthcare that actually provides the coverage they need. Stepping into the Canadian system can have some taking a careful look at their budgets. Below we explain the basics of both public and private healthcare in Canada, so you will be prepared!
Public: Is There Free Healthcare in Canada?
Healthcare in Canada is free, right? Well, not really. All that funding needs to come from somewhere, and the best place to find it is through taxes.
In fact, Canada’s ‘free’ healthcare is starting to get quite expensive. The tax a Canadian family pays towards healthcare each year amounts to $726 for the bottom 10% of earners. For those in the top 10% (earning $286,000 on average), the sum is reported to reach as high as $41,000!
This goes to show that even if you never see the bill, you might still be paying…
Nonetheless, you may be wondering if there is healthcare for immigrants in Canada. The answer? Yes! As long as you have a visa or residence permit, US citizens can access healthcare in Canada.
Private: Benefits of Private Healthcare in Canada
Despite what you may think… two-thirds of Canadians actually have private health insurance coverage. These policies are to cover what Medicare does not, like many out-patient treatments, prescription medication, physical therapy and other related treatments.
However, most Canadians do not pay very much for this added coverage, as upwards of 90% of private insurance policies are paid for by employers via company benefits. It is important to review your benefits package before signing on, as employer contributions to health insurance do vary.
If one were to take out a policy on their own, this would on average amount to $756 per year.
Healthcare Wait-Times in Canada
A trope Americans often hear about healthcare in Canada is that “If you need a knee surgery in October, you will be waiting until January.” Why is this? A simplified way of thinking about Medicare is that once the money for the year runs out, that’s it!
In reality, because of the accessibility of healthcare in Canada, many common services are in constant demand. As a result, wait times for key procedures or doctor visits can be longer than what some Americans are accustomed to.
This is merely one aspect to be aware of in an otherwise well-functioning system and finding a reliable family practice can help reduce this for routine healthcare.
Moving to Canada?
If your upcoming plans are taking you to Canada, why not check out our full guide on moving to the Great White North? We are sure that you have more than just healthcare in Canada on your mind, so let us guide you through the rest of the process. Or, check out the articles linked below for further reading. Good luck!