Healthcare in Vancouver

 

 

Canada’s publicly funded healthcare system is one of the best in the world.

Health services in Vancouver operate under the provincial ministry of health. Citizens and legal residents, or those who have been living in BC for at least six months can apply for medical coverage at Medical Services (MSP). MSP provides medical and drug insurance.

BC residents coverage with MSP includes medical services required from a physician or hospitals, maternity care from midwife or physician, diagnostic services, dental surgery in hospitals and eye exams (for children under 19 and senior over 64). A charge of a monthly premium of CAD$54.00 for an individual), CAD$96.00 for a family of two and CAD$108 family of three is also taken.

However, those who cannot afford to pay are entitled to a discount (10-100%). No one will be refused of medical care regardless if premiums are not up to date. For more information on MSP, visit the ministry of health website. Getting international health insurance or applying with MSP is strongly advised as medical treatment in Canada is expensive, especially for those who are not citizens or legal residents. Furthermore, BC employers are not legally obliged to offer medical benefits although most companies provide health insurance for full time employees. 

Those who have MSP can still opt to buy a private health insurance plan. Annual premiums for full coverage health insurance can range from CAD$1,1000-$2,000 for an individual and CAD$2,000-$3,000 for a family of three. Some of Canada's popular Insurance companies include Aetna, BCAA, Bridges International Insurance Services, The Co-operators, Healthcare International, International Health Insurance, Industrial Alliance Pacific Life Insurance Company, Norfolk Mobility Benefits, Pacific Blue Cross, RBC Insurance and TFG Global Insurance Solutions. 

Vancouver is home to the second largest hospital in Canada and the largest hospital in BC that offers one of the most comprehensive healthcare systems in North America, Vancouver General Hospital (VGH), which is also the home of the largest research institutes in the country.

Operating hours of pharmacies are from Mondays to Sundays 9am to 6pm. Pharmasave, Shoppers Drug Mart and London Drugs are some of the well-known pharmacies around the city. Strict laws are implemented in distributing prescription drugs that include any forms of antibiotics and painkillers that have narcotic ingredients. Doctors are the only people allowed to issue a prescription. Pharmacists, however, can suggest over the counter medicines for common ailments.

Not all hospitals in Vancouver have an Emergency Department that is open at night. In cases of emergency, call the hospital first to find out or dial 911 for ambulance services. By dialing 911, one can avail of police, fire and ambulance services.

Services of fire and police are covered or paid for through property taxes. There is a cost, however, for Vancouver's ambulance service as it is not covered by MSP or by most private insurers. If one's private insurer does not cover the ambulance services, one will be billed after the stay in the hospital. 

 

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Healthcare in Canada