How Does Canadian Healthcare Work? Is It Really Free?

Category: Medical FAQ


Posted on August 18, 2020

Vanessa is a health writer and blogging expert. Her specialities are medicine, health and wellness. She is proud to call Vancouver, BC her home where she enjoys the ocean and mountains with her dog Mr. ChowChow.

how does canadian healthcare work

How much do you pay for healthcare every year?

America currently ranks the highest out of all the developed nations when it comes to healthcare. In fact, the country currently spends $10,000 per person per year, which is a shocking amount. From giving birth to chemotherapy, everything costs in the US.

So why do other countries have free healthcare, including Canada? How does Canadian healthcare work, and why hasn’t the US adopted the same ideas?

Read on to find out more and whether Canada’s healthcare really is free.

Does Canada Have Free Healthcare?

Whilst not completely free, health care in Canada is entirely different from the US. It’s publically funded, which means that the system is run on taxes. The idea is that anyone, no matter how much money they have, can get the services they need.

Essentially, it’s a system based on sharing resources. People who have more money pay more taxes at little cost to themselves, helping fund healthcare for those with less money.

The tax that funds Canadian healthcare comes from federal, territorial, and provincial taxes. These include both personal and corporate tax, payroll levies, and sales tax.

But not all of Canada’s healthcare is free. There still is private health insurance in Canada and you have to pay for certain medical care, such as visits to the dentist and prescriptions bought outside of the hospital.

But, you won’t ever have to pay thousands of dollars for an ambulance or to give birth. That system belongs to America.

How Does Canadian Healthcare Work?

So, how does this work?

Well, if you were to visit the doctors for a check-up, there’d be no charge. If you needed an operation for appendicitis, there’d be no charge. You get the idea.

The tax paid covers most of your medical expenses. You don’t need to have private health insurance in Canada, but you do need to apply for public health insurance to receive free healthcare. However, even without the card, anyone can have access to free emergency services.

This isn’t quite as good – or socialized – as other healthcare systems around the world. For example, the UK’s National Health Service (more commonly known as the NHS) is much closer to being free for all citizens than Canada. However, the Canadian system is a huge step in the right direction and deep-rooted in the country’s values.

What About Prescription Drugs?

America has a huge problem with over-inflated prices for prescription drugs. Medicine that’s essential to keeping people alive can cost hundreds, if not thousands, and without insurance, they simply aren’t available to most people.

Canada does have a different system. Whilst in hospital receiving treatment, you won’t have to pay for any of the drugs you receive under their universal healthcare. However, once out of the hospital, you do have to pay for prescription drugs.

This is the same in most countries, including in the UK. Even their prescription drugs cost a flat-rate fee of £9.00, no matter what prescription the person is getting. However, if there is an alternative, cheaper option, the pharmacist can let the patient know and give them an option to purchase it.

In Canada, there isn’t a single-rate fee, but prescription drugs are a lot more affordable than in America. As Bernie Sanders showed on his trip to Canada, a vial of insulin is just $35-$40 over there, whilst in America, you can pay up to a whopping $400 for the same product.

It’s no surprise, then, that people in America are looking to buy Canadian prescription drugs legally. It could save you a lot of money!

There Are 15 Different Systems

After covering is health insurance free in Canada? and how the system works, the last thing to note about Canadian healthcare is that there isn’t just one system. There are actually 15 different healthcare tangents.

These belong to the different territories and provinces across Canada. The Canadian Health Act defines the basic aspects of universal care and access to services across the country, setting the base for the system. However, details of the system vary depending on where you are.

For example, not every territory may include the same services covered under universal healthcare and how they’re covered.

For example, in Quebec, they include fertility treatments under their publically funded healthcare system. This isn’t the case for most other provinces. As you can see, each system has its own rules and ideas in place, which makes the healthcare system across Canada incredibly varied and hard to define.

But, there is a positive to this system. Each province can tailor their healthcare to its own residents’ needs, meeting demands and keeping the people in the area happy. However, it does make country-wide health reforms very difficult, so there are definite pros and cons.

Gain Access to Canadian Drugs Legally

So, how does Canadian healthcare work? It’s a complex system, but one that works well!

For Americans, it’s exciting to hear that you can actually get drugs shipped from Canada to the US legally. This is exactly what we do at PricePro Pharma. You can find the prescriptions you usually have to pay large amounts of money for at discounted Canadian prices.

Some of the drugs on offer include Cialis, Xarelto, Pradaxa, and Advair Diskus. Be sure to check out the whole range to see if you could get your prescription for much cheaper!

If you have any questions about shipping your prescriptions to the US or about PricePro Pharmacy, feel free to get in touch with the team. When it comes to pharmaceuticals, they know what they’re talking about and will be more than happy to help.

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