Alberta Health Card Application: Fill & Download for Free


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PDF Editor FAQ

How do I get a health card upon arrival if I'm immigrating to Canada via Express Entry? Ontario gives a health card after 90 days, so can I apply for a health card in Alberta after landing in Ontario first?

You can not get a health card upon arrival. Health card application requires proof of residence and photo ID (Issued by Canadian Govt.). Health card of one province is not valid in other provinces; you have to pay the doctor fess. Later part of the fee (25-30%) will be reimbursed by your provincial coverage.

How was your initial struggle as a new immigrant into Canada?

The first year was tough and there were many times when I was homesick and regretted emigrating.With just a spousal Work Permit I was not allowed to work in my profession as an RN. It was “Catch 22”. To get an inclusive Work Permit I had to get a job offer but to get a job offer I had to have a full Work Permit. I was finally offered a job with Alberta Health Services — they were willing to wait for my application for my work permit to be processed — it took 4 weeks.I also had to take my RN exams again after qualifying as an RN, Midwife, and a Public Health Nurse with 30 years experience and and a Master's Degree — all from a recognised University in Scotland. However I had not worked in Clinical Care for more than 25 years and there were questions on the exam I hadn't just forgotten — the information did not exist at the time. Healthcare policy and procedures had changed significantly in 25 years. I passed first time but I can imagine how difficult (and expensive) the exam might be when English is not your first language and you have a limited budget (cost of the exam is over $500).Trying to set up a Bank Account and a Credit Card was much more challenging than we anticipated. Despite having over $100,000 from the sale of our home in Scotland we had to have our ID verified x4 and were made to deposit a $ 1000 bond before we were allowed a credit card. That made it very difficult to buy furniture and appliances with a $1,000 limit.We arrived in early June with the hope of registering our two boys in School in plenty of time to start School in September. Unfortunately the schools were closed until 3 days before the start of term so their entry was very rushed and not well managed. The Principals of both the Middle School and High School decided to make them repeat their last year as they believed Canadian education was more advanced that Scotland!!! I was dumbfounded but stuck to my guns to advance them and needless to say our boys did just fine and both graduated with their peers and went on to University.Taking my driving test again after 30 years was another stressful situation I could have done without — particularly driving on the opposite side of the road and with somewhat different rules of the road. Thankfully I passed first time but many new immigrants from the UK do not, despite the test being much shorter than the UK (15 vs 60 minutes) but includes manoeuvres we are less familiar with like parking on a hill.Simple things were annoying like paying for a cheque book ( I had not written a cheque in many years), no longer able to transfer money between banks, excessive cost of cell phone contracts, city bylaws prohibiting what colour you can paint your house or stopping you from pegging out your washing (I did it anyway), keeping your cat indoors but dogs everywhere you look — stuff that you get used to over time.Air travel between Canada and the UK is also very expensive so I was limited as to how often I could go back to visit my family in Scotland. However, our salaries were also higher allowing us to save more so it evened up overall.Do I regret the move? Not at all.You just have to have patience, tolerance and a good sense of humour.

I'm moving from Seattle to Vancouver, BC, and I have a ton of healthcare questions. When I move, how do I pick my doctor? As in, can I just go to anyone? And what about specialists like a urologist, or a sleep apnea doctor, etc. Can I go anywhere?

I am answering this question as one who moved here just 14 years ago from Alberta; who unfortunately was in the hospital for 17 days with pneumonia and a chest tube that same year, so I know the hospitals well; started a job that same year with the University of BC’s Department of Medicine, Division of Nephrology as an Administrator, in the Outpatient Centre at Vancouver General (VGH), so I know the system fairly well. And I also was diagnosed with a serious medical condition that same year as well, that I will have for life, so I am a frequent user of family doctors, specialists and pharmacists - and I’m so grateful that my $2,800/month prescription (it says it right on the pill bottle, which has gone down from the $6,000/bottle that was listed on the bottles in my first year!) is 100% covered by the BC Medical system. That’s not often the case - I’m very glad I live in BC!As you likely know by now, in Canada, public health insurance is available to all eligible residents. We in Canada consider public health care to be a right of every Canadian citizens and permanent resident, and both groups can apply for provincial health benefits. In B.C., public health insurance is called the Medical Services Plan – or MSP. It covers the cost of medically-necessary insured doctor services.My answers have been taken mainly from the Medical Services Plan (MSP) site (linked above) and my own experiences.You can have any family doctor you want, though the problem in a big city is finding a family doctor that takes new patients. There are some, however, and one just has to call around.If you don’t have a family doctor, you can access one through a system of privately-owned medicentres (still paid for through the public health system) for things like annual physicals, doctors paperwork that you need filled in, etc. There are medicentre all over greater Vancouver staffed by general practitioners,. You likely won’t get the same one twice in a busy clinic, but they would keep your chart there, so it doesn’t really matter who the doctor is. These are mostly for non-emergency medical need.In case of an emergency, you would visit a local hospital emergency ward and you’d be seen that way. The healthcare system here covers all of those eventualities, so if you have BC medical coverage, regardless of whether you go to a family doctor, a medicentre for non-emergency needs, an emergency visit to the hospital, or to see a specialist, or for an MRI, X-Ray, cat scans, or even for surgeries, including organ transplants, the only thing you have to bring with you is your personal health card – you’ll never need a credit card like they do down south LOLThat’s assuming you are going to be a permanent resident here. Otherwise they do charge out of country rates for people that are just visiting or here for a short term,From Coverage Wait Period:“New (and returning) residents are required to complete a wait period consisting of the balance of the month in which residence in British Columbia is established, plus two months before benefits can begin”. So another words, if you moved here June 25, the rest of June plus July and August would be what they call a wait period.You would be wise to have some kind a private insurance if you’re coming from the US for that wait period. A person can receive required medical and hospital services in B.C. before qualifying for provincial benefits. No hospital in this country would ever turn a patient in need away. However, the entire cost of such services is payable by the person, unless other arrangements for health care insurance have been made. As costs may be very high, those who plan to move to B.C. from outside Canada are strongly recommended to make arrangements for health insurance through a private company before arrival, and to maintain that insurance until provincial benefits are available (at the end of the “wait period”).NOTE: private insurance companies have an almost universal policy of not covering pre-existing conditions, including pregnancy. So you’ll just want to plan not to be sick for those first 2 months, if you don’t get private insurance. LOLWhen the wait period is about to expire and your coverage starts with MSP (Medical Services Plan), you’ll need to go down to a Service BC office where you would get your BC drivers license photo taken as well as get your personal health card, which is also photo ID.The date your residency is considered to have been established is determined by the Ministry of Health based on a number of factors, including the type of immigration status held. For some people the wait period doesn’t start when they arrive in the province - it starts later. For example, a person who arrives as a tourist or visitor may later receive a change in immigration status in Canada that qualifies the person for MSP coverage.You should apply for MSP coverage immediately after arriving in B.C., rather than at the end of the wait period, to allow time for your application to be processed.If you need a specialist, you will be referred to them by your family doctor or a physician of some type. People don’t generally approach specialists directly as the specialist wants to ensure it’s actually related to his specialty, and is medically necessary. Specialists are very busy here for obvious reasons and it can take several weeks to see one, depending on the city and the specialty.The big hospitals in greater Vancouver like Surrey Memorial and Vancouver General have what they call an outpatient centre with a lot of specialists there. Allows people to see an emergency doctors or other doctors that work in the hospital who can then refer you to a specialist who is also in the same building, and usually takes a lot less time to see them.It allows you to get your blood work done, maybe get x-rays, see the specialist, or maybe more than one specialist, all in one visit if possible. Every specialist practice has at least some doctors that work out of these outpatient centres – the different doctors groups are mandated to provide some service to this outpatient system which has really streamlined healthcare in the big cities.Vancouver General Hospital is the largest facility in Greater Vancouver - and in fact is the largest Hospital in Western Canada, and the 2nd largest in the country , after Ottawa Hospital. The VGH campus is spread over 12 square blocks, just across False Creek from the downtown core.2–3 city blocks of buildings.The major buildings are:JIM PATTISON PAVILIONThe 17-storey main inpatient hospital building.CENTENNIAL PAVILIONWhere some subspecialties reside, as well as the Research is conducted for both Vancouver General and the University of BC.And the main Outpatient building, the Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre, is directly beside Jim Pattison Paviliion, with Centennial on its other side.This is what one of the blocks looks like at VGH (Diamond Centre far left, almost out of the photo, then the main Jim Pattison Paviliion, then Centennial). There are at least a dozen other buildings as well!And finally, here’s the view from the hospital rooms in the Jim Pattison Paviliion - a milliion dollar view for sure, if those were condos!I just recently moved out of Vancouver after living there for 14 years, and I can tell you that you will pinch yourself sometimes and think to yourself “I can’t believe I live here@ which is a positive thing in this case. And there will be some days where you will also say the same thing and it won’t be for good reasons.Seattle is a pretty city but Vancouver is often listed by Conde Naste travel, National Geographic and in the top 10 most beautiful cities in the world. Enjoy!

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