Alberta Newcomers: Understanding Alberta Health Care

Thursday, January 5, 2017

medical-symbol-caduceusNo matter where you live, your health and the health of your loved ones are extremely important. Healthcare systems are different all over the world.

In many parts of the world, citizens must pay for some or all of their medical needs. In Canada, all Canadian citizens and permanent residents who qualify have access to care from doctors and hospitals – regardless of their ability to pay for it.

Canada’s health care system is funded through taxes paid by its citizens and residents, and administered individually by each province and territory. In Alberta, the health care system is referred to as Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan or AHCIP.

Applying for the Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan (AHCIP)

All eligible residents of Alberta must register themselves and their dependents (See the definition of dependents below.) to receive health care from Alberta doctors or hospitals. You must do this as soon as possible after you arrive in Alberta.

You can get an application form for AHCIP at a doctor’s office, a hospital, a pharmacy or drug store, or online.

When you apply for your health insurance card you will need to provide identification such as your birth certificate or passport, or your Confirmation of Permanent Residence (IMM 5292). You can also show your Permanent Resident Card.

What you will receive

Each family member receives a card with a personal health identification number. Your health insurance card will have your name, address, gender and birth date.

Are you eligible for the Alberta Health Care Plan?

  • An eligible resident of Alberta is a person who is:
  • Legally entitled to be or to remain in Canada and makes his/her permanent home in Alberta;
  • Committed to being physically present in Alberta for at least 183 days in a 12-month period;
  • Not claiming residency or obtaining benefits under a claim of residency in another province, territory or country;
  • Any other person deemed by the regulations to be a resident not including a tourist, transient, or visitor to Alberta.

NOTE: Individuals coming to Alberta on visas or permits from Citizenship and Immigration Canada may be eligible for AHCIP coverage depending on the type of immigration document they have, the length of time on the document and their commitment to reside in Alberta for 12 consecutive months.

What are dependents?

Dependents are:

  • Married spouses
  • Separated spouses
  • Divorced spouses
  • Adult interdependent partners
  • Single children under the age of 21 and dependent on the parent(s) including adopted children, foster children (if an income tax deduction was claimed) and wards of the court
  • Single children who are 21 years of age or older and dependent on the parent(s) because of physical or mental disabilities
  • Single children who are under 25 years of age and in full-time attendance at an accredited educational institute

How to receive health care in Alberta

Always carry your health card with you in case you need medical attention. When you require health care services from a doctor or a hospital, you will be asked for your health care card. Simply show your card and photo identification to the hospital or medical clinic personnel.

Do not lose or share your card - Your card is for your use only. Sharing your card may cause you to lose your access to Alberta health care. You could also face criminal charges and be removed from Canada. If you lose the card, you might have to pay a fee to replace it.

Not all health care services are covered

Most basic health care services are covered by AHCIP such as regular visits to the doctor’s office, medically required surgery, blood tests and radiology. Some services are not covered such as cosmetic surgery, chiropractic care and dental care.

For more information on Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan

If you have questions, need more information or need to replace a lost AHCIP card, there is a list of contact information here.

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