Medicare is Canada's national health insurance program. It is comprised of individual provincial health insurance plans which must furnish “reasonable access to medically necessary hospital and physician services on a prepaid basis” for all legal residents, according to the Health Canada government website. In order to get funding from the federal government, each provincial plan must provide:
(a) public administration
Provinces have different policies with respect to the provision of benefits such as prescription drugs, dental care, chiropractic care, physical therapy, and optometric services. The provinces also have different policies as to how they finance their plans. The federal government contributes some portion of the financing of the provincial health plans as long as they adhere to certain standards. The balance is financed through a combination of premiums (British Columbia and Alberta), payroll taxes, sales taxes, or other revenues as designated by each individual province. Long story short, there is no direct charge for medically necessary doctor and hospital services in Canada.
Extended Health Insurance
Extended Health Insurance
In Canada, the term extended health insurance means private health insurance that pays for services not paid for by the government health plan (MSP). Different policies cover different sets of benefits which may include: prescription drugs, dental care, optometry, chiropractic care, physical therapy, psychologists, imaging not already covered by the MSP, or semi private and private hospital rooms. Some extended health insurance premiums are paid for entirely or in part by employers; some premiums are paid entirely by individuals.
Medical Services Plan (MSP)
The government insurance plan in British Columbia that covers "medically required services provided by physicians and supplementary health care practitioners, laboratory services and diagnostic procedures" for all residents. Participants who earn more than $22,000 per year pay a monthly premium. For those earning less than $22,000 per year, coverage is free. For people with incomes between $22,000 and $30,000 per year, there is a sliding scale for premiums. The premiums for those with incomes over $30,000 are: $60.50 for a single person, $109 for a family of two, and $121 for a family of three or more. Participants who earn less than $30,000 per year are also covered for physical therapy, acupuncture, and chiropractic services. No deductibles or co-payments are required or allowed for covered services.
The government insurance plan in British Columbia that covers prescription drugs. Anyone who is covered by the Medical Services Plan can sign up for PharmaCare. The deductible that must be met before receiving coverage is based on income.There is also a cap on the maximum anyone pays out-of -pocket, which is also based on net income. The maximum for the deductible is 3% of net income and the maximum cap on out-of-pocket expenses is 4% of net income.
Single Payer System
It is a system in which one government-run program collects all the taxes, fees and premiums paid for health care and pays out for all health care costs. Under a single payer system, the government program functions as the insurer for the entire population of a country and there are no private insurers paying for health care that is considered medically necessary. Doctors may be private or government employees but they all get their fees paid by the government insurance program.
The term "single payer" is often used loosely to signify all systems that provide universal health care that is mostly paid for by taxes. But in some universal systems, for example the German or Australian system, many people have private health insurance which pays a part of their medically necessary health care expenses. Hence these are multi-payer systems, not single payer. Canada is a true single payer system.