Canadian Healthcare 101
After yesterdays post, there was a fair amount of discourse regarding the validity of socialized medicine. So today I decided to give all the reader’s here a little crash-course on Canadian Health Care. To ensure I had not completely forgotten what it was like (I have been ‘out of the system’ since I was 25), I called my dad with some of the comments and concerns American’s had about Canadian Health Care and here is the 411:
1. In Canada, we have what is called “O.H.I.P,” Ontario Health Insurance Plan.
My last two years of high school, I was actually a receptionist in two different doctors offices. For those who know me, apparently I was always holding 3 or 4 jobs ;); life’s too short, gotta try them all! To see a doctor, a Canadian citizen in Ontario would swipe one of those cards to be seen without charge. I can remember American’s coming in to the doctor’s offices I worked in, and I would have to pull out a massive list of fees being charged for everything including the swab stick they used to look down their throat. Then watching them shell out, at minimum, $100 for the visit and thinking to myself, ‘thank goodness I’m in Canada!’ Shortly after that I moved to America; the irony.
In Canada, everyone IS treated equally.
This means whether you work at McDonald’s or for the Prime Minister, you will be treated the same medically. You ARE allowed to see whichever doctor you wish, anywhere, at any time; this is unlike the US system where I found out AFTER I had Humana One for 8 months that I wasn’t covered to see a doctor anywhere in the Lynchburg City limits. WHO KNEW???
2. In Canada, there is a wait time in the ER, equivalent if not SHORTER than than any wait time I’ve experienced here in the US.
Not to mention the ambulance trip to the ER and being seen there is at no charge, whereas, I purchased 10/mth more insurance here in the States to cover $1,000 worth at the ER JUST IN CASE. I remember as a kid, having a massive ear infection at 2am and being curled up in the fetal position on the floor of our house at 37 Hemlock Dr. My mom, not sure what else to do, drove me to the ER, we waited an hour or two, saw the DR, got ear drops, and I was on my way home sans pain and my mom sans a bill.
3. In Canada, it takes a few months to see a specialist. IT DOES HERE TOO!!
I was trying to see a dermatologist here, and I was going to have to wait five months to get in! I think I waited three months to see the dermatoligist in Canada in my early twenties when I went on acutane, which leads me to…
4. In Canada, you have to pay the “handling fee” at the drugstore but otherwise drugs are free!
When I was on acutane, OHIP covered my medical expenses when I was in undergrad as well as the equivalent price of drug costs. So I took my little acutane prescription to the local Walmart here, back when that was the ONLY store on Wards Rd, and asked to have it filled. I knew at home, the drug would have cost $100, but I only paid $5 to fill the prescription. When the lady behind the counter informed me the drug was going to cost $315 here, I lost it! What kind of a sick system was this that they were marking up a drug 300%!!!! Naturally, I had my dad fill it back home and mail the stuff to me.
Why am I in American you ask? Why…because it is the land of opportunity of course! Maybe this will give a little perspective on why I would move home one day, and how the Canadian health care system actually operates.
I wonder, for those reading this who are also not American, what kind of health care system are you used to, and does it work? For those of my readers who ARE American, I welcome your thoughts about either system. Regardless, no system is perfect, and I haven’t addressed the issues that Canadian citizens have with OURS either; but there is something to be said about the ability to heal without the added stress of finance. Sometimes it’s difficult enough to get better than thinking about the looming deductible and copay hanging over your head every time you are sick 😉 Unless, of course, you’re wealthy; how nice for you.