Health insurance in Canada is provided through a publicly funded health care system set up by the Canada Health Act in 1984. The Canada Health Act specifies the conditions and criteria with which the provincial and territorial health insurance programs must conform in order to receive federal transfer payments. The health care system in Canada is funded primarily from income taxes, although some provinces may change additional fees to raise money. In this way, the health care system in Canada differs from the primarily private health care system that exists in the United States.
Because health care in Canada is publicly funded, most services are free, although they are provided by private entities. Thus, when a patient goes to see a doctor in Canada, the doctor treats the patient and then bills the Canadian government for reimbursement. One of the reasons that Canada is able to keep its health care costs so low is because of this administrative simplicity. There are other policies as well that keep the cost of health care law. For example, the Canadian health care system discourages competitive practices, like advertising. In addition, preventative medicine and regular checkups are also encouraged.
While the Canadian government will cover most health care costs, there things that the Canada Health Act does not cover. Examples include prescription drugs, vision, and dental. To cover these gaps in health care coverage, many Canadian employers offer their workers different types of employee benefits, including employee health insurance. Although many Canadian employees depend on these employees benefits to cover their health care costs, as many as 72% of small business owners are worried that the rising costs of such employee benefits packages could mean that they will no longer be able to offer them to their employees. To learn more about the different types of employee benefits that exist in Canada, search online.