Understanding Alberta’s Healthcare System as a New Immigrant

Alberta Skyline - Understanding Alberta's Healthcare System as a New Immigrant

Welcome to Alberta, one of Canada’s beautiful and diverse provinces! Are you feeling a bit overwhelmed by the new surroundings, especially when it comes to Canadian healthcare? Don’t worry; we’re here to guide you through Alberta’s healthcare system.  

Universal Healthcare in Canada 

In Canada, healthcare is universally accessible to all residents, meaning you don’t have to pay directly for most healthcare services. Alberta’s healthcare system is part of this broader Canadian framework since health services are the responsibility of provincial governments.  

The main principle behind universal healthcare in Canada is to provide essential medical care without financial burden. 

What’s Covered by Provincial Health Insurance in Alberta? 

Provincial insurance in Alberta covers essential medical services like visits to a family doctor, hospital stays, and surgeries. However, it does not include routine dental care, eye exams, or prescription medications in most cases. 

How to See a Family Doctor in Alberta 

Registering with a family doctor is vital for ongoing health needs. Look for a family doctor accepting new patients in your area and make an initial appointment. Carry your Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan (AHCIP) card with you when you visit. 

If you’re struggling to see a family doctor in your community or are on a waitlist, walk-in clinics, and urgent care centres will accept patients needing more immediate assistance. Be sure to familiarize yourself with local clinics and pharmacies, and don’t hesitate to ask questions to healthcare professionals. 

What to Do in an Emergency 

In an emergency, dial 911 or go to the nearest emergency room. Alberta’s emergency services are highly responsive, and treatment is free with your AHCIP card. Always keep it with you or have your number saved on your cellphone. 

How to Get Pharmaceuticals in Alberta 

Pharmaceutical drugs are usually not covered by provincial insurance for adults. However, various programs may help with costs, like the Alberta Blue Cross. Talk to your pharmacist or doctor about the best options for your needs. 

Nurse-speaking-to-patient-in-doctors-office - Understanding Alberta's Healthcare System as a New Immigrant

Additional Coverage Through Employers and Post-Secondary Institutions 

Many employers in Alberta offer additional health insurance that complements provincial coverage. If you’re a student, check with your post-secondary institution, as many also offer health plans specifically tailored to students’ needs.  

Additional coverage usually covers a percentage of things like dentist visits, optometry services, prescription medication and paramedical services (i.e., massage, chiropractic, etc.). 

ABES College Supports Newcomers in Alberta 

Understanding the Canadian healthcare system as a new immigrant is the first step towards a healthy life in Alberta. If you find the healthcare field appealing, consider exploring our healthcare training programs at ABES College. We’re not just about education; we’re here to help newcomers like you adjust to your new surroundings, offering benefits and support tailored to our students. Contact us to learn more about ABES College and start your healthcare career in Alberta today!