Health care in Canada is covered primarily through a publicly funded system set up in 1984 under the Canada Health Act. The Canada Health Act is federal act which set out the uniform minimum standards for health care across provincial and territorial health insurance programs. If provincial and territorial health insurance programs do not met these standards, then they are ineligible for federal transfer payments under the Canada Health Transfer, effectively defunding them.
As a result of the HSA, patients pay no deductibles on basic health care, rather the system is funded primarily though income taxes. Co pays are also extremely low. Doctors are repaid for treating patients by the government directly. Preventive care, early detection, and yearly checkups are heavily encouraged in Canada. These practices help to extend the life expectancy of Canadians and keep costs down. Costs are also kept low by discouraging expensive competitive practices like advertising.
While the Canadian government covers most health care costs, roughly 30% of health expenditures come from private sources, such as insurance and out of pocket payments. Oftentimes, employers will provide employees with additional coverage under a Health Care Spending Account. Health Care Spending Accounts, also called Health Spending Accounts, or HSA plans, are private accounts that can only be used on health care. Another feature of HSA plans is that the money put in the plan by the employer must be used before the end of the year, or else the balance in the account is returned. In other words, any positive balance will not carry over to the next year.
HSA plans are available from a number of health insurance companies in Canada. If you would like to find out more information about HSA plans and health care in Canada, then an online search or a visit to your local library is a good place to start. Helpful links.
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