As a new immigrant to Manitoba, one of your first jobs should be to apply for a Manitoba health card. This card is your record of your Manitoba Personal Health Information Number (or PIHN) and is proof of your eligibility for free healthcare under the Manitoba health insurance plan.
You must provide your health card whenever you can access healthcare in Manitoba. You will also need it when registering with a family doctor.
In this post, we will give you an overview of the Canadian and Manitoban healthcare systems and explain in simple terms how to apply for a Manitoba health card.
For more information on Canadian health care and other provincial health cards, refer to our article on applying for health cards in Canada.
Canadian Healthcare – An Overview
Canada has an excellent healthcare system which provides free primary care to eligible residents. Healthcare is publicly funded and administered at the provincial level. The provincial systems operate similarly, but there is some variation in coverage.
Your provincial plan will also provide basic coverage while travelling within other provinces and territories of Canada. However, if you move province permanently, you must re-register for healthcare with your new province/territory.
How To Apply For A Manitoba Health Card – The Basics
It may appear complicated to apply for a Manitoba health card, but it involves the following basic steps.
- Gather the required documentation.
- Complete the registration form (one per family)
- Submit the registration form and documentation via mail, Email, fax, or drop-off (in Winnipeg)
- Manitoba Health will mail your health card to you.
The following sections explain these steps in more detail, but some basic facts about the process are provided below:
|Cost of Application||Free|
|Ongoing Insurance Cost||Free|
|Application Methods||Mail, Email, Fax, Drop-Off|
|Registration Processing Time||Approx 4-6 Weeks|
|Coverage Wait Period||2-3 months|
Who Is Eligible For Manitoba Health Insurance?
If you are legally entitled to live in Canada and plan to make Manitoba your home for at least 183 days in the next 12 months, you will be eligible for Manitoba health coverage.
Note that there is a wait time for all new residents of Manitoba, and your coverage won’t start until the 1st day of the 3rd month following the date you became a resident.
For example, if you become a permanent Manitoba resident on July 12th, your coverage will start on October 1st.
If you are moving to Manitoba from another province or territory of Canada, you will remain covered by your previous province until your coverage starts in Manitoba.
If moving to Manitoba from another country, most people will take out private health insurance coverage for this interim period.
Who Isn’t Eligible For Manitoba Health Insurance?
If you are a student from another province or territory and plan to return to your home province after your studies, you won’t be eligible for Manitoba health coverage. However, you will still receive coverage from your home province/territory while in Manitoba.
What Documentation Will I Need To Apply For A Manitoba Health Card?
To apply for a Manitoba health card, you must prove your right to reside in Canada and prove residency in Manitoba for at least 183 days in the next year. Some acceptable documents are listed below:
Proof Of Right To Reside In Canada
- Canadian passport
- Canadian citizenship card/certificate
- Canadian birth certificate
- Permanent Resident Card
- Canada entry documents, such as a work or study permit
Proof Of Residency In Manitoba
- Signed mortgage agreement
- Signed long-term rental or lease agreement (6 months or more)
- Current Employment Confirmation (dated letter from employer on company letterhead)
- Notarized letter from the homeowner or leaseholder stating (1) names of the applicants for Manitoba health coverage living with them in the residence and (2) length of stay
- Letter from a Resettlement Assistance Program (RAP) provider/Letter from Sponsorship Agreement Holders regarding the applicant’s residence in Manitoba
Alternatively, you can provide 2 of the following:
- Utility Bill – telephone, cable/satellite TV, gas, water/sewer (not older than two months)
- Insurance policy (home or tenant)
- Property Tax Bill (current year)
- Valid Manitoba Driver’s License
- Valid Manitoba Motor Vehicle registration
- Confirmation of attendance from a school, college or university (not older than two months)
- Revenue Canada Income Tax Assessment (current or previous year) showing Manitoba as the residence
- Social Assistance Benefit Confirmation
- Employment and Income Assistance Statement of Benefits
- Child Tax Benefit statement
- Canadian Pension Plan statement of contributions or statement of benefits
- Old Age Security Statement
How To Apply For A Manitoba Health Card
You must download and complete the Manitoba Health Registration Form and send it to Manitoba Health with photocopies of your documents. You can submit via any of the following methods:
- Mail to Manitoba Health Insured Benefits Branch, 300 Carlton St, Winnipeg, MB R3B 3M9
- Deliver to drop-off box at the above address (business hours only)
- Email to email@example.com
- Fax to 204-783-2171 (toll-free at 1-866-608-2983)
Applicants are encouraged to use one of the above methods of registration. It is possible to apply in person if needed; for more information, call 204-786-7101 (toll-free at 1-800-392-1207).
What Is Covered By The Manitoba Healthcare Insurance Plan?
Manitoba Health will cover you for medically necessary healthcare services such as:
- Visits to general practitioners, surgeons and other doctors
- Hospital services
- Psychiatric care
- Medically required diagnostic tests such as X-rays
- Laboratory services such as blood tests, when requested by a physician
- Some medically necessary dental & optometry services
- Some chiropractic services
- Eye tests (for those up to 18 years old and 65 and over)
- Personal care homes (if assessed as needed)
What Isn’t Covered By The Manitoba Healthcare Insurance Plan?
Manitoba Health won’t cover you for the following services:
- Prescriptions (apart from during a hospital stay)
- Eye care, unless medically necessary
- Dental care, unless medically necessary
- Alternative treatments such as naturopathy
- Complementary treatments such as physiotherapy & speech therapy
- Cosmetic procedures or other procedures not medically required
- Ambulance services (unless transferring between hospitals)
Many Manitobans have private supplementary insurance for medical services not covered by the provincial plan. Supplementary health coverage is often included in employee benefit packages, or you can purchase your coverage.
How Do I Register With A Family Doctor In Manitoba?
Once you have your Manitoba personal healthcare number, you can register with a family doctor. You are free to register with any doctor in your area that is accepting new patients.
If you need help finding a doctor, you can use Manitoba’s Family Doctor Finder, a government service connecting you with a local clinic that meets your needs.