As a new immigrant to New Brunswick, one of your first jobs should be to apply for a New Brunswick health card. This card is proof of your eligibility for free healthcare under the New Brunswick Medicare scheme.
You will need to provide your health card whenever you need to access healthcare in New Brunswick, including registering with a family doctor.
In this post, we will give you an overview of the Canadian and New Brunswick healthcare systems, and we will explain in simple terms how to apply for a New Brunswick health card (also known as a Medicare 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’s excellent healthcare system provides free primary care to eligible residents. Healthcare is publicly funded and administered at the provincial level. The provincial systems operate on a similar basis, but there is some variation in coverage.
Your provincial plan will typically provide basic coverage while travelling within other provinces and territories. However, if you move province permanently, you will need to re-register for healthcare with your new province.
How To Apply For A New Brunswick Health Card – The Basics
Your New Brunswick health card application can appear complicated, but it involves the following basic steps.
- Gather the required documentation
- Complete the application form (one per family)
- Submit the application form and documentation via mail or in person at a service office
- Your Personal Health Cards will be mailed to you
The following sections explain these steps in more detail, but some basic facts about the process are provided below:
|Health Plan Name||Medicare|
|Cost of Application||Free|
|Ongoing Insurance Cost||Free|
|Application Methods||Online, Email, Mail or Drop Off|
|Processing Time||Up to 10 Weeks|
|In-Person Locations||Service New Brunswick Offices|
|Coverage Waiting Period*||None|
*For New Residents of Canada
Who Is Eligible For A New Brunswick Health Card?
If you are legally entitled to live in Canada and plan to make New Brunswick your permanent principal home, you will be eligible for New Brunswick Medicare. This also applies to many people in Canada on temporary work permits and study permits.
If you move to New Brunswick from overseas, there is unlikely to be a waiting period for coverage, and you should apply for your health cards as soon as possible after you arrive.
However, the waiting period for international students may be different, and you can find further details on the Government of New Brunswick website.
Also, note there is a 2-3 month wait time for people who move to New Brunswick from another province. So in this situation, 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 New Brunswick resident on July 12th, your coverage will start on October 1st.
You will continue to receive basic coverage from your previous province or territory in the interim period.
Who Isn’t Eligible For A New Brunswick Health Card?
If you are a student from another province or territory and plan to return to your home province after your studies, you won’t qualify for NB health coverage. However, you will still receive coverage from your home province while in New Brunswick.
Are You Planning A Move To Canada?
Are you wondering whether to make the move and have endless questions?
We have the answers to these and many more questions.
We have the answer to these and many more questions.
What Documentation Will I Need To Apply For A New Brunswick Health Card?
To apply for your New Brunswick health card, you will need to prove your identity, your right to be in Canada, and your residency in NB.
Also, note that you can’t use the same piece of documentation for more than one of the sections below.
Acceptable Proof Of Identity
You must provide documents for each family member.
- Birth Certificate
- Valid New Brunswick Driver’s License
- Valid Passport (Canadian or foreign)
- Baptismal Certificate (if place and date of birth indicated)
- Valid Permanent Resident Card (front & back) or Record of Landing Document example: (Form # IMM 1000)
- Active Temporary Resident Permit issued by Citizenship and
- Immigration Canada
- Certificate of Canadian Citizenship
- Canadian Indian Status Card (front & back)
- Legal Name Change Document
- Student or Employee ID Card
- Previous Provincial Health Card
Acceptable Proof Of Right To Reside In Canada
You must provide documents for each family member.
- Canadian Birth Certificate
- Canadian Citizenship Card
- Canadian Passport
- Indian Status Card
- Baptismal certificate (if the place of birth is identified)
- Canadian Immigration Identification Records and Entry Stamp on Passport
- Proof of enrollment from an approved learning institution
Acceptable Proof Of Residency In New Brunswick
- Mortgage Document
- Rental or Lease Agreement (must be signed by landlord & tenant)
- Utility Bill – not older than 2 months (phone, energy, cable/satellite, water/sewer)
- Employment Confirmation – current (pay stub or letter from employer on company letterhead)
- Insurance Policy (home, tenant, auto)
- Valid NB Motor Vehicle Registration
- Valid NB Driver’s License
- Child Tax Benefit Statement
- Property Tax Bill (current year)
How to Apply For A New Brunswick Health Card
The easiest method to apply for a New Brunswick health card is to complete their online application. People who are not able to apply online can complete an Application for Registration and submit photocopies of documents either via email, mail or drop-off to a Service New Brunswick Office.
Processing your application can take up to 10 weeks, and you should note that you can’t apply until you arrive in the province.
What Is Covered By New Brunswick Medicare?
Medicare will cover you for medically necessary healthcare services such as:
- Visits to general practitioners, surgeons and other doctors
- Hospital services
- Medically required diagnostic tests such as X-rays
- Laboratory services (e.g. blood tests)
- Some medically required dental & optometry services
What Isn’t Covered By New Brunswick Medicare?
Some of the services Medicare won’t cover you for are:
- Prescriptions (apart from during a hospital stay)
- Eye care, unless medically necessary
- Dental care, unless medically necessary
- Alternative treatments such as naturopathy
- Complementary therapies such as massage therapy and chiropractic services (unless provided in a hospital)
- Cosmetic procedures
- Hearing aids
- Ambulances services
- Annual check-ups
Many NB residents have private supplementary insurance for medical services that aren’t covered by the provincial plan. Supplementary health overage is often included in employee benefit packages, or you can acquire your own coverage.
How Do I Register With A Family Doctor In New Brunswick?
Once you have your Medicare number and card, you can register with a family doctor. Unfortunately, this could involve a wait as there currently aren’t enough family physicians to serve the patient population.
As soon as you are able, you should register with Patient Connect. This is a provincially managed service for people who don’t have a family doctor. You will be placed on a waitlist and assigned a family doctor on a first-come, first-served basis.