One of the first things that newcomers to PEI learn is that they need to obtain their PEI Health Card as soon as possible. This card is the key to ensuring they have timely access to PEI health care. While there are lots of tasks that newcomers need to take care of during their first few weeks in the province, this is one of the most critical.

As with all other Canadian provinces, Prince Edward Island operates its own health services, which are funded using taxpayer dollars. In PEI, the organization that runs these services is Health PEI. All its programs are overseen by the provincial Minister of Health and Wellness, along with the help of the Health PEI Board of Directors.

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You do not have to be born in Canada to enjoy the benefits of taxpayer-funded healthcare, but you do have to be a legal resident. Fortunately, the application process for your PEI health card is simple and straightforward, and can be done by any legal resident as soon as they have the necessary documentation.

Although the application process is easy, obtaining documentation to prove your legal status in Canada and residency status in PEI can take a few weeks. During that time, many new immigrants to PEI purchase private health insurance, which ensures they are protected from unexpected costs if they require treatment from a health professional. 

If you’re looking to protect yourself and your family with private health insurance, check out Moving2Canada’s trusted partner, Cigna. Start by visiting their website and getting a free quote for personalized private health insurance within minutes.

Exploring PEI health care as a newcomer

There is a wide variety of services and treatments that are covered by your PEI Health Card. 

Health PEI operates the majority of healthcare facilities on the island, including health centres, hospitals, and public long-term care nursing facilities. They are also responsible for all community-oriented programs and services designed to protect the health of Prince Edward Islanders.

Generally, any medically necessary treatment or service is covered as long as you hold a valid PEI Health Card. This includes:

  • Most physician and in-hospital treatments and services
  • Long-term home or palliative care
  • Addiction services
  • Mental health services
  • Public health nursing
  • Dental public health programs for children

Ambulance services are subsidized to a flat rate of CAD$150.

Health PEI does not cover:

  • Dental services for adults
  • Eye exams and eyewear (ie, glasses or contact lenses)
  • Medical devices such as crutches or hearing aids

Additionally, most prescription drugs are not covered, unless you qualify for one of the drug programs operated by PEI Pharmacare. These programs help to subsidize or cover the cost of certain medications based on use, expense, or family/individual income. 

Determining your eligibility for a PEI Health Card

All legal residents of Prince Edward Island are eligible to apply for Health PEI coverage if they can show: 

  • proof of acceptable legal status within Canada, and
  • proof that they intend to make the province their residence for six months plus a day each year.

Proof of legal status within Canada may include your valid work permit, study permit, or permanent residency documentation. Spouses and dependents of legal residents are also eligible for coverage. 

Unlike some other provinces, many newcomers to PEI are eligible for health coverage from their first day in the province. Depending on your situation, there may not be a waiting period.  

Applying for your PEI Health Card

Applying for a PEI Health Card is easy, but needs to be done carefully to ensure that coverage can begin as soon as possible. All you need to do is fill out the online application, and upload scans of your supporting documentation. This can be done in 15 minutes or less, and applications are usually processed within two weeks. 

If you wish to apply offline, you still need to download and fill out the online application. Once that is complete, it can be submitted, along with copies of your supporting documents, in-person to any Access PEI Centre, the Health PEI office in Charlottetown, or PEI Medicare in Montague.    

Tackling your first months in PEI as a new immigrant  

There’s a lot to learn during your first few months in Prince Edward Island, especially if you’re a newcomer to Canada. As you’re getting settled into your new home, you’ll also need to be diligently collecting documentation so you can apply for your PEI Health Card.

To help take some of the pressure off, we always recommend that newcomers to PEI purchase private health insurance, to protect them from unexpected medical expenses during their first weeks and months in the province.

As a trusted partner of Moving2Canada, Cigna provides accessible, private health insurance to the newcomer community of Prince Edward Island. With their flexible coverage, it’s easy to apply, get approved, and get covered within minutes.

Click here to get your free quote today.