Entering Saskatchewan as a newcomer is the first step in beginning a new life in the Canadian Prairies. After the initial move is complete, newcomers must turn their attention to obtaining a Saskatchewan Health Card, to ensure they have adequate Saskatchewan health care and are protected from costs associated with illness and injury.

It’s well-known that Canada offers publicly-funded healthcare to all legal residents. Each province and territory organizes and administers its own healthcare, which does not extend beyond its borders. 

In Saskatchewan, all healthcare is overseen by the Ministry of Health and is delivered by the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) and their affiliated organizations.

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Moving to a new country can be a process that’s full of surprises. However, one thing that should never be a surprise is unexpected health care costs. While Saskatchewan health care, administered through the SHA, covers most of what you need, it usually takes a few months for newcomers to Saskatchewan to become eligible for a Saskatchewan health card and access these vital services. During that time, you still need protection. 

That’s why so many new immigrants choose to purchase private insurance before they arrive in Saskatchewan. This coverage protects them before their Saskatchewan health card arrives.

Looking to buy private health insurance before you move? Our insurance partner Cigna offers free quotes that are ready within minutes. 

Learn about Saskatchewan health care for newcomers

In Saskatchewan, the Ministry of Health manages the healthcare that is delivered to provincial residents. They oversee a variety of organizations that administer healthcare programming, including the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA), the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency, and eHealth Saskatchewan.

In Saskatchewan, like in most provinces, most medically necessary health care and services are covered if you have a Saskatchewan Health Card. This care can take place in an inpatient or outpatient setting.

Additionally, there are certain other health services and therapies that are completely covered through the SHA. These include:

  • Physiotherapy or occupational therapy
  • Screening mammography for women aged 50 to 69
  • Immunizations, including the yearly flu shot
  • STI treatment
  • HIV testing
  • Drug and alcohol abuse treatment
  • Mental health services

In some situations, residents that are recommended by Social Services may have additional services like dental care, prescription drugs, and emergency medical transportation costs covered by their Saskatchewan health card. These programs are aimed to relieve costs for low-income families and those with children.

Although most Saskatchewan residents above a certain income threshold pay for their prescription drugs, the province’s Children’s Drug Plan ensures that children under the age of 15 pay a maximum of $25 per eligible prescription.    

Determining your eligibility for a Saskatchewan health card

All permanent residents are eligible for health care in Saskatchewan. However, there is usually a waiting period until newcomers can get their Saskatchewan health card and take advantage of health services. Once your family arrives in the province, you are eligible for health care on the 1st day of the 3rd month after your residency has been established.

If you and your spouse (or common-law partner) arrive separately but within 12 months of each other, both will be eligible on the 1st day of the 3rd month following the first individual’s arrival in the province.

However, if you are an immigrant landing in Saskatchewan as a permanent resident, or are visiting on a work visa, you may be given coverage without a waiting period. To learn more, contact eHealth Saskatchewan to determine if you are eligible to skip the typical waiting period.  

Applying for your Saskatchewan health card

Applying for a Saskatchewan Health Card is the first step in obtaining Saskatchewan health care. Currently, eligible individuals can fill out an application form and submit all the necessary supporting documentation online. Their online application portal requires applicants to set up an account first, then they can complete the process online.

Not comfortable with computers? You can still print out an application form and mail or fax it in with your supporting documents to eHealth Saskatchewan.

Saskatchewan health card applications are generally processed in 4 to 6 weeks. To ensure you’re able to receive healthcare promptly, it’s a good idea to apply as early as possible following your arrival into Saskatchewan.

Planning your first months in Saskatchewan

The first weeks and months in Saskatchewan can be a hectic time for newcomers. There’s so much to familiarize yourself with, including a new home, work, or schooling. A healthcare emergency should be the last thing on your mind.

That’s why we strongly advise all newcomers to Saskatchewan to purchase private health insurance, to cover them during their first weeks and months in the province. This coverage can be purchased before you depart from your home country and protects you from the moment you set foot on Canadian soil. This offers total peace of mind, allowing you to focus on settling into your new home in Saskatchewan.

Moving2Canada’s trusted partner Cigna works with many newcomers to provide excellent private health insurance during their first weeks and months in the country. It’s easy to apply, get approved, and purchase a plan in minutes. Click here to get a quick, free quote today.