Unlike in the United States, health insurance in Canada is provided through a publicly funded health care system. The Canada Health Act of 1984 set up this system by specifying the conditions and criteria to which the provincial and territorial health insurance programs must conform in order to receive federal transfer payments. This health care system is primarily funded through income taxes, although some provinces charge additional fees. As a result of the Canada Health Act, most medical services are free and services are provided by private entities.
The workings of the system are fairly simple. If you go to a doctor in Canada, the doctor will treat you. However, rather than paying the doctor afterwards, the doctor simply notifies the Canadian government and they reimburse him. The patient receives no bill from the doctor.
It is this administrative simplicity that helps to keep health care costs in Canada fairly low. In addition, competitive practices, such as advertising are discouraged, while health policy encourages regular checkups and preventative medicine which further keep costs low.
However, there are some gaps that the Canada Health Act does not cover. These include things like prescription drugs, dental check ups, and vision. As a result, many Canadian employers offer their employees supplemental health insurance in the form of employee benefits insurance. Unfortunately, as many as 72% of small business owners are concerned about the rising costs of such employee benefits services. Even though 50% of Canadian businesses are concerned about the level of employee benefits and services, unless reforms are made, many Canadian businesses are concerned that they will be unable to afford to continue offering employee benefits services. To learn more about Canadian health care, and how to help change the system, search online.