Your Guide To Public & Private Medical Clinics In Toronto
Most expats contemplating a move to a new city will want to anticipate what their access to healthcare would be like should they need it. Just so you know, Canada’s healthcare system is arguably amongst one of the best in the world.
One of the biggest merits of the country’s universal healthcare system is the simple reason that it is accessible to everyone regardless of their income, employment status, health, or age.
Generally speaking, the healthcare system in Toronto is publicly funded by OHIP (Ontario Health Insurance Plan). This enables health coverage of all residents in the Ontario Province.
Residents make contributions to this cover through automatic minimal monthly deductions from their salaries as tax. The health cover includes doctors, specialists, and surgery when necessary.
In case you’ve not attained a permanent resident status for some reason, your medical needs will still be attended to, but through private health insurance coverage.
Since not many of us, especially those new in Toronto, know a lot about public and private medical clinics in Toronto, we came up with this guide to explain a few things you might find helpful.
Private vs Public Health Clinics in Toronto
Clinics generally offer prompt medical care for those who need such services and lack a family doctor or are unable to reach them.
Now, it wouldn’t be fair to talk about public healthcare in Toronto or the medical clinics without mentioning the insurance aspect. So, first off, let’s explore this area with regards to the two options.
The primary difference between public medical insurance and private healthcare insurance in Toronto is the simple fact that the former is funded publicly through the taxpayer with minimal to no out pocket medical expenses whereas the funding of the latter is solely out of pocket.
One great advantage private healthcare in Toronto has is that you get to enjoy a wider scope of medical services, the convenience of private hospitals and clinics, among other benefits.
Public Medical Clinics in Toronto
With OHIP, you can visit walk-in clinics and a few other healthcare providers. To qualify for this plan, there is a number of requirements you must meet.
For example, for you as an expat to be eligible for the tax-funded health insurance cover, it is a prerequisite to have a residence permit.
If you are relocating to Toronto from another country (note that Canadians from other provinces do not qualify for OHIP), this can be facilitated through the (CIC) citizenship and immigration Canada.
Note that both Canadian citizens and expats can have access to either public or private health insurance in Toronto depending on choice and preference or a combination of both.
- You are served by highly experienced and qualified doctors.
- Affordable as most of the healthcare services are taken care of by OHIP.
- Provision of medically necessary services (services necessary to maintain health, prevent disease, diagnose or treat an injury, disability, or illness. It also includes medically required physician services offered by medical practitioners).
- Based on the applicant’s needs; home and long-term care may be covered.
- Babies, convention refugees, care home patients, and internationally adopted children get immediate coverage in public clinics (no waiting period of three months).
- The public insurance system may often be riddled with bureaucracy causing delays in service delivery to your inconvenience. For this reason, many Torontonians have seen it fit to augment their public health care coverage with a private healthcare cover to help deal with the shortcomings.
- They don’t cover some services such as cosmetic surgery due to the public healthcare plan limitations.
- There’s a possibility of surgeries going wrong as the list of those to be attended to can be long, and as such, surgical procedures can be rushed without properly preparing the patient.
Private Medical Clinics in Toronto
Although the bulk of hospitals and clinics are public in Toronto, you will also find a good number of private medical practices.
Many Torontonians opt for private care in addition to their public one that they may already have. This is because private care may afford you some comforts and services not included in the public insurance.
Examples include complete ambulance cover, optometry, dental, private rooms, and expedited service, just to name but a few.
- Annual Health Assessment – Some private facilities offer annual health assessments over and above regular medical care. This progressive approach resonates well with those who are health conscious and would like to catch and deal with any ailments as early as possible.
- Expedient – A 5-hour visit will have doctors conduct a thorough check on you in a comfortable clinic with on-site labs that provide same-day results.
- Private Duty Care Services – Although you may be under public insurance, through private medical facilities, you can hire the service of a professional caregiver to complement the care being provided by the hospital. This allows you to tend to your work obligations with some peace of mind.
- Short Wait Times – No wait times associated with dire medical needs such as seeing a specialist or having surgeries.
- Elective Surgeries – These surgeries are the type that the patient plans for in advance and are not always necessary. The clinic, therefore, has plenty of time to prepare for it, which helps to avoid future complications.
- Less Chance of Complications and Infections – Patients in private clinics rarely stay overnight, unlike in public clinics where an overnight stay with multiple patients being treated could expose to you to some serious infections.
- Better Patient to Doctor Ratio – This allows the patient to get personalized healthcare services.
- Relatively Expensive – While the majority of healthcare services in public clinics are covered by insurance, doctors in private medical clinics can charge hundreds or thousands of dollars for similar services.
As a Torontonian, you have the great advantage of enjoying the best of both worlds; i.e., public and private health clinics in Toronto. With an Ontario Health Card, you can enjoy affordable quality healthcare while a visit to the private clinics will see you enjoy all the benefits we’ve just mentioned. Basically, augmenting the public cover with a private one is not such a bad idea, as it helps bridge the gap to better medical cover that bests suits your medical needs and lifestyle.