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Loominous's avatar

Can I go to Canada for medical treatment?

Asked by Loominous (80 points ) November 9th, 2010

I am a US citizen with a health issue, and need to be checked out by a physician. Unfortunately my health insurance will not be instated for two more months. I’m afraid this might be too long to wait. I’m almost positive I need an X-ray, among other possibly expensive procedures (potentially surgery). I am curious as to whether or not going to Canada is a viable option. Is their healthcare really free? And if so, would it be for a non Canadian.

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16 Answers

missingbite's avatar

If you have that type of problem that requires immediate attention, walk into an emergency room of a State hospital. They will not turn you away even if you don’t have insurance. Cook County Hospital in Chicago is an example.

mammal's avatar

You may be able to get treatment in Cuba, but i’m not sure.

john65pennington's avatar

Don’t forget, you need a passport to return into the U.S., once you have been in Canada. do you have a passport? like someone else said, if your health issue is an emergency, most hospital er’s will not turn you away.

Loominous's avatar

Yes, I know I could be seen here. But I’m trying to avoid paying for this for the rest of my life.

JLeslie's avatar

An xray is not that expensive, and you can put it on your credit card. Call ahead and negotiate the price. Most of my tests are at a 50% to 60% discount under my insurance plan from the regular price a doctor or lab charges to give you an idea how much room there is.

If you get disgnosed will your new insurance count it as preexisting and not cover your treatment?

I do not recommend going to a hospital you are not an emergency I am guessing? What exactly are you concerned about? A hospital is much more expensive than a doctors appointment and xray. The ER will only care you don’t die on their watch. If you are worried about something like cancer, that will mean you won’t get treatment most likely. If you are worried about TB you likely will get treatment, it depends on what you are sick with.

janbb's avatar

I’m almost positive you would not be able to get free care in Canada as a non-citizen.

phoebusg's avatar

You’ll need personal insurance coverage if you’re not Canadian. Except for real emergencies, otherwise you’ll be charged.

One example is:
http://www.greatwestlife.com/001/Home/Individual_Products/Insurance/Health___Dental_Insurance/index.htm

wundayatta's avatar

If Sarah Palin goes to Canada for health care, why not you? I think you’ll have to pay out of pocket. It’s not going to be free, but it might be less expensive.

Loominous's avatar

Through self diagnosis it is most likely kidney / appendix / hernia / or cancer. There has been a pain in my side for almost four weeks, and I have urinated blood.

faye's avatar

You do have to pay if you don’t have a province issued health card in Alberta, but maybe it’s cheaper than the States? You have to add travelling expenses, too. Did you have a fall or get punched in the kidney? I had a kidney infection after a fall bruised it. You really need a doctor for that!!

JLeslie's avatar

@Loominous You must go to the doctor. It could be an infection. Is your pain on the right or left? Front or back? One side or both?

lillycoyote's avatar

@Loominous @JLeslie I absolutely right. You need to see a doctor. Sooner rather than later. And she’s right about the xrays, they are generally not all that expensive as far as medical services go. Self diagnosis isn’t really a very good idea. Blood in your urine can be very serious symptom but it doesn’t necessarily point to the illnesses you mention. Try to find a clinic in your area that will provide services at a lower cost or on a sliding scale. You will need some lab work too, I’m sure. That can be costly but if they can do just what they need to do to diagnose this and rule out more serious things it’s going to be worth it just to keep you from worrying yourself to death about whether or not you have cancer. It may very well be simply an infection as @JLeslie points out. You get that taken care of you’re good to go. You are putting yourself through a lot of worry about cancer and expensive surgery, I think, with self diagnosis. Better to find out and do it soon, please?

JLeslie's avatar

Let the doctor know you are very tight on funds, and you want to go best guess first, and then second guess, etc. If he feelis strongly it is an infection, maybe he will treat with just a urine culture, and not bother with a blood count if the urine is positive. I am not a doctor, but doctors many times do multiple tests at once to rule out and diagnose, for now maybe he will focus on diagnosing since you are concerned with cost. Kidney damage is very serious, you don’t want it to get to that point. If it does, even with insurance you will be likely paying bills, and God forbid a more chronic condition. Ask prices up front, and put it on your credit card.

Blueroses's avatar

Does your city have an “Ask a Nurse” hotline? When I was uninsured, the hotline helped refer me to a low-fee doctor for an x-ray.

Edit: Also, in these parts, the Catholic hospital is much cheaper than the private clinic and more likely to work with under-insured patients.

ETpro's avatar

Non citizens are not covered in Canada’s single payer health care system. You have to be paying into the tax base that supports it to get care. If you had the money for a trip to France, they have the number 1 rated system in the world and they cover everyone, even tourists who need care. But the cost of the trip would likely be greater than the cost of just going to the state hospital’s emergency room and paying them off as you are able, or putting the care on your credit card.

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