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Home >> After You Arrive >> Health Insurance

Health Insurance

It is important to apply for health insurance as soon as possible after arriving in Kingston. Newcomers to Ontario are eligible for medical benefits under the publicly funded Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) three months after arriving in Ontario. Canadian citizens, permanent residents and landed immigrants are eligible for OHIP coverage.

OHIP is government health insurance that pays for visits to the doctor, hospital and other essential services such as surgery, X-rays and immunizations. Prescription drugs are not covered by OHIP except under certain circumstances. OHIP also doesn't cover dentist visits, ambulance services and eyeglasses (prescription lenses) (see Dental & Eye Health and Ambulance & Paramedics).

All family members, including babies, must have an OHIP card. Application forms are available from most doctor's offices, hospitals, pharmacies, and ServiceOntario OHIP offices. Forms are also available online.

To apply for a health card, you must bring original copies of documents that provide proof of your immigration status, residency in Ontario, and your identity. Parents can apply to register for OHIP on behalf of their children. Children 16 years or older apply to register for OHIP or renew their coverage.

You should carry your health card with you at all time, in case of an emergency.

In Kingston, you can apply for an OHIP card at the ServiceOntario Centre at 1055 Princess St. The centre's entrance, washrooms and parking are wheelchair accessible and close to municipal bus routes.

The office is open:

  • 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 
  • 8:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Thursday
  • 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Saturday

The office is closed on public holidays.

Note: To ensure you and your family have medical coverage during the waiting period, you will need to purchase short-term health insurance from a private company (see Private Health Care). You can do this before you arrive in Ontario or within the first few days.

For More Information

Health Care System
An overview of Canada’s publicly funded health-care system, the role of the provinces and territories and the different elements of the system. Links to studies that examine the health system and further information.

Health Care — OHIP
Ontario Immigration information about OHIP, the waiting period, services covered, how to apply for a health card, financing the first three months in Ontario, and questions and answers.

Health Care in Canada
What is health insurance, how to apply, what documents are needed, what you will receive and when the insurance takes effect.

Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP)
What is a health card, who is eligible for Ontario health insurance, the importance of carrying a health card, and a list of OHIP offices in Ontario communities.

OHIP Coverage Waiting Period
Who the three-month waiting period for OHIP applies to and a list of exempted groups. Links to ServiceOntario offices where application for OHIP is made.

How can I pay for health care in my first 3 months in Ontario, or if I don’t have OHIP?
What is private health insurance, why you need it, the role of community health centres in providing care to individuals and families without OHIP.

How do I apply for a Health (OHIP) Card?
Information about applying for an OHIP card, the documents needed, the three-month waiting period, and a directory of Service Ontario OHIP offices.

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