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A family of four taking a selfie on their bikes and wearing helmets. The Alberta health card covers basic medical services you may need in case of medical emergencies.
Your Alberta Health card covers many medical services for you and your family.

Your Alberta health card is a government-funded service that will cover many basic costs related to your medical needs. Canada has a great health care system that strives to provide free, universal health care for all its residents. Your Alberta health card will cover many medical costs for you in Alberta, as well as the rest of Canada. In this guide, we will take a look at how you can apply for your Alberta health card.

Health Care in Alberta

Alberta is known throughout Canada for its breathtaking scenery and low taxes. It also has a great health care system in place. The Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan (AHCIP) provides Albertan residents access to free medical services. AHCIP covers the cost of a lot of medical services that you would have had to pay for otherwise. Generally speaking, any medical service that is considered necessary is covered by AHCIP.

What Will Your Alberta Health Card Cover For You?

Your Alberta health card will cover a lot of basic health care services. From annual eye examinations to ambulance transportation costs, your Alberta health card has got you covered. Below are some of the services that AHCIP covers:

  • Visits to your family doctor. If you do not already have a family doctor, here is a searching tool for potential family doctors.
  • Visits to a psychiatrist.
  • Hospital visits and stays. This includes the coverage of most, if not all of the services available to you in a hospital.
  • Certain surgical services, such as bariatric surgery and oral surgery.
  • Medical tests such as blood tests.

Some services are only partially covered by your health card. These services include:

  • Annual eye examinations for anyone aged below 19 or over 65. There are specialized exceptions for people that do not belong to one of these age groups.
  • Certain dental/oral surgeries.
  • Some types of Podiatry (foot care) services.

To access a bigger list of what is and isn’t covered by AHCIP, click here.

While you’re waiting to become eligible for the Alberta health insurance program, you may want to purchase visitor travel insurance to cover unexpected medical expenses. Read more at What are the differences between the provincial health plans my family will be joining and the medical insurance you offer?

How to access free healthcare in Canada

What to Know About Living in Calgary, Alberta

What to Know About Living in Fort McMurray, Alberta

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Applying for Your Alberta Health Card

Applying to AHCIP is involves a few simple steps. The government has made it easy to apply for an Alberta health card for all its residents. As long as you follow each step, you will have your Alberta health card in no time.

Documents You Will Need to Apply for Your Health Card

You will need certain documents when you apply. These documents will prove that you are who you say you are. They will also prove that you are eligible for AHCIP.

When you apply for your Alberta health card, you will have to provide documents that prove:

  1. You live in Alberta
  2. Your identity
  3. You are legally living in Canada. This can include citizenship and permanent residency. 

Alberta Residency Documents

Proof of residency can be anything that proves you live in Alberta. To prove you live in Alberta, you can provide any of the following documents:

  • Utility or phone bills
  • Your Alberta driver’s license
  • Vehicle registration
  • Home insurance
  • Rental agreement or mortgage documents.

Identity Documents

Basically, any documents that clearly show your name and signature will count as proof of identity. However, just to be on the safe side, it is a good idea to check with the health ministry website for what documents will pass. Some examples of proofs of identity include:

  • A passport
  • Permanent resident card
  • Your Alberta driver’s license
  • Government-issued ID card
  • Canadian citizenship card.

Legal Residency in Canada

It is important not to confuse this requirement with proof of residency. This document requires you to prove you legally live in Canada. On the other hand, proof of residency requires you to prove you live in Alberta. Documents that prove your legal entitlement to be in Canada include:

  • Canadian passport
  • Permanent resident card
  • Canadian birth certificate
  • Work or study permit
  • Canadian citizenship card or certificate.

Without a document from each of these categories, you will not be able to file your application for AHCIP. Because of this, it is very important you bring all the documents you need to apply for an Alberta health card. Click here to access the full list of documents that are accepted.

Completing Your Application Form

You will also need to fill out an application form to apply for an Alberta health card. The application form is accessible online. You can access the application form by clicking here. If you need help completing your application form, many settlement agencies can help you to complete them.

How to Apply After You Have All Your Documents

After obtaining your three documents for proof and filling out the application form, you are ready to apply. In Alberta, you have the option to apply in person or by mail. In both cases, the application process is very similar.

If you decide to apply in person, you will need to visit a participating Alberta registry office. To file your application, you must bring your three original documents and the completed application form. Photocopies will not be accepted when you apply in person. To find the nearest participating Alberta registry office near you, click here.

Applying by mail is slightly different than applying in person. You will still need your application form and your three documents. However, you are not required to send in the original version of your documents. Therefore, you will have to get photocopies of your three original documents to mail to the AHCIP office. 

Keep in mind that it might take longer to process your application if you send it in by mail. If you are able to, it is a better idea to apply in person. That way, there is less room for error and you will be able to start using AHCIP right away.

For more information, tools, and free webinars about living in Canada visit our Settling in Canada resource page. We’ll help you to settle in Canada successfully!