Dear Ms. Preston:
This is in response to your email about long wait time for Medicare coverage for newcomers to New Brunswick.
I can appreciate the frustration felt by newcomers to the province in having to wait to receive a Medicare card, especially if they need medical services. I agree that it is also important to support newcomers to the province for a myriad of reasons.
The Medical Services Payment Act requires two conditions to be met before a person can be considered a beneficiary, eligible for Medicare coverage. The individual must:
- be legally entitled to live in Canada, and
- be a resident of New Brunswick.
Medicare requires documentation to validate these two conditions. The list of accepted documents can be found at:
It takes time to receive, review and approve documents, and in some circumstances, to follow-up if further documentation is required.
Unfortunately, I have no influence on the processing time for immigration status. As you may be aware, that falls under the authority of the federal government via Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.
Recently, New Brunswick has witnessed a surge in immigration, both international and inter-provincial, and this has brought about an increase in applications to Medicare and MyHealthNB.
The Department of Health is taking active steps to deal with the increased demand and the backlog. We appreciate your patience and hope to process applications in a timely manner.
Hon. Bruce Fitch
Minister of Health