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N.B. waives waiting period for health coverage

CBC News
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Friday, February 26, 2010

The New Brunswick government is eliminating the three-month waiting period for medicare coverage for newcomers to the province.

Health Minister Mary Schryer announced the policy change in the legislative assembly on Friday, which means anyone moving to New Brunswick won't have to wait before medical treatment is paid for by the province.

People who move from other provinces are usually covered by the province they're leaving during the transition.

However, this development will mean immigrants, New Brunswickers moving back from outside the country and the families of military members who have been posted abroad will be covered as soon as they arrive.

"Removing the three-month waiting period is the right thing to do, which is why the Department of Health has been working on reviewing this policy for some time," Schryer said in a statement.

"Our government recognizes that removing this barrier will enhance access to health-care services for immigrants and citizens who return home."

The policy change was recommended during public consultations with the provincial government's Population Growth Secretariat.

Under the proposed legislative amendments, individuals will need to show proof that they have established residence in New Brunswick to get health coverage.

Public Safety Minister John Foran said the changes will have a positive effect on military families.

"There are many challenges faced by military personnel and their families, and we are pleased to offer them our support, and we encourage them to come back home to New Brunswick when their deployments are done," Foran said.


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