The first thing you should do when moving into a new place is to purchase health coverage and discover a nearby medical facility. After settling in Canada, it is a crucial initial step to obtain a valid health card. 

To get Medical Service Insurance (MSI) health care in Nova Scotia, you must register yourself first. Submit your application in person after downloading the form. An online submission option isn’t available. You must attach the required documents with the application form before submission. Otherwise, it may not get approval. You may get a card after 10 days.

You may have private health coverage, which is in effect as soon as you arrive in the nation. While you stand in line for the processing and delivering your health card, private coverage might be effective for you.

Continue reading to discover more about the extended health care, coverage for travellers entering and leaving Canada, and prescription plan below. Get ready, as we are going to dive into details. 

How Does Nova Scotia Msi For New Immigrants Work?

Despite being offered nationwide, each province manages health services locally. In Canada, PR holders and newcomers have the right to an ongoing approach to publicly supported healthcare.

Nova Scotia provides health services to its residents via a Medical Services Insurance (MSI) program. This program is available to all lawful citizens of Nova Scotia, and the Nova Scotia Health Authority is responsible for managing the MSI program. 

What’s Covered

The MSI program covers the following clinically essential services:

  • Eyecare.
  • Dental.
  • Clinical.
  • Hospital.

But these services have minor limitations. This coverage includes all medically required procedures that may occur in any hospital environment, blood tests, and some diagnoses.

If you have a family member under 14 years of age, then you may avail of dental treatments under the MSI service of Nova Scotia. Moreover, seniors above 65 and minors of age 10 may get their eye checkup once in two years under the MSI program.

What’s Not Covered

Unfortunately, the MSI program does not provide coverage for some lengthy paramedical or elective services. The following services are excluded from the Nova Scotia MSI program:

  • Foot surgery massage.
  • Ambulance services have a fixed rate for every one of about $142.50.
  • Osteopathic manipulation.
  • Physiotherapist.
  • Cosmetic procedures.
  • Audio devices and tools
  • Optical care.

Newcomers may get Medical Services Insurance exactly on the day when they arrive here in Nova Scotia. And you cannot deny that the processing time of a medical card application is not too lengthy.

For these reasons, we must advise you that get private health insurance during your initial few weeks in Canada. It would help you if you ever require medical aid in Nova Scotia. Plus, it might save you from the possibly expensive expenses of medical treatments.

Eligibility Criteria for a Nova Scotia Health Card

The following are the eligibility criteria for a Nova Scotia Health Card:

  • Each and every person who legally resides in Nova Scotia are entitled to have a Nova Scotia health card. This card grants access to all medical services under the MSI program. 
  • You must prove your Canadian legal residency and intention to spend a minimum of 183 out of 365 days in Nova Scotia. 
  • Make Nova Scotia your primary residence and your own home to be able to have a Nova Scotia health card.

Non-Eligible Residents

You are not eligible to have an MSI health card if you remain out of the city or province for more than seven months for any reason.

Signing Up For The Nova Scotia MSI

You must show your Nova Scotia health card, a form of identity document, to obtain medical care. Following are some basic steps that you must follow while signing up for Nova Scotia MSI:

  • Collect all the supporting documentation you will need to submit with your application if you are qualified to apply for a health card.
  • Fill out the application form and attach all the documents that you gathered.
  • Submit your application to the SMI registration department.
  • After a defined processing time and approval, you will get a health card via mail within 10 working days.

Required Documents

  • Attach proof of your immigration nature, like if it’s for a work permit, tourist visa, or for permanent settlement.
  • Add documents showing that you are a Canadian citizen.

You can visit your local newcomer services organization for further details. You may also go to MSI Portal for getting additional information about getting a health card. Following is the method through which you may apply for a health card:

Applying In-Person

Walk to MSI Registration and Enquiry Department to submit your application. 

You cannot apply online for medical health care in Nova Scotia.

Updating Or Renewing Your MSI Card

You can update your health card if necessary by having the following options:

Renewal Process

Based on your birth month, your health card expires right after the completion of four years. You will get a renewal notification three months before the expiration date. You must fill out the health card renewal form, attest it by signing, update the information if necessary, and send it back to the office.

MSI receives your paperwork, processes this application, and finally approves it. Soon, you get a renewed health card from Nova Scotia. Here, you can obtain the Renewal Form, download it, fill, and send it to the MSI office.

Replacement Process

You should contact MSI if your health card is broken, robbed, or lost. In this case, you have to pay about $10 to replace your broken or lost health card.

Changing Your Address

Suppose you want to relocate from one place to other in Nova Scotia. In that case, it is necessary to provide all the basic and updated information regarding your address to the MSI office. It’s necessary to avoid any confusion in case someone may post your health card if it gets lost.

Moreover, this updated information may also include the following:

  • Residence.
  • Separation.
  • Divorce.
  • Addition of a new member.
  • Removal of a member in case of any death.
  • Adoption of a child.

 If you want to do the whole procedure online, you can do by clicking on ‘Change Your Address’.

How To Get A Nova Scotia Health Card As A New Immigrant?

You must reach out MSI registration office to apply for a health card as a newbie. You can apply via:

  • Mail.
  • Phone.
  • Sending email.

You can also make in-person appointments at the head office in Dartmouth. You cannot get your health card application form online, so you have to talk with the Nova Scotia MSI Registration Office workers. 

You may call the MSI registration office at 902-496-7008 for details. It’s crucial to get some information regarding documents and other paperwork. As a new immigrant, you will face some obstacles finding the office, so we recommend that you find out the right direction before heading towards the office.

What Is Covered By Nova Scotia MSI?

All Nova Scotians who live there year-round (183 days) are eligible to enjoy the facilities of a Health Card. You can learn more about the health care coverage of Nova Scotia health card below:


Nova Scotia does not provide routine dental care as part of its dental coverage. To help those who qualify, it does provide a few dental programs:

  • Children’s Dental Health Program: Children under 14 years of age are covered for preventive dental care. But, not all dental services are covered under this program. You still have to pay for some treatments.
  • Oral And Maxillofacial Surgery Program: Any dental surgeon who prescribes dental surgery will be covered under this program. These surgeries also include pre and post-surgery care and all the hospital meetings with doctors.
  • Maxillofacial Prosthodontics Program offers coverage if you require head and neck deficiency therapies.
  • Craniofacial Program: You may get treatment under this program if you have craniofacial abnormalities.
  • Special Needs Oral Health Program: It covers your fundamental dental requirements if you have any intellectual disabilities. 
  • Exceptional Situations: Dental professionals may request dental coverage under this program if you require medically required procedures, but those treatments do not lie under any coverage program. 

A worthful tip!

Before considering the exceptional situation program, you must rely on your private health insurance card

Drugs On Prescription

The residents of Nova Scotia can avail several public medications through pharmacare (MSI) programs. They are made to assist citizens with paying for specific services and prescription medications. You can check out the following pharmacare programs:

  • Senior’s Pharmacare Program: Seniors 65 or above may get health care under this program.
  • Drug Assistance For Cancer Patients: Patients who have cancer and earn less than about $25,000 annually are eligible for this program.
  • Family Pharmacare Program: Families who cannot have prescription drug coverage and, owing to less income, can’t pay medical bills can avail of this program. It is accessible to anybody who owns a valid MSI card.
  • Palliative Care Drug Program: This program is accessible to locals and designed for lifetime home usage.
  • Department Of Community Services: This program offers services to the following:
  • The clients of the disability support program.
  • Children in foster care.
  • Clients of low-income pharmacare children program.
  • Recipients of income support.
  • Additional Healthcare

MSI offers additional health coverage through initiatives like:

  • Drug consultation for cancer patients.
  • Insulin infusion initiative.
  • Diabetes support program in Nova Scotia.

Coverage While Visiting Canada

All Canadian provinces except Quebec signed the Reciprocal Billing Agreement. The benefit of this agreement is that whichever province of Canada you visit, you will get medical services by showing a Nova Scotia health card. Everything will be refunded to your home province.

If the medical care provider asks you to pay for the treatments, don’t forget to provide MSI with the receipt for review. If you intend to leave Nova Scotia for three months, the health card scenario will be different.

Please take advice from MSI via or contact the office. You may get information on the following:

  • Your scheduled departure date from the province.
  • Anticipated return date.
  • The reason for what caused your absence.

Depending on the cause of your absence and the situations surrounding it, the duration and scope of your insurance card may change. Only unusual situations result in payment for prescription medications bought outside your province.

Travel Insurance Outside Of Canada

MSI will give you insured health services for emergency medical treatment if you travel outside Canada. Canadian resources pay for:

  • Unexpected sickness or injury occurs while you are temporarily away, medical services are necessary.
  • Unexpected sickness or injury requires in-patient care when you are out of Canada.

The following services are not covered by the MSI program when outside of Canada:

  • Routinely analyzing vision.
  • Infant’s dental services and pharmacare.
  • X-rays, blood tests, and lab charges from private and outpatient institutions.

If you plan to go outside of the province, then we must advise you to obtain a Travel Health Plan for your time away to cover additional treatments.

What Is Not Covered By Nova Scotia MSI?

The following services are excluded from MSI coverage even though they are medically essential services:

  • Hospitalization, even if it’s private or semi-private.
  • Cosmetic procedures.
  • If you are between the age of 10 to 64, you may receive vision treatment.
  • If you are older than 14, you may get regular dental treatments.
  • Prescription medicine for residents of age less than 65.
  • Medical checkups are required for insurance or employment.
  • Ambulance services, excluding travel between hospitals.
  • Psychiatrists.
  • Alternative medicine practitioners include podiatrists, physiotherapists, chiropractors, massage therapists, and osteopaths.
  • Wheelchairs, hearing tools, and other medically necessary accessories.
  • Physicals are required for jobs, insurance, schools, or immigration.

When Does The Nova Scotia MSI Coverage Begin?

Once you submit your application, it takes about ten working days to obtain your health card via mail after approval of the application. You might be able to get assistance from your local community organization or newbie service if you have any queries about how to get an MSI card in Nova Scotia.

What Is Covered Under Nova Scotia Family Pharmacare?

The Nova Scotia family pharmacare program is a government medical services insurance program created to assist Nova Scotians with the expense of prescription medications. Suppose your family has no health coverage or cannot pay for the prescription expenses; you may get assistance with the pharmaceutical expenses.

This program is open to all the residents of Nova Scotia having valid MSI coverage. It would be best if you committed to annually supplying the Canada Revenue Agency with information on your family and proof of your family’s earnings in addition to holding a health card.

The Nova Scotia formulary lists prescription medicines, services, and other associated supplies that a family pharmacare program provides.

What Is Covered By Pharmacare For Seniors In Nova Scotia?

A hospital insurance program called Nova Scotia Seniors’ pharmacare helps seniors who qualify for their prescription medications’ expenses. Anyone who wants to be eligible for this assistance must:

  • Be a Nova Scotian.
  • 65 years of age or older.
  • Own a current health card.
  • Not be covered by other programs that cover prescription drugs.

Your Nova Scotia Medical Service Insurance (MSI) card may become your pharmacare card when you sign up for this program. The following are the factors depending on which you can pay your yearly premium:

  • Your household’s earnings.
  • Yearly copayment at a pharmacy or to seniors’ pharmacare program.

These are the yearly sentencing guidelines for the copayment and premium that Nova Scotia pays. You can also use the online calculator to calculate what will be your annual premium if you are at your annual income into the box.

Medical Services Insurance For Students

Students in Nova Scotia have the same medical coverage. If you satisfy the following criteria, you may get coverage of MSI:

  • You must complete your one-year research or study.
  • You have been through an annual waiting time.
  • It would help if you did not spend more than a month outside the province.
  • As soon as you complete your studies for one year, you may submit your application for a health card on the thirteenth month.
  • You have to attach your study permit card with the application form.

Check Out The Nova Scotia Health Card | How to make health card in Nova Scotia, Canada | MSI Card | In2Can Vlogs:


Can I Have Health Cards In 2 Provinces?

No, you can’t have health cards in 2 provinces. You can avail health card from one province only at a time. Whenever you try to apply for a new card in any other province, a notification is sent to the head office of the province where you live.

So, you don’t need to have a health card separately in other provinces. If you plan to shift permanently from one province to another, you may use your previous province’s health card until your new card isn’t in your hand.

Can You Have Health Care In Two Provinces?

Yes, you can have health care in two provinces at a time. For example, if you live alone in one province and your family is in another. Naturally, if you get some serious ailment, you may receive your first aid from your home province, and for further care, you may go to the province where your family lives.

This way, you can have health care from two provinces as your health record belongs to your home province. You may get medication from a suitable province under your health card. There is another situation:

Some health services are coordinated by some areas, including Maritimes. You may move to another province for treatment. Your medical treatment must be deemed medically required and unavailable locally to receive care outside your jurisdiction.

How Long Does It Take To Get A Nova Scotia Health Card?

It requires 10 working days to get a Nova Scotia health card. It is not a long duration like another province. Nor do you have to wait for a longer period of three months to make it a home province.

Nova Scotia offers a straightforward and brief processing time for your application. This is why newbies choose Nova Scotia as their new home province. You have to prove that you intend to live here for at least 183 days in Nova Scotia.

Final Thoughts

Now you know that Nova Scotia does not offer a waiting duration that stops newbies from receiving health coverage during the initial days like other provinces in Canada. However, since applying for an MSI card may take time, it’s always a good idea to plan ahead by looking for private health coverage.

Otherwise, you may have to pay big money to pay medical bills if you become hurt, unwell, or ill. You may avail of any type of medical services in this dense province. Nova Scotia will never disappoint you in providing health, employment, study, and entertainment services. 

So what are you waiting for? Go, and pack your bags for Nova Scotia. You may trust OnTheMoveCanada to discuss any issue regarding getting a personal health card and MSI coverage before shifting to Nova Scotia. Take Care!