Although the Canadian health care system provides widespread access to physician and hospital services, there remain a number of gaps in coverage that are felt most strongly by those surviving on low incomes. Consider the following information from a government document entitled “Toward a healthy future: Second report on the health of Canadians“.
Only 25% of Canadians with low incomes have dental insurance and only 45% will visit a dentist in a given year.
Only 21% of Canadians with low incomes have insurance for eye exams and corrective lenses; 64% of Canadians with higher incomes have such insurance.
Low income is a barrier to accessing mental health services, particularly those provided by non-physicians.
The prescription drug costs of 1 in 3 Canadians are not covered by government plans or employee benefits.
Canadians with low incomes are more likely to report unmet health care needs, and are more likely to report that these needs are emotional rather than physical. This may reflect the difficulty they face in accessing mental health services.
Lower income Canadians are more likely to report seeing a physician in the previous year.