Nova Scotia Health Care Card and Insurance Plans

To enjoy Nova Scotia’s Medical Service Insurance, you must have your health care card.

All residents of Nova Scotia except new residents as well as visitors need Nova Scotia health care card to enjoy Nova Scotia’s health insurance programs. With this card, medical cost of the residents especially for hospital, medical as well as other health care services are covered by MSI. However, there are restrictions to the services covered by the MSI.

Even though visitors are not part of this service. A visitor can get Nova Scotia health care card after 12 months. With this card, new residents can enjoy health care insurance in Nova Scotia.

Where as Medavie Blue Cross provides Medical Services Insurance Programs on behalf of the Nova Scotia government.

It is the function of The Department of Health and Wellness to provide policy direction for these programs. As such the Hospital Insurance Program is administered directly by the Department of Health and Wellness.

In order to get the full benefits of the MSI, you have to take your signed Nova Scotia health care card with you all the time. This is because,  you must use it whenever you need medical attention. 

Nova Scotia Health Care Cards

To enjoy Nova Scotia health insurance benefits, you will need a Nova Scotia health care card. Usually, you need a proof of citizenship for this.

However, you can bring immigration documents if your proof of citizenship is not available. Once you provide any of these documents, health cards will be issued to each family member.

Just as mentioned above, you will always need your Nova Scotia health care everytime. Because of this, you must always carry it especially when you want to receive health service from a recognized hospital.  

Without the health card, you will have to pay for your services.

How to apply for Nova Scotia health Card as a new immigrant?

In order to apply for your Nova Scotia health card, you must contact Nova Scotia MSI Registration directly either by:

  • mail
  • email or
  • over the phone.

Usually in the past, you can visit the head office in Dartmouth. But due to Covid-19, the office in closed. And because of thay, you cannot go there for in-person appointments.

How to Renew your Nova Scotia Health Care Card?

First of all, you must know that your Nova Scotia health care card has an expiry date. And therefore, you must renew it once it expires.  Normally, within three months of the expiry date, you will get a “Health Card Renewal” form. Then, you must complete this form, sign it and then return the form to MSI.

Once the MSI receives your form, they will process it.  And at the completion of the rewal, you will get a new card which will also have a new expiry date.

Moreover, the MSI updates the MSI renewal form for Nova Scotia residents every year. 

Lost, Stolen or Damaged Nova Scotia Health Care Card

Whenever you lose your card, the first thing you will do is to report it to MSI. While doing this, you have to include new changes including:

  • new address
  • birth
  • adoption
  • death
  • marriage
  • divorce
  • legal separation

After that, then, contact MSI stating the reason for the change. You will also add a $10.00 fee to replace your card.

Nova Scotia Health Care Card Cards for Newborns

All parents especially new parents in Nova Scotia have the chance to activate their child’s Nova Scotia health care card.

For this service, you can visit any electronic kiosk located in your region hospitals as well as IWK.  Once a new parent accepts this, Medavie Blue Cross will get the necessary information

Then, they will send the health card within ten days. And with this, the child can enjoy all available health care benefits. . 

Medical Service Insurance

Also known as MSI, the Medical Service Insurance offers life insurance service to residents of Nova Scotia who have the Nova Scotia health care card. Any Nova Scotia resident who qualify for insurance service will get their coverage from the MSI. Some of the services provided by the MSI include:

  • Family Pharmacare
  • Senior Pharmacare
  • Insulin Pump Program etc

MSI Eligibility

Since August 1, 2014, all Nova Scotia residents outside the province can enjoy their health benefits for an additional one month. What this means is that, you can now enjoy Medical Service Insurance out Nova Scotia for seven months in a year. 

However, you must inform MSI of your absence either by phone 902-496-7008 (local) or 1-800-563-8880 (toll-free) or submitting an email to [email protected]

Furthermore, in order to be eligible for Nova Scotia Medical Service Insurance benefits you must be:

  • a Canadian Citizen or “Permanent Resident” (Landed Immigrant)
  • a resident who makes his/her permanent home in Nova Scotia
  • present in the province 183 days every calendar year; and
  • registered with MSI. 

Moreover, the following individuals are not eligible for coverage:

  • Members of the Canadian Armed Forces 
  • tourists and visitors to the province;
  • students from another province
  • inmates of federal penitentiaries.

MSI and Hospital Program Coverage

The program covers the following:

  • Nursing services 
  • Dental, hospital, doctor, and optometry services
  • Meals and accommodations in a hospital. 
  • X-rays, MRIs, CAT scans, laboratory, and some other diagnostic services.
  • All costs incurred in a hospital are covered by the MSI.
  • Physiotherapy if carried out in a hospital.
  • Removal of impacted teeth. 
  • Regular dental services for children under 14.
  • Maxillary facial and oral surgeries.
  • Examination of one eye every two years for residents below 10 years and over 64 years. 
  • Coverage for prosthetics such as artificial limbs through MSI. 

Costs /Expenses Not Covered By the MSI Plan

The MSI does not cover the following expenses:

  • Ambulances services. 
  • Regular dental. 
  • Residents under 64 are not covered for prescription medications. 
  • Paramedical services like naturopaths, chiropractors, podiatrists, massage therapists, osteopaths, and physiotherapy.
  • Nova Scotians traveling outside of their provinces. 
  • Vision care for residents between the ages of 10 and 64 
  • Hearing aids. 
  • Durable medical devices. 
  • Cosmetic surgery. 

MSI Programs And Plans

The MSI involves the following programs and eligible residents can enjoy them. However, you must have your Nova Scotia health care card. The programs include:

Family Pharmacare

This is a special program for families without drug coverage as well as families with high prescription costs.

In order to enjoy this program, you reside in Nova Scotia permanently. In addition to that, you must also have your Nova Scotia health care card. When you subscribe to this program, you will still pay the co-payment and deductible for this program which is calculated based on the family size and income.

However, the greater the need of the family, the lesser the amount they will pay. 

Senior’s Pharmacare

This program is for Nova Scotia Seniors who are above 65. Therefore, if you are above 65 and also have you health card, you can leverage this plan as a permanent resident. 

However, the senior must not have any other private or public drug coverage. Also, he must have a valid health card to be eligible.

Drug Assistance for Cancer Patients

Those who have a gross family income below $15,720 qualify for this program. In addition, you must have a valid Nova Scotia health care card.  

Community Services Pharmacare Program

This program offers Pharmacare coverage to: 

  • disability support and income assistance clients
  • children under the care of child welfare and
  • “low-income Pharmacare for Children” clients.

Palliative Care Drug Program

Nova Scotia residents who have a valid health care card, and have decided to live there for the resy of their lives. And in addition, have only 6 months or less to live can enjoy this program. 

Nova Scotia Diabetes Assistance Program

No longer available but residents can still leverage the insulin pump program for similar benefits. Moreover, residents can also opt for the private health insurance plan known as the Combo Starter. 

Insulin Pump Program

Residents of Nova Scotia who have their Nova Scotia health care card can enjoy this program. With this program, they pump-related supplies as well as insulin pumps. It provides coverage for diabetics below the age of 26. But you can only qualify for this program based on your family size and income. 

MSI Benefits

Prescription drugs   

The Seniors’ Pharmacare Program covers those over 65 who live in Nova Scotia with a valid health card. 


The province pays the cost of transportation between approved facilities for Nova Scotia residents with a health card. 

Dental benefits

Basic coverage like yearly checkups, cleanings and fillings are available to those under the age of 14.

Vision care

Residents under the age of 9 or over 65 are covered for 1 routine eye exam every 2 years. 


You’re covered for standard ward rooms only.


Chiropractic, podiatrist, naturopath, massage therapy or osteopath services are not covered. Coverage available for physiotherapy if provided at a hospital.

Nursing benefits and home care

Home care coverage varies by need and costs are based on your income. 

Medical supplies

Some coverage is available for arm and leg prostheses and mastectomy protheses for those that meet eligibility criteria. 

In-Patient Service

There is coverage for emergency in-patient services with a daily maximum plus a percentage of ancillary fees incurred. 

Health Care For International Students

As an international students in Nova Scotia, you do not have any health coverage. In order to have health coverage, you must purchase it. However, you have to check if your institution has health care plans for international students to opt in.

Even though, Nova Scotia does not offer public health insurance to international students. But you can purchase it in as much as you have lived there for at least 12 months. The cost of this plan is approximately $650 for 12months of coverage.

However, after the first year, students may become eligible to apply for a Nova Scotia Health Card. With this, they can get access to free basic health coverage through Medical Services Insurance (MSI). 

Healthcare Options For International Students

Innternatinal students in Nova Scotia have some tools available for them. In order to explore private insurance options in Nova Scotia, they use them.  

Find Insurance

With the aid of this tool, international students can look for insurance programs managed by Canadian life and other private insurance companies. 

OmbudService for Life & Health Insurance (OLHI)

This is Canada’s independent information service for consumers of Canadian life and health insurance. Therefore, international students who have problem with insurance can meet them.  

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I become an organ and/or tissue donor?

For information on how to become an organ or tissue donor, you can call the MSI Registration and Enquiry Department at 902-496-7008

Do I need to bring my health card each time I seek medical attention?

Yes. Please carry your signed Nova Scotia Health Card with you at all times.

How do I cancel a Health Card?

Contact MSI Registration and Enquiry Department by phone at
902-496-7008 or 1-800-563-8880 (toll free in Nova Scotia).

You may also email your change to [email protected]