Under the aegis of the Ontario Health Insurance Plan the Ontarians are quite thorough as regards preventative (or preventive) medicine. Unlike other parts of the world, Ontario, or Canada in general, provides generous health benefits, mostly free, although, as people never fail to point out, we do contribute to the cost of this generosity, up to $900 per resident, from our annual income tax.
Fair enough, in my opinion.
Now that we're old enough to start following doctors' orders, Chris and I have been taking advantage of various preventative services. During the last month-and-a-bit, we have been examined like a couple of old cars that need maintenance checks because of their high mileage.
My family doctor recently gave me a three yearly, hour long, routine check-up which paid attention to most of my organs, followed by a whole battery of blood tests: to analyse cholesterol levels, blood glucose levels, essential chemicals for liver and kidney function, along with a urinalysis and a colon cancer test. I was recommended to book a routine mammogram, at the local hospital. During the last few years I have had regular bone density tests done, as well as ultrasounds to look for heart and ovary defects, and a cystoscopy, all free, with all the results so far reassuring. The cost of my annual eye-test is covered by the OHIP, besides. This year I'm also getting free inoculations for more than 20 types of pneumonia as well as my annual flu "shot" (flu "jab", they'd call it, back in Britain) and a just-in-case vaccination against shingles. How much all these tests would have cost had it been a private service, I dread to think --- not cheap!
My husband has undergone a similar number of examinations, and a couple of weeks ago had two investigative surgical procedures done at the same time. The surgeon and anaesthetist offered Chris a local anaesthetic for this, but he was allowed to choose a general anaesthetic if he preferred. He did prefer the total knockout; OK, no problem, he was told. I was obliged to accompany him to the hospital and back that day, so that he'd have company and a ride home after the operation and recovery period; thus we both got to witness the impressive efficiency of the hospital and the friendliness of its staff who treated us with polite and cheerful calmness throughout; a nursing assistant brought him all the way to our car in a wheelchair at the end of the morning, for example. We had been at the hospital since 6:20 am, when it was still dark.
Once again, no charge for any of the services mentioned above, and if things were to go wrong in future and we needed rides in ambulances and either emergency or long-term treatment, there'd be no charge for that, either. The emotional costs would be high, at any rate; anxiety is not so easy to prevent or pay for in advance, but at least we wouldn't have to worry about going broke during those bad experiences.