Best Health Insurance in Canada For 2023
Did you know that over 30% of medical costs in Canada are not covered by your provincial healthcare? Most families end up paying this out of their pocket leaving them with a huge financial burden. That's why it's essential to have good private health insurance.
Private health insurance also helps you cover essential yet expensive services like dental care, vision care, and prescription medications, many of which are not covered or offered very limited protection by Canadian Medicare.
But how do you know which is the best plan for you? In this guide, we take you through the best health insurance plans in Canada, their coverage, pros and cons, and prices. You can compare the plans and get quotes using our free comparator at the top of this page.
Top 8 best health insurance plans in Canada
- Sun Life health insurance: Hassle-free policy access
- GMS health insurance: Comprehensive coverage
- Green Shield Canada health insurance: Extensive options for every budget
- Manulife health insurance: The most comprehensive options
- Blue Cross health insurance: The most flexible choice
- Desjardins health insurance review: Wide coverage
- CAA health insurance: The best bundling discounts
- Canada Life health insurance: Best guaranteed policies
Our top 8 Canada's best health insurances (2023)
Sun Life health insurance: Hassle-free policy access
Sun Life offers three health plans, all with differing levels of coverage which allows you to find a plan that is tailored to your specific needs. It has a comprehensive online portal and an app that allows you hands-on access to your claims and benefits information even while on the go.
The policies of Sun Life personal health insurance are a sensible choice if you do not have benefits through your employer, you are losing your group coverage, or if you would like additional benefits not offered by your employer’s or province’s healthcare (like AHCIP in Alberta, MSP in BC) and drug coverage.
Note that you must have provincial or territorial coverage to apply for personal health insurance.
Pros of Sun Life
- Submit the claim online or via the app
- Quick and easy online quote
- Option of having a semi-private hospital room with all plans
- Reimbursement for paramedical services
Cons of Sun Life
- Emergency travel medical, and vision are not included in the Basic plan
- Each family member must have the same plan
If you would like to explore further and get a Sun Life health insurance quote that is personalized to meet your unique needs, you can do so below and get results in a few moments.
GMS health insurance: Comprehensive coverage
GMS offers plans ranging from basic coverage to comprehensive health coverage, all of which have the option to add dental benefits and/or drug benefits. With GMS, you will be able to tailor a plan to fit your health needs.
They have a comprehensive online portal, My GMS, which allows for easy access to your benefit information and the ability to submit a claim online. Their travel plans for certain plans automatically add COVID-19 treatment coverage.
GMS health insurance Canada is a choice for you if you do not have benefits through your employer, are starting your own business, or would like additional benefits not offered by your employer’s or province’s public coverage.
- My GMS portal access
- Submit a claim online or via the app
- Counselling and speech therapy are covered in some plans
- Some GMS policy reviews online have criticized the limited dental plan
- Some reviews note that hospital benefits are not automatically included
- Vision and travel insurance not included in the basic plan
If you think GMS is the right fit for you or would like to give it a try, you can now get a quote from GMS health insurance and get a policy that suits your unique needs and budget the best.
Green Shield Canada health insurance: Extensive options for every budget
Green Shield Canada, also known as simply GSC, is a non-profit insurance provider. The GSC health insurance can be bundled with other policies to save money.
Green Shield offers more affordable packages than some of its competitors, especially for younger customers who are currently in good health. This could be a great economical choice for non-smoking young adults.
However, its dental insurance policy must be purchased separately for basic plans or as an add-on. But it is one of those rare insurances that covers pre-existing conditions and does not require a medical questionnaire for its basic plan.
Pros of GSC
- Excellent drug cover with an affordable price
- Comprehensive cover for health professionals
- Good deals for young people with low health needs needs
- Mental health services coverage
Cons of GSC
- Dental coverage is not automatically included in basic plans
Manulife health insurance: The most comprehensive options
Manulife offers many comprehensive plans - whether you are looking for dental benefits, drug benefits, or a combination, you will be able to find a plan that works for your unique needs.
There is a comprehensive online portal offered by Manulife health insurance for easy access to policy information and to submit a claim online. All health and dental plans have the option to add Manulife Vitality which gives you the opportunity to earn rewards and save on how much you pay.
Manulife's plans could be a good choice for you if you do not have coverage through your employer, you are losing your group coverage, or if you would like additional benefits not offered by your employer’s or province’s coverage such as dental or medication-only coverage.
- Manulife Vitality rewards program
- Submit claims online or via the app
- Option to choose dental-only, medication-only, or a combination plan
- Option of having private or semi-private hospital room with all plans
- Some Manulife reviews note that hospital benefits are not automatically included
- Basic traveler’s insurance only covers the first 9 days of a trip
- No specific policy for retirees
Blue Cross health insurance: Most flexible choice
The Canadian Association of Blue Cross Plans is a federation of non-profit insurance providers operating across Canada since 1938. Its members collectively insure over 7 million Canadians under their federally licensed coverage.
Blue Cross Health Insurance offers several medical insurance Canada plans that can include health benefits, drug, and dental coverage. It provides an easy-access online portal to your benefits information and lets you submit claims. The plans of Blue Cross Health Insurance Canada allow for the optional add-ons of services such as critical illness coverage and hospital expenses.
Blue Cross private health insurance is for people who do not have access to a private group plan, or if they would like additional benefits not offered by their employer’s or province’s healthcare program (like Ontario Health Insurance Plan or the MSP in BC), and drug coverage such as dental or medication-only coverage.
For freelancers, there is a special self-employed package tailormade to meet their unique needs. Blue Cross student health insurance is affordable for those in higher education or recent graduates.
Pros of Blue Cross
- Named Canada's most respected health insurance company in 2022 by the Most Respected Award Program
- Connected Care digital health platform
- Self-service options
- Submit claims online or via the app
- Mix and match plans as needed
Cons of Blue Cross
- Some Blue Cross Canada health insurance reviews have criticized the customer service
- Dental coverage is limited
- Only available to Canadian citizens
Desjardins health insurance review: Wide coverage
With an illustrious history, Desjardins is a leading provider of insurance in Canada. Desjardins health insurance plans can be bundled with other policies like travel, life, and dental in order to save money.
Compared to competitors, Desjardins premiums are slightly higher however they offer a wider range of coverages. That said, in some ways, the company is behind some of its competitors as it does not offer the ability to sign up for a medical insurance Canada policy online.
- Dental, medical insurance, vision, and travel coverage included in the standard plan
- Online health platform and 24/7 telephone assistance
- High maximum coverage limits
- Enhanced hospital care
- A policy can only be issued on the 1st or 15th of the month
- Lack of comprehensive online services
- Plans not available after 70 years old
CAA health insurance: The best bundling discounts
The CAA, or the Canadian Automobile Association, was founded more than 115 years ago. It is one of the largest not-for-profit automobile associations in Canada. It also offers CAA insurance packages, including health insurance Canada plans.
CAA has partnered with Manulife for over 20 years, allowing them to offer pre-packaged plans mix and match plans tailored to your specific needs. They have a 30-day guarantee where if you are not satisfied with the coverage, you may request a refund within 30 days of receiving your policy.
This provider is a choice for you if you do not have health benefits through your employer, you are losing your group coverage, or you would like to mix and match prescription and dental coverage. Note that you must have provincial or territorial health and drug coverage to apply for private coverage.
- Ability to mix and match plans
- Discounts are available when you bundle health and dental
- 30-day refund policy
- Partnership with Manulife
- No online claims submission
- Some CAA policy reviews have cited long wait times for dental treatment
Canada Life health insurance: Best guaranteed policies
Founded in 1847, Canada Life is the country's first home-grown insurer and today has more than 12 million clients. Canada Life offers a variety of levels of coverage and plans that have been designed to suit your needs, including prescription drugs, dental care, vision care, and more.
They have comprehensive optional add-ons for you to personalize your health plan. They also offer a 10-day look-and-see period where you can cancel your policy with no penalty.
Canada Life health insurance is for you if you do not have medical benefits through your employer, you are losing group coverage, or you want additional benefits not offered by your existing coverage.
Note that you must have provincial or territorial health and drug coverage to apply for private coverage.
- Multiple plans that offer guaranteed acceptance
- Quick and easy online quote and application
- Comprehensive optional coverage add-ons
- Travel medical insurance is not automatically included in their plans (it is an optional add-on)
- Some Canada Life policy reviews from customers online have noted long callback times
Among the top health insurance companies in Canada are also other providers like RBC Health Insurance agency, TD Health Insurance, and Costco Health Insurance.
You can now use our comparator to compare prices, coverage, and more, and get free quotes in no time. You can get a policy with personalized coverage to suit your best needs.
Compare The Best Health Insurance Plans in Seconds
What is health insurance?
So how does health insurance work in Canada? In Canada, health insurance helps to pay the cost of medical expenses incurred from illness or injury. It can also cover some everyday medical expenses such as dental, vision, and prescriptions.
On top of access to universal public health insurance through one’s province or territory, one may obtain additional or extended health insurance through one’s employer, buy it independently, or qualify for supplemental government-provided coverage.
What is travel health insurance?
Travel health insurance is a type of medical insurance that provides coverage for medical expenses and emergencies when an individual is traveling outside of their home country. It offers protection against unforeseen events such as illness, injury, accidents, or medical treatments needed while abroad.
This extended health insurance coverage includes medical care, hospitalization, prescription medications, emergency medical evacuation, and in some cases, trip cancellation or interruption. It fills the gap left by the provincial Canadian health insurance plans by providing coverage for medical costs incurred outside of Canada.
In essence, travel health insurance Canada plans like Manulife or CAA travel health insurance or from any other health insurance agency complement Health Insurance Canada by offering protection against medical expenses that may arise during international travel, ensuring that Canadians are financially safeguarded against unexpected health-related incidents while away from home.
Public health insurance in Canada
Public health insurance is universal health coverage funded through taxes and administered by the government. One is required to have a health insurance card to receive medical services. Public health insurance in Canada differs significantly from province to province.
Often referred to as Medicare, the public care system covers essential medical services and treatments for Canadian citizens and permanent residents. Some key points of coverage include:
- Doctor Visits: Medically necessary visits to doctors and specialists.
- Hospital Care: Hospital stays, surgeries, and emergency medical services.
- Diagnostic Tests: X-rays, laboratory tests, and other diagnostic procedures.
- Prescription Medications: Coverage varies by province and age, with some provinces providing assistance for prescription drug costs.
- Maternity Care: Prenatal care, childbirth, and postpartum care.
- Mental Health Services: Access to psychiatric care and counseling (with limitations).
- Preventive Care: Some preventive services like vaccinations.
Private health insurance in Canada
Private health insurance is health coverage that covers expenses not paid by the public system. It is either purchased by an individual or offered as a benefit by an employer. This extended health insurance typically reimburses a percentage of prescription drugs, dental care, supplemental health care, medical equipment and nursing, and vision care.
There are basic, inexpensive plans that can help pay a portion of medical expenses. More complete, more expensive options offer greater reimbursement for a wider range of treatments. These plans may include services like access to therapists and chiropractors, semi-private hospital rooms, catastrophic drugs, emergency travel, and orthodontic services.
We highly recommend getting a private insurance plan from the top 10 insurance companies in Canada using our comparator at the top of this page. It can help you access better care when you need it while saving you from large, unexpected expenses. Also note that health insurance Ontario plans might be different from BC health insurance or private health insurance Quebec plans or Saskatchewan health insurance plans.
What differences between public and private health insurance?
In Canada, both public and private health care exist. Every citizen or permanent resident may benefit from universal public health insurance. Examples are OHIP in Ontario, Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan (AHCIP), RAMQ in Quebec, and the Medical Services Plan in British Columbia. Supplemental private insurance covers additional expenses and services not included in the public coverage. Private insurers include Sun Life, Manulife, Desjardins, GMS, Blue Cross Canada, CAA, and Canada Life among others.
How much is health insurance in Canada?
The cost of private health insurance plans differs greatly across Canada and across companies. The average cost of health insurance coverage can depend on:
- Where you live
- The level of health insurance plan desired
- Your earnings
- Your age
You'll need to get a personalized quote to be sure of the price. You can get health insurance quotes in just seconds with our comparison tool at the top of this page. Know that the cost also varies from one health insurance agency to another.
How much does health insurance cost per month in Canada?
If you're wondering, how much is health insurance a month for a single person in Canada? Well, it depends. The cost of health insurance in Canada varies based on factors like coverage, age, location, and provider or company. For basic plans covering prescription drugs, dental, and vision care, monthly premiums might typically range from $50 to $150 or more.
Premiums can be lower for younger individuals and higher for older ones. Comprehensive plans with extra benefits can have higher costs. But here are approximate prices for health insurance in Canada.
|Province||Price Range for Basic Plan|
|Ontario||$75 - $125 per month|
|British Columbia||$60 - $130 per month|
|Alberta||$55 - $140 per month|
How much is health insurance in Ontario?
Health insurance in Ontario for an individual might typically cost anywhere from $75 to $125 per month for basic coverage. This would essentially cover services not covered by OHIP, like prescription drugs, dental care, and vision care. Family plans will be more expensive, often ranging from $150 to $500 or more per month, depending on the extent of coverage and the size of your family.
How much is health insurance in the US?
Health insurance for travel for Canadians in the U.S. varies greatly due to factors like age, current medical condition, coverage type, and duration of stay. However, here are the most common policies Canadians visiting the US can consider for having US health insurance coverage while crossing the border:
- Travel Insurance USA: Short-term coverage for emergencies. Costs depend on age, health, and stay duration, ranging from a few dollars per day to higher amounts.
- Visitors Insurance: Tailored plans for medical emergencies. Premiums range from around $30 to $150+ monthly based on coverage and age.
- Snowbird Insurance: For retirees, offering extended coverage. Prices depend on age, health, and chosen coverage.
- Group Plans: Some associations offer discounted group plans for members. These plans might offer more competitive rates compared to individual plans.
- Exclusions: Plans might not cover pre-existing conditions or could have limitations.
To find the right coverage and price, research various insurers, compare plans, and consider coverage levels, deductibles, and potential expenses. Consulting experts or brokers or using our comparator at the top of this page can simplify the process.
What is pre existing condition in health insurance?
A pre-existing condition in health insurance refers to a medical condition or illness that an individual has before obtaining a policy. Companies or providers often consider these conditions when underwriting policies. Coverage for pre-existing conditions can vary, with some plans excluding them or imposing waiting periods before coverage applies.
8 tips to find the cheapest health insurance in Canada
- Compare Plans: Research and compare various policy options for cost, coverage, and benefits, using the HelloSafe comparator at the top of this page. It's free and easy to use.
- Government Programs: Enroll in your province's public healthcare program, like OHIP or MSP.
- High Deductibles: Opt for plans with higher deductibles for lower monthly premiums, if you can afford the deductible.
- Essential Coverage: Focus on necessary medical services to avoid costly add-ons.
- Group & Student Plans: Check for group plans through employers or student-focused options.
- Family Coverage: Consider family plans for cost-efficient coverage if you have dependents.
- Healthy Lifestyle: Some insurers offer discounts for healthy habits like non-smoking.
- Government Subsidies: Determine if your income qualifies you for government subsidies to reduce costs.
While aiming for affordability, ensure the chosen plan meets your healthcare needs and comprehensively covers potential expenses. Always review terms and conditions before finalizing your choice.
How does private health insurance work in Canada?
As we mentioned before, private health insurance in Canada offers additional coverage beyond public healthcare, including services like prescription drugs, dental care, and specialist treatments. It included the following factors.
- Monthly Premiums: Subscribers pay regular premiums for their private plan, which vary based on coverage level and provider.
- Deductibles and Copays: Some plans involve deductibles – a set amount paid by the subscriber before coverage starts. There might be copays based on your plan.
- Claims Process: Individuals provide insurance details during appointments. They then submit claims for reimbursement, accounting for deductibles and copays.
- Supplementary Support: Private insurance complements public coverage, reducing wait times for specialists and elective procedures, enhancing access to care, and providing financial security for unforeseen medical expenses.
When does health insurance expire after leaving the job in Canada?
In Canada, health insurance typically expires on the last day of your employment for employer-sponsored group plans. Some employers may offer a short grace period of coverage post-employment. Provincial or territorial coverage (Medicare) remains unaffected by job changes as long as residency requirements are met.
For private plans, expiration depends on the policy terms; some are continuous, while others have specific renewal dates. Review policy documents and consult with HR or the insurer for precise details and plan for uninterrupted coverage during job transitions.
What is a deductible in health insurance?
A deductible is the amount you must pay before your coverage kicks in. Essentially, it's the initial portion of the expenses that the policyholder must cover themselves before the insurance company begins to reimburse or cover additional expenses.
For instance, if you have a plan with a $500 deductible and you incur medical expenses totaling $1,000, you would need to pay the first $500 (deductible) yourself, and then the company would cover the remaining $500 or a portion of it, depending on the terms of your plan.
Plans with higher health insurance deductibles usually have lower premiums. It's a way to share costs between you and the insurer. Selecting a deductible when you buy a plan depends on your financial situation and how much risk you're comfortable with.
What is copay in health insurance?
"Copay," short for "copayment," is the specific amount of money that an insured individual must pay for a covered healthcare service or prescription medication. It is a fixed, predetermined cost that the individual must contribute towards the total cost of the service, while the insurance plan covers the remaining portion.
For example, if you have a plan with a $20 copay for doctor visits, it means that every time you visit a doctor, you'll need to pay $20 out of your pocket at the time of the visit. The insurance company then covers the rest of the cost associated with the visit.
In Canada's public healthcare system, there aren't traditional copays for most basic medical services. However, it often does not cover expenses for services like prescription drugs, dental care, vision care, and paramedical treatments.
This is where private plans become essential. Private health insurance companies in Canada help cover costs not included in the public system, ensuring access to comprehensive care without facing substantial financial burdens.
Good to know
In private policies, copays can vary widely based on the plan, the type of services covered, and the insurance provider's policies. Some private insurance plans might offer much lower copays than public Medicare for certain services to encourage individuals to seek preventive care or lower-cost treatments.
What is a health insurance premium?
While we mentioned the term premium multiple times in this context, for those who aren't aware or are new to this area, a health insurance premium is a regular payment made by an individual or their employer to a private insurer or a government program (such as Medicare in the United States or a provincial healthcare plan) in exchange for coverage and benefits under a policy.
This payment is typically made on a monthly or annual basis. The premium amount can vary based on factors such as the type of coverage, the insurer, the individual's age, health status, and other factors. The premium is essential for maintaining coverage and helps fund the cost of medical services and treatments when needed.
How to get health insurance quotes in Canada?
There are several ways to get private healthcare policy quotes in Canada. A private broker can help you find the best policy for you. This option can be more expensive, since you may be charged a commission- typically around 10% of the premium. Because the broker represents specific insurers and plans, shop around for quotes from several sources before making a decision.
You can also request quotes through each company to find a plan that's suitable for you, but this is time-consuming and a laborious process.
That's why we've created a simple and easy-to-use tool for you. You can use our 100% free comparison tool to quickly and conveniently compare quotes and find the best individual health insurance Ontario plans or BC or Quebec. All you need to do is enter your basic details of what you're looking for, while retaining anonymity, and voila get quotes that are personalized to suit your unique needs also from the top 10 insurance companies in Canada.
Key reasons to pay for private healthcare coverage include:
- Getting the treatment you need, when and where you need it.
- Being covered for a wider range of services and treatments.
- Affordability and cost-effectiveness.
- Saving on unexpected expenses.
- Not having to worry about how to pay for a large health care charge on top of your other expenses like car protection premiums or mortgage payments.
Are health insurance premiums tax-deductible?
Can I claim health insurance premiums on my Canada taxes? Yes. In Canada, premiums that you pay yourself are often eligible for a tax deduction under the Medical Expense Tax Credit.
Premiums paid into a private insurance plan count as qualifying medical expenses assuming that 90% go towards medical expenses that are themselves eligible for the tax credit. There are tax benefits for care like hospitalization, medical, dental, vision, and even medical devices. Plans paid by employers or provinces are not eligible for tax deductions.
Looking for a list of tax-deduction qualifying medical expenses? This PDF from the Canada Revenue Agency details them.
How long can a child stay on parents' health insurance Canada plan?
In Canada, there is no age limit for children staying on their parents' health insurance as it's based on provincial or territorial residency requirements, not dependency. Children can typically remain covered under their parents' provincial or territorial plans as long as they meet residency criteria, regardless of age.
Rules may vary slightly by province or territory, so it's important to check with the local health authority or government website for precise eligibility information.
How to cancel a health insurance plan in Canada?
In Canada, canceling your private medical coverage plan is not usually difficult. Generally, you will do it in writing. Check your specific contract and contact your service provider for details on more specific cancelation procedures as it may vary from one insurer to another.
Be aware that you may owe a penalty if your policy has not yet expired. Policies often run for a one-year term, even if payments are monthly.
Avoid bad surprises. To avoid gaps in coverage, make sure that your new insurance plan begins before your previous one lapses.
What does health insurance cover in Canada?
Public and provincial care plans cover many basic medical needs. This includes doctor’s visits, hospital visits, and surgeries. What is covered, and at what percentage, varies greatly between provinces. This topic goes beyond the scope of this summary page.
Good to know
Private healthcare coverage in Canada can make up for what are sometimes significant gaps in public/provincial coverage.
Depending on the plan, private healthcare plans in Canada cover a large percentage of costs like:
- Eye exams and prescription eyeglasses
- Birth control
- Prescription medication
- Dental care
- Ambulance services
- Physician services, surgery/anesthesia, x-ray, and laboratory services
- Accessories and medical devices bought in pharmacies
- Orthopedic shoes or podiatric orthotics
- Hearing aids
- Nursing care
Health care costs are split between you, the provincial insurer, and the private insurer. Your provincial and private plans each pay a percentage. You will cover the remainder.
Many private healthcare plans offer catastrophic health insurance coverage in their plans. When an individual’s medical expenses pass a predefined maximum for the year, catastrophic coverage kicks in. At that point, their plan will then cover 100% of the cost. This caps how much an individual can pay, limiting their financial risk.
Can you combine health and dental insurance?
Yes, it's possible to combine health and dental coverage plans in Canada. Insurers often offer comprehensive packages that integrate both health and dental insurance under a single policy.
This combined coverage includes services such as doctor visits, prescription medications, and hospital stays, as well as dental procedures like cleanings, fillings, and more. These plans offer cost savings, customization options, and the convenience of managing medical and dental needs through a single policy.
Many employers also provide extended health and dental coverage as part of their benefits package, ensuring comprehensive care for their employees and their families.
Is pet health insurance covered under provincial healthcare?
Pet health insurance is coverage designed to help offset the cost of veterinary care for pets. Unlike provincial healthcare for humans in Canada, provincial plans do not cover pets. Private pet insurance is therefore essential because veterinary expenses can be high, and having coverage ensures that pet owners can provide necessary care without facing financial strain. It offers peace of mind, helps manage unexpected expenses, and ensures pets receive timely medical attention, making it a prudent choice for responsible pet ownership.
How is mental health insurance coverage in Canada?
The extent of mental health insurance coverage varies based on the provider and province. Public healthcare has limited coverage of mental health treatments, and access to specialized services can be rather limited.
The provincial healthcare includes access to psychiatrists, psychologists, and other mental health professionals. However, the availability of these services may vary by province as mentioned earlier, and there may be long wait times for non-urgent mental health care. Private providers however offer more comprehensive coverage options.
What is Health insurance for visitors to Canada?
Health insurance for visitors in Canada is crucial as the country's public healthcare system doesn't cover non-residents. Visitors should consider purchasing Visitor to Canada travel insurance that is provided by several popular insurance companies like Blue Cross, Sun Life, and more.
Visitor plans cover a range of emergency medical expenses and services for individuals visiting Canada. While coverage can vary between insurance providers and specific plans, here are common elements that Visitor to Canada insurance typically covers:
- Emergency Medical Treatment: Coverage for medical treatments required due to sudden illnesses or accidents during the visitor's stay in Canada.
- Hospitalization: Expenses related to hospital stays, including room charges, nursing care, and medical procedures.
- Doctor Visits: Costs associated with consultations and medical care provided by physicians.
- Prescription Drugs: Coverage for prescribed medications required for the visitor's health condition.
- Emergency Medical Evacuation: Expenses related to transporting the visitor to a medical facility capable of providing appropriate treatment if it's not available locally.
- Diagnostic Tests: Coverage for essential medical tests like X-rays, MRIs, and laboratory tests.
- Paramedical Services: Reimbursement for services provided by chiropractors, physiotherapists, and other paramedical professionals.
- Accidental Dental Care: Coverage for emergency dental treatments required due to accidental injuries.
- Repatriation of Remains: Coverage for the costs associated with returning the visitor's remains to their home country in the unfortunate event of their passing.
- Emergency Return Home: Some plans may include coverage for the visitor to return home due to unexpected situations, such as a family emergency.
- Coverage for Pre-Existing Conditions: Depending on the policy, coverage for pre-existing medical conditions might be available, although waiting periods or limitations could apply.
What is group health insurance in Canada?
Group health insurance in Canada is a coverage arrangement provided by employers to their employees and, in some cases, their dependents. This offers a collective policy that covers a group of individuals, typically within a workplace setting. Employers negotiate with medical insurance companies to secure coverage for medical services, which can include doctor visits, prescription drugs, hospital stays, dental care, and more.
Employees covered under group plans often share the premium costs with their employer, making the coverage more affordable. Group plans offer advantages for both employers and employees, such as improved employee satisfaction, better healthcare access, and a competitive benefits package.
The coverage benefits and plan details can vary based on the employer's negotiations with medical insurance companies and the specific needs of the organization.
Do health insurance policies change depending on the province?
Yes. Each of Canada’s ten provinces and three territories offers its own public care plans. Some are significantly different. All offer basic health care services. Beyond this basic care, some are more generous than others. As a result, private healthcare policies are also different between provinces and territories.
|Province/Territory||Provincial Public Health System|
|Alberta||Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan|
|British Columbia||Medical Services Plan|
|Northwest Territories||NWT Health Care Plan|
|New Brunswick||New Brunswick Medicare|
|Newfoundland and Labrador||Newfoundland And Labrador Medical Care Plan|
|Nova Scotia||Nova Scotia Health|
|Nunavut||Nunavut Health Care Plan|
|Ontario||Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP)|
|Prince Edward Island||Health PEI|
|Quebec||Quebec Health Insurance Plan (RAMQ)|
|Saskatchewan||Government Of Saskatchewan|
|Yukon||Health Care Insurance Plan (YHCIP)|
As the public Medicare and provincial support system is so diverse in Canada, care needs vary from one province to another.
Do you need health insurance to visit another province?
While Canadian citizens and permanent residents have access to basic healthcare coverage across provinces, it's advisable to have a private policy when traveling to another province. Provincial coverage offered by the government might not fully extend to all services in different regions.
Supplementary travel insurance can cover expenses like ambulance fees, prescription medications, and treatments not included in your home province's plan. It ensures you're adequately protected against unexpected medical costs while traveling within Canada.
How does health insurance for seniors in Canada work?
Health insurance for seniors in Canada involves both provincial plans and private plans. Provincial plans, such as Medicare, cover essential medical services. Seniors can also opt for private plans to supplement their coverage. These private plans cover expenses like prescription drugs, dental care, and vision care that may not be fully covered by the provincial plan.
Having private coverage is crucial as seniors may face additional healthcare needs as they age. Long wait times and limited coverage for certain services under Medicare make private insurance beneficial.
There are special provincial health programs that cater to their unique needs, like:
- Ontario: The Ontario Drug Benefit Program (ODB) provides prescription drug coverage for seniors based on income and age criteria.
- British Columbia: BC Seniors' Pharmacare Program offers prescription drug coverage for eligible seniors.
- Alberta: Alberta Seniors Benefit provides financial assistance to eligible seniors for various living expenses, including health-related costs.
- Quebec: The Quebec Prescription Drug Insurance Plan (RAMQ) covers prescription medication costs for seniors based on income and age.
- Nova Scotia: Pharmacare Programs in Nova Scotia offer coverage for prescription medications based on income and age.
What health insurance plan is best for international students?
International students attending a university in Canada are not always eligible for the country’s public health care. You must get a private healthcare plan or international health insurance policy to cover your medical needs should an emergency arise. Each province is different in terms of the public healthcare it offers to both its residents and visitors or international students.
In provinces where students are not eligible for public healthcare insurance, the universities themselves often provide a policy or coverage for their international students. It may even be mandatory and included in the tuition fees.
These plans typically provide coverage for services such as doctor visits, hospitalization, prescription medications, and dental and vision care.
Good to know
If you cannot continue your semester due to illness, many insurers in Canada also have options to effectively reimburse your tuition fees.
Can you have two health insurance plans in Canada?
Yes, it's possible to have two plans in Canada. You can have both a provincial healthcare plan and a private supplementary plan simultaneously. This is common for those who want to enhance their coverage, such as through an employer-sponsored plan.
However, having dual coverage might not always result in double benefits, as most plans have coordination of benefits rules. It's essential to understand these rules to prevent unnecessary costs and ensure smooth claims processing.
It is also possible to have two private plans. This is often referred to as "dual coverage." You may have two private plans due to various reasons. You can be covered under your own plan and also as a dependent on your spouse's plan.
When making a claim, these rules determine which plan pays first and how much the second plan might contribute. It's crucial to understand these rules and communicate with both insurance providers to ensure smooth claims processing and avoid overpayment.
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