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  Private Medical Insurance for Canada – an essential for visitors (of course) AND for new and returning residents!

It is common knowledge that visitors to Canada need to arrive with private medical insurance in case of emergency. Headline news stories have told us of uninsured visitors - young and old - who have needed hospital care in Canada costing tens of thousands of dollars; hundreds of thousands of dollars in the worst cases. But did you know that in most Provinces, and in all Territories new Canadian residents must wait three months before being covered under Medicare health coverage? In the affected Provinces and Territories, the wait period applies to new Permanent Residents, new Temporary Residents, and even returning Canadians. Without three months of private medical insurance to bridge the gap, new residents settling in most areas of Canada arrive uninsured and responsible for their own hospital and medical costs until covered under Medicare. 

What are the financial risks of being an uninsured resident?

It is not doctor office fees of $60 to $150 that loom large. An emergency room charge will cost several hundred dollars, while hospital ward charges could be financially crippling to a household. Many hospitals in Canada have one schedule of rates for “Uninsured Residents” awaiting Medicare, and a second set of higher rates for “Non-Residents / Visitors.”

The following range is taken from hospital rates in Vancouver (British Columbia), Toronto (Ontario), and Montreal (Quebec) – current as of February 2017:
Costs in Canadian Dollars Emergency Room
Daily Ward
Intensive Care
For “Uninsured Residents”
(New Residents awaiting Medicare)
$335 - $700   per visit $1,456 - $4,210   per day $4,416 - $12,270   per day
For “Non-Residents”
$750 - $995   per visit $3,530 - $7,133   per day $5,560 - $13,665  per day

What interim private medical plans are available to bridge the Medicare gap?

1. “Visitors to Canada” Medical Insurance
The most common interim medical insurance purchased by new residents is an ‘emergencies only’ medical plan called “Visitors to Canada” medical insurance. The lowest cost option, these plans cover emergency medical services to treat a new accident or unforeseen sickness. These plans cover costs for hospitalization, physician fees, ambulance, new prescription medication, and more. Worth noting is that Visitor plans offer little to no coverage for ‘continuing medical care’ once the initial medical care has stabilized the condition to the point a plan member is declared medically fit to travel back to their ‘country of origin.’

Are pre-existing medical conditions covered?

Temporary medical plans exclude routine care of a chronic condition, and any circumstance of expected need for medical care. An unforeseen emergency relating to a person’s existing medical history can (on certain plans) be covered if the “pre-existing condition” is found to have been “stable” for long enough prior to the insurance start date. Each insurance company has its own definition of “stable” and plans also differ regarding the duration of time that an existing condition must have met the stability criteria prior to the policy start date in order for an emergency in Canada to be covered. Be sure to learn about medical plan details before buying.

2. “Expatriate’s” Medical Insurance
A more robust and more expensive form of interim medical coverage is a health plan designed for expatriates - people living outside their home country. While most expatriate health plans are only available on an annual basis, some offer short term coverage. Expatriate health plans offer higher sums of insurance and more generous coverage of continuing medical care, beyond the point an unexpected sickness or injury gets stabilized by emergency treatment.

To have us review the specifics of your insurance situation and to provide you with quotations for the spectrum of insurance solutions please complete our Quotation Request Form for Medical Insurance in Canada, or just contact us.