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Five Health Insurance Myths: The Truth about your Coverage

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This article provides information about health insurance myths.

Every Canadian citizen is covered under a provincial health care plan, one that offers many benefits. Unfortunately, a few widespread misconceptions regarding health insurance have endured over the years. Debunking those health insurance myths could save you money, and give you peace of mind.

Myth #1: The Provincial Plan Covers Everything. The provincial health plan available to all Canadian residents covers a substantial portion of medical expenses. It provides coverage for all basic medical care including hospital stays, surgery, and maternity needs. However, each province’s health plan differs, and certain areas of coverage are either limited or entirely excluded, some of which being dental and vision care, prescription drugs, medical equipment, private hospital rooms, long-term care, and alternative medicine. To receive treatment in areas where there is limited or no coverage involves out-of-pocket expenses. For many, such costs become a financial burden. Supplemental insurance can cover most of these gaps in the provincial plan, allowing you to seek necessary treatment and protecting you from having to deplete your funds.

Health Insurance MythsMyth #2: You Can Only Get Supplemental Coverage through your Employer. While many people do get the extra coverage they need at the workplace, Canada’s many private insurers offer insurance policies to individuals and families that are not offered coverage by the employer. Getting private insurance quotes is fast and easy, and comparing rates and benefits is advisable. Because most employers choose the type of coverage they want for the company, an employee may wish to seek other available coverage options, in addition to what is being offered at work. Buying a private insurance plan means you pay solely for the coverage you need, not more – not less.

Myth #3: Private Insurance Coverage is Expensive. This is one of the most common health insurance myths that Canadians hold, perhaps because they hear so much about how expensive private insurance is for their neighbors in the U.S. Because Canada’s private insurers are not responsible for some big ticket items like surgeries or emergency room costs, they can provide coverage that is relatively affordable. And because insurance providers generally compete with each other for your business, you can shop around and opt for the rate that’s right for you. The cost of supplemental coverage is often a fraction of the cost of most out-of-pocket expenses.

Myth #4: Young, Healthy People Do Not Need Supplemental Health Insurance. Many people feel that since they are young and healthy, they are unlikely to need coverage that falls outside the provincial health plan, and for the few times that they should, they will likely be able to pay for any out of pocket costs. That may be so, but accidents and sudden illnesses with long-term repercussions can happen at any age, leaving you in debt. Once you develop a health condition or suffer an injury, it is difficult to obtain the coverage you need such as prescriptions, medical equipment, and long-term care. Regardless of your age, it is possible to find yourself in a precarious position, so the sooner you put an insurance policy in place, the lower your risk of encountering financial difficulties.

Myth #5: Provincial Health Insurance Covers You Everywhere. While it is true that the Canadian provinces have a reciprocal agreement that allows residents from one province to seek medical treatment in another province, it is important to remember that coverage typically applies to emergency cases, and that many areas of health care are just not covered. Outside of Canada, Canadians have little to no coverage under their provincial plan, and are required to pay out of pocket for any medical needs. Costs can add up fast, as medical care in other countries can be incredibly expensive. Even a one-night stay in a hospital outside of the country can cost you thousands of dollars. Canadians are well advised to get the facts on their provincial coverage and purchase travel insurance if they plan on travelling abroad.

These common health insurance myths are often at the root of unnecessary out-of-pocket expenditures on health care, especially when Canadians relinquish supplemental insurance due to false beliefs. Get the facts, get the right coverage, and ensure that you are protected against the unexpected.


About the Author:
Adriana Stefania is a freelance writer for Canada Health Insurance. For more information on health insurance for Canadians please visit