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Health Insurance Options in Canada

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This article provides information to Canadians about health insurance options.

Although Canada is famous internationally for having a completely public system of health care insurance, this is not an accurate portrait of the actual situation, as any Canadian citizen knows. Every provincial government does in fact provide a health care plan for its residents, but coverage is limited. Only certain medical expenses i.e. physical examinations by doctors, hospital fees, and particular types of emergency care are eligible, leaving Canadians to ponder other health insurance options.

Health Insurance OptionsBeyond this “foundation” of government insurance, many people purchase additional insurance in order to obtain more complete coverage. Various health insurance options are offered by private insurance companies. Therefore, it pays to shop around, compare prices, and do some research before making a decision.

The first step in determining which plan is best suited for your needs is to find out exactly what your provincial government does and does not cover. Although all of the provinces furnish a fairly similar health care program, there are slight differences. Your private insurance policy should cover what is missing in your provincial plan, whether buying as an individual, a family, or as the owner of a small business.

Private Health Insurance Options for Individuals
In order to fill in the gaps left by the provincial health insurance coverage, individuals in Canada can extend protection into areas the government's health plan does not cover. More than likely, your plan will need to include dental expenses, since tooth care is critical to your comfort and health, yet is generally bypassed by provincial plans. Some expenses that may not be included with your provincial plan include: visits to the ophthalmologist and prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses, psychologists, podiatrists, some prescription drugs, and emergency health services. Should you ever need in-home nursing, you may find out that specialized medical care must be paid out of your pocket.

Balancing the coverage of your against the monthly payments (premiums) is the key to choosing a plan that is right for you. For some services you might have partial coverage which would include a percentage of the cost of the service. Dental insurance coverage can generally range from 50% to 100% overage and varies for different dental procedures. If you can afford to pay slightly more to obtain more coverage, the extra cost may me well worth it. If an emergency occurs, you will find yourself paying unexpected expenses in any case, so more extensive coverage will help to ease your financial worries at a critical moment.

Self-employed people should be especially diligent in securing appropriate health insurance since they are without an employer to provide health benefits such as a group plan.

Health Insurance Options for Families
If you have a family, with one or two adults forming a household together with one or more children, it is wise to buy a health insurance plan that covers all the members of your family under one policy. This reduces the paperwork and all the members of your family can be under the same policy number.

Although you may be tempted to skip buying insurance for yourself, relying on the partial coverage that the provincial government provides, it will give you an increased sense of security to buy a family insurance policy if you can afford it. The rates for your children will likely be significantly lower as the cost of insurance generally increases as you get older.

Small Business Health Insurance
Many health insurance options are open for employers who wish to provide coverage to their workers. Company health insurance plans are more complex to set up than individual or family policies, as each employee’s status and specific needs must be taken into account. Taking a systematic approach to gathering information in order to decide which plan is best suited to your firm can be made easier by following a few guidelines.

  • First, decide whether you want to insure only your employees, or your employees and their families as well.
  • Discuss the matter of health insurance with each employee; some may choose the firm’s health insurance plan, while others may prefer to rely on the provincial insurance program or a privately bought policy.
  • Set up appointments with a few insurance providers or ask an insurance broker to compare health insurance options and premium costs from different companies.

It is important to find an insurance company that can furnish the amount and type of coverage that your company needs. You may want to limit yourself to one variety of coverage – for example, dental insurance – or you may want to add various other features, such as hospital stays, vision care, extended medical care, services from medical specialists, accidental death and dismemberment benefits, disability and travel insurance. Click for more information about small business health insurance.


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