6.2.4 Health insurance

From: Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

In Canada, every province and territory offers a medical insurance plan that covers basic medical care, including doctor visits and most costs of hospitalization. Some provinces charge premiums for basic health insurance, while others do not.

Many employers offer group health insurance plans that include extended health and other types of health insurance. Some Canadians purchase additional health insurance on their own.

This chart summarizes the main health insurance products. Note that not all types of health insurance are available in all provinces and territories.

Type of insurance

How it works

Supplementary or extended health insurance

Pays for health services, such as prescription drug and dental services, that are not covered by provincial and territorial health plans.

Disability insurance

Provides coverage if you cannot work temporarily or permanently due to a severe injury or illness, such as loss of a limb or a heart attack. Usually also includes coverage for partial disability.

Travel medical insurance

Pays for medical treatment and related costs while you are travelling outside of Canada.

Critical illness or trauma insurance

Pays a one-time lump-sum payment if you are diagnosed with a critical illness that is specified in your policy, such as cancer or Alzheimer’s disease.

Long-term care insurance

Provides coverage if you enter a long-term care facility such as a nursing home.

Be a smart consumer when you purchase health insurance:

  • Check to make sure you are not buying coverage you already have. For example, you may already have dental coverage through your employer’s plan, or your credit card company may provide travel medical insurance if you purchased your travel ticket using the card.
  • As with all types of insurance, some conditions and exclusions apply to health insurance. Read your policy carefully to know what is and is not covered.
  • Find out if there is a deductible or if the amount payable is limited to a maximum percentage of the overall claim, or a maximum annual amount.
  • While purchasing travel medical insurance, consider adding trip cancellation insurance and baggage insurance. These will cover your costs if you have to cancel your trip for specified reasons or if your baggage is lost or damaged.
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