Canada offers an excellent healthcare system to its citizens and non-citizens in the country. The government provides easy access to healthcare services through its insurance program. However, the government insurance program does not cover all your health care needs. To tackle this, some companies offer private insurance programs that cater for all your medical needs. If you are seeking the cheapest health insurance programs and companies for immigrants in Canada, then you are in the right space. Here, we would be showing you the best insurance programs for immigrants in Canada.
What is a Health Insurance in Canada?
Canada is the second largest country in the world and so the healthneeds of its citizens may be different from each other. For instance, the needs of its elderly citizens are different from that of children. This is why health insurance is in place. Health insurance reducesthe financial burdens of paying for medical care. Note that these insurance plans do not cater for all your health expenses as you would need to pay a fee called a premium monthly. However, some insurance plans have an amount that is deducted from your money before your insurance coverage becomes active. Others pay all the costs after the money has been deducted or pay a percentage of the fee.
What are the Types of Health Insurance in Canada?
Health insurance is divided into two main groups in Canada. They are:
What is Public Health Insurance?
Public Health Insurance in Canada is referred to as Medicare. This healthcare system is funded by taxes. It covers basic medical expenses such as hospital and doctor visits. The program is accessible to Canadian citizens, people with work permits, permanent residents and some refugees. There is no single national healthcare system but there are 13 individual public healthcare systems for the provinces in Canada.
What is Private Health Insurance?
As earlier noted public health insurance does not cover all your medical needs. Even if Medicare is freely given by the government, individuals can still get private insurance to cover all their medical needs. These plans are supplemental health programs and cover dental care, prescription, physiotherapy, eye care, ambulance services etc. You can get private insurance via an open market site or through your employer.
Things to Consider When Choosing a Health Insurance Program as an Immigrant
As an immigrant in Canada, you may find it difficult to choose a health insurance program. There are certain factors to be considered when choosing a health insurance plan for you and your family in Canada. These factors include:
1. Type of Health Insurance Program and Company
There are different types of health insurance programs provided by various companies and this would be discussed further in this article. Each of these programs has its features and chargesdifferently depending on the medical services you need. It is advisable to choose one that you can afford and that is most suitable for you and your family.
You need to consider how much you would be paying to cover the medical costs per month. This amount is called a premium and it is paid whether you use the medical services or not. These monthly payments must be consistent as failure to pay monthly can cost you your entire coverage. Again, the amount to be paid depends on the health insurance program you choose.
Deductibles are the money you pay out of pocket before your coverage starts. Hence, if your deductible is $700, your insurance program won’t pay your expenses until you’ve paid the $700 on expenses out of pocket. These out-of-pocket costs may include specialist visors, prescriptions etc. Note that if you choose a program with a high deductible you may have a lower monthly premium but if you choose a program with a lower deductible, you may get a higher premium. This is why you must discover if the insurance program has a single and combined deductible for prescriptions and medical services or a separate deductible for medical and pharmacy services.
4. Co-pay or Co–insurance
These are costs that you may be required to pay for healthcare services. A co-insurance is a percentage of costs you must pay for medical services. Co–pay is a flat fee you must pay for prescriptions for other services. Whether you would pay co-pay or co-insurance, depends on your insurance program.
You need to check if prescriptions are covered by the insurance plan because every insurance program has a list of medications it covers. This means that if you have a prescribed medicine and it is not covered by the plan, then you can’t get it. This list is called a formulary and it is divided into groups which determine how much coinsurance or copay you must pay. Hence, it is advisable to check if your regular prescription is covered by the insurance plan you want.
What are the Best and Cheapest Health Insurance Companies and Programs for Immigrants in Canada?
As earlier noted, the healthcare coverage you receive from yourprovince may not cover all your medical needs such as some prescribed drugs. This is why you need to opt for supplemental health insurance as managing the entire medical costs can drill a hole in your pocket in the long run. Several health insurance companies can offer you affordable insurance programs whether you want basic or extensive coverage. These companies and programs include:
Founded in 1887, Manulife is a popular financial and private health insurance company that cuts across Canada, the United States, Asia and Bermuda. Manulife has many plans that cover a lot of health needs whether dental, prescription or both and you’d certainly find a plan that is right for you. If you don’t want to get through your employer, or you want extra health benefits not included in your province’s or employer’s program, then Manulife is for you.
What does the Manulife Health Insurance Cover?
There are 9 programs under Manulife Health Insurance. They include:
The two major programs for health and dental care include Manulife Flexcare and Manulife FollowMe plans.
The Manulife Flexcare plan allows you to save money on regular and emergency health and dental care procedures. This plan is flexible and remains active even if you ever change jobs or if yourhealth changes in the long run. The Manulife FollowMe covers several medical services for you and your family and puts you in control of your coverage. You also have access to dental care, eye care, prescriptions hearing aids etc.
The cost of the Manulife plans depends on the number of people covered, their ages, and the product itself.
2. Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada
Sun Life Assurance Company is a private insurance company thatoffers health, life, critical illness, disability, and long-term care insurance in various countries around the world. Sun Life offers three personal insurance plans to people who live in Canada. They include
a. Basic Plan
This is the lowest and cheapest personal insurance plan. With this plan, you get to pay for your basic medical and dental fees. This plan is suitable for you if:
b. Standard Plan
This plan comprises more coverage for prescription drugs than the Basic plan, emergency medical coverage for travel and optional preventive dental coverage. This is suitable for you if:
c. Enhanced Plan
This comprehensive plan includes even more coverage for prescription drugs and other medical needs. It also provides optional dental coverage that includes restorative and orthodontic treatment.
The cost of Sun Life insurance depends on the insurance plan you choose and the number of people covered by the plan.
3. Green Shield Canada
Several SureHealth health insurance policies are provided by Green Shield Canada (GSC) which was founded in 1957. This is one of the best and most affordable health insurance programs in Canada. Forpersons with various needs, they are separated into differentcategories — LINK and ZONE plans. The LINK plans are for those who anticipate retirement or otherwise won’t have access to group insurance. Without having to provide any medical information, you are guaranteed to be accepted. You should also apply within 90 days of the end of your employee health benefits. The plan includes prescription medicines, dental treatment, vision care, and others.
The ZONE plans are for individuals who are healthy and don’t have any existing medical concerns. If you don’t meet the requirements, you may not be admitted after answering some medical questions. These plans include extended health coverage, prescription medicines, vision, dental, and travel insurance.
4. The Canada Life Assurance Company
Previously referred to as the Great West Life, Canada Life providesexcellent healthcare plans for everyone. They provide health and dental care to residents of Canada at an affordable rate. If you have underlying health conditions, you can still get coverage without an exam and you would be approved in minutes. Canada Life has several plans. For instance, if you are healthy, you can choose the Elite plan, PlanDirect Core or Core Plus. If you have any medical condition, then you can choose PlanDirect Basic, Comprehensive or Premier plans. Some products under Canada Life plans include:
If you are looking for financial assistance to pay the costs involved with recovering from a critical illness, then you may be interested in Canada Life Critical Illness insurance. It may be ideal for those who want to safeguard the lives of their loved ones if they develop a serious sickness. Both private individuals and companies may purchase this package.
When a disability strikes you or your family member in Canadasuddenly, Canada Life Disability insurance can protect and provide you or your family member health security. Anyone who earns a living could gain from the benefits provided by this plan, but persons who desire to protect their family from potential financial hardship due to illness or injury would stand to gain the most. Both corporations and individuals may also purchase this package.
Canadians with families and business owners who require instant coverage but have a limited budget to work with might benefit from temporary life insurance from Canada Life. It is a great option for Canadians who need short-term, uncomplicated life insurance protection that is affordable. Both private individuals and companies may also purchase this package.
5. Group Medical Services – GMS
Founded in Saskatchewan, Group Medical Services (GMS) has plans for everyone. They have personal health plans which cover health, dental, travel, and prescription medication. Under this insurance program, you can choose any of the insurance plans below and get additional coverage if you still have more needs not covered by the plans.
The OmniPlan provides coverage for major medical procedures like massage therapy and eye care and other expenses such as Hearing aids, diabetic supplies, and oxygen equipment, among others. In the event of accidental death, it even includes $4,000 in funeral coverage.
The ExtendaPlan is a comprehensive plan that covers vision tests, shoulder immobilizers, contact lenses, hearing aids, laser surgery, and many other procedures and equipment.
The basic plan covers basic procedures not covered by public health insurance. It covers medical costs for drug prescriptions, ambulance, crutches etc.
Canada strives to give its citizens access to free healthcare services through its public health insurance system. However, this does not cover all the medical needs of its citizens and this is why many people go for private insurance programs. If you have been seeking affordable and good health insurance programs and companies as an immigrant, then we hope this article has been of help to you.