How Can Visitors to Canada Buy Health Insurance?

How Can Visitors to Canada Buy Health Insurance?
In 2013, there were over 14 million visits to Canada from other countries, and that’s only from the top 15 countries on the list. Each visit has its own purpose, be it for business or pleasure, but they all have one thing in common: the need for travel insurance in the event of illness, accident or another health-related emergency.

Some visitors are surprised to discover the need for health insurance for their visit because of all they have heard about Canada’s famed universal health care benefits, which are provided by the provinces and territories in Canada. Read on to learn more about these requirements, and find out how visitors to Canada can buy health insurance that will let them relax and enjoy their trip.

Provincial Benefits Apply Only to Permanent Residents

It’s true that Canadians enjoy a high standard of health care that is provided by their province or territory of residence, but it only applies to permanent residents. In fact, even if you are a Canadian citizen returning home after a long time abroad, you will need insurance to cover your medical care needs while you wait out the eligibility period for provincial benefits – usually about 90 days.

Some visitors planning a trip to Canada, realizing they will have to pay to see a doctor in case of an emergency, may be tempted to roll the dice and hope for the best. The cost of an emergency room visit alone is nearly $1000 for non-residents of Canada, and that only covers the initial consultation. If you need further testing or treatment, that trip to the hospital could make it the most expensive day of your life.

Making sure your medical needs are covered in the event of an emergency doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, there are insurance options that have been specially designed for visitors to Canada.

Insurance for Visitors to Canada

The type of insurance you require will be based on the nature and duration of your stay in Canada. There are different plans available for people who are coming for a week-long trip to see the sights and for those who are planning to be here for an extended period of time.

Visitor to Canada Insurance

If you have friends or family coming for a visit, it’s important to make sure they understand that our healthcare coverage will not provide for their medical needs while they are in Canada. If you are the person visiting Canada for a few days, weeks, or months, arranging travel insurance should be high on your list of priorities.

Accessing healthcare while far from home is possible with the comprehensive, affordable protection of Emergency Medical Insurance. It’s only a small step to ensure that emergency healthcare-related expenses don’t make your next trip to Canada the most expensive trip you’ve ever taken.

Waiting for Provincial Health Insurance Coverage

Newly-landed immigrants will require private health insurance to see a doctor in an emergency, or they will need to pay upfront for treatment. Returning Canadians who have been out of the country for more than 182-212 days (dependent on your province of residence) will also need insurance to pay for emergency visits to the doctor until they become eligible for provincial health coverage again.

Because provinces and territories administer healthcare plans independently, there are some variations among the waiting periods for medical eligibility. However, you can safely assume it will be at least 90 days before becoming eligible for health care benefits.

Arrange Coverage Before Arriving in Canada

There is a broad range of insurance options open to those who are coming to Canada for a visit of any duration. The first step to ensuring adequate coverage is speaking with an insurance broker to learn what plans are available during your stay. You will be asked to answer questions about your health history and about any medications you may be taking. Be sure to respond to these questions thoroughly and honestly, as this may affect your claim if you must file one.

The fastest and easiest way to ensure that your medical needs will be covered in the event of illness or accident while visiting Canada is to make arrangements for insurance before you arrive. When you shop from home well in advance, you will have access to more visitors’ health insurance, and have time to carefully compare plans to ensure you are getting the best value.

However, if you are set to leave shortly, or if you have already arrived in Canada, don’t assume that you can’t get coverage. Contact us to see what we can do to help make sure the rest of your trip is worry-free.


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