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How to Buy Health Insurance

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If you and your family do not have health insurance benefits through an employer, you can buy your own personal health insurance. Here’s how.

For many people it is relatively simply to decide on your car insurance or even your life insurance. We understand the value of their benefits and when they will be paid.

When it comes to health insurance, it can feel a little more complicated to understand why you need it, who can buy it, and how to buy it.

Here are some facts that can help.

Who would want individual health coverage?

Individual health insurance – also known as personal or supplemental health insurance – has many benefits for you and your dependents:

  • The health insurance coverage is issued and owned in your name
    Coverage is available for everyone aged 18 and over. You must be in Canada when you apply, and be a Canadian resident with provincial healthcare coverage.
    Your dependent children must be under 21.
  • Having coverage isn’t dependent on work status
    Unlike group health benefits, individual coverage can be continued regardless of where you work, or if you are working at all. It’s available whether you work full time, part time, on contract, as a consultant, are about to retire, or have retired. If your work situation shifts, having your own health insurance provides financial security, ensuring there are no coverage gaps in protection between the times you have group benefits and when you don’t.
  • The flexibility of choice
    Where employer health plans provide coverage designed for the majority, your individual plan can deliver coverage for the health benefits you want most, like major dental costs, psychologist visits or increasingly popular alternative therapies like visits to chiropractors, physiotherapists or massage therapists. Individual health plans can even co-ordinate with existing employer coverage to increase overall protection. If you are in good health now, you have the freedom to choose the best policy possible and the security of knowing you can keep it for life, regardless of whether you have other health insurance in place or not.
  • A secure financial cushion
    If you need an “emergency backup” for when things like major dental costs get out of hand as the children are growing, or you are concerned about high healthcare costs that may result from an accident or illness, individual coverage acts as your financial safety net.

Why do you need health insurance?

Individual health insurance picks up where your provincial health insurance plan (and/or your employer benefit plan) leaves off, offering a broad range of products and services at a cost that can fit most budgets.

Programs can provide prescription drug coverage (learn more here), dental coverage (learn more here) or both. Plans vary based on what is covered and benefit maximums (how much you can be reimbursed).

All programs offer a variety of extended health benefits. Here are just some of the costs that are covered

  • Vision care that helps with the costs of prescription lenses and frames, contact lenses and laser eye surgery
  • Routine or major dental treatment including care required because of an accident
  • Hearing aid purchases
  • Semi-private or private hospital room costs
  • Home support services including nursing and personal support workers
  • Medical items like casts or crutches and the rental or purchase of medically necessary equipment
  • Treatment by registered therapists including foot care specialists, naturopaths, speech therapists, chiropractors, acupuncturists and more
  • Travel medical insurance protection for a specified number of days, with options to purchase longer durations.

How to buy your health insurance coverage

Go online at SBIS to check out health insurance options, get quotes on pricing and submit your application – all online.

If you currently have a health condition (like diabetes or high blood pressure that requires treatment to manage), you may not qualify for some health insurance plans or your plan may have certain coverage limit maximums or exclude benefits related to your condition.  .

If you are losing your group benefits and apply for specially designed individual health insurance coverage within 90 days, you qualify for a plan regardless of your health conditions.

Here are tips on completing your health insurance application.

Ready to get started?

SBIS offers a gold mine of health insurance information on our Resources page – simply type in what you want to learn about in the search bar to find articles that will help you save time and money as you discover more about how health insurance works and learn about your choices.

If you need help, our customer service representatives are experts who can help you complete your application and give you any additional information necessary.

Remember, at SBIS we can make buying your health insurance quick and easy.

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