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Visiting Canada? You Need Health Insurance Too!

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Canada is known for a lot of things. Hockey. Beer. Toques. And, of course, health care coverage that is paid for by the government. It makes Canada a great place to live, and we're a pretty welcoming bunch! However, if you're just here for a visit, our health care coverage doesn't apply to you. In fact, generally only permanent residents are eligible for provincial and territorial health care. Even if you are planning to make Canada your forever home, you will need to make arrangements for your health care coverage while you're waiting for your permanent residency status.

Why Visitors to Canada Need Health Coverage

Whether your planned visit to Canada is for a few weeks for a vacation, a few months for a temporary work assignment, or you’re planning to live here for the rest of your life and waiting for your Canadian residency status to be finalized, you will not be covered under our government health insurance plans. If you do experience a medical emergency during your visit, you will have to provide proof of ability to pay for your care such as a credit card. Treatment can be very expensive for those who are not covered by the Canadian healthcare system. You can expect to be billed separately for each item like an ambulance trip to the hospital, physician services, diagnostic services like x-rays or blood tests, and any follow up treatment as required.

When we think of exorbitantly high bills for international patients, it’s our friendly neighbours to the south that come to mind. However, medical care for those not covered by provincial or territorial plans in Canada is also very expensive. Indeed, if an illness or accident requires a hospital stay, the final bill can easily run in excess of $1,000 for each day of hospitalization. It’s a lot of money and a lot of extra paperwork at what is already a stressful time. That puts the cost of insurance premiums into perspective pretty quickly. Luckily, there are private health insurance plans that can cover you and your family in an emergency during your trip to Canada.

Private Health Insurance

Just as we always recommend travel health insurance for Canadians travelling to other countries, insurance for those visiting Canada is strongly recommended. Specialized insurance plans developed to cover the needs of visitors to Canada can offer emergency medical coverage to travellers coming here on vacation, foreign students studying in Canada, people here on a temporary work permit, and new immigrants waiting for permanent residency status. Adequate emergency medical insurance is the easiest way to buy peace of mind when you are far from home.

It sounds great, right? Well, there is a catch. While there are a few policies that you can get once you have arrived in Canada, it’s generally considered best, and you have more options to choose from, if you have your insurance coverage in place before you leave your country of origin.

Canadians are a friendly bunch. We look forward to welcoming you here for a short or long visit. Just be sure to stay safe with travel insurance for visitors to Canada!

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