Updated - February 28, 2022
Over the last several decades the cost for private healthcare in Canada has risen. At the time this article was written in 2019, it was estimated that costs have increased over exponentially since the 1970's to a current annual total of about $1,800 per person. In a recent report in 2021 by Statista.com, the total health expenditure per capita has risen to a whopping $8,018.
Private insurance supplements Canada’s primary health coverage. It picks up where government insurance plans have left off. Examples of services not covered by provincial governments health care plans are corrective lenses, home care, prescription medication, dentistry and almost all preventative and physiotherapeutic services.
If you’re looking for supplemental Alberta health insurance, you have several options. This article details some of the major health plans available to Alberta residents.
Reasons to Seek Private Insurance
The Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan (AHCIP) is available to Alberta residents. Though, provincial insurance isn’t always enough. It may not cover the procedures, prescriptions, or specialized care you need.
Many people don’t have other avenues for extra health insurance like employer-provided coverage. If you're one of them, consider applying for a supplemental Alberta healthcare plan.
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What AHCIP Doesn’t Cover
Currently, AHCIP doesn’t cover prescription medications unless you receive them while in-hospital. It also doesn’t include things like routine dental services, eyeglasses, and specialty services like massages and chiropractic therapy.
Last, AHCIP doesn’t cover medical emergencies that incur while you are traveling outside of Alberta.
Loss of Employer Benefits
If your employer offers health benefits, you’re more likely to take them rather than buy a private policy. In the event you lose your job however, it may be time to shop for private, supplemental insurance.
An exception to this is spousal/common-law coverage. Your spouse may have access to lesser-expensive insurance with lower deductibles. It is perfectly legal to have two health insurance plans. What is important to understand however is that by having two plans, for example one through your spouses employee benefits and one through yours, you won't receive more then 100% payout for the services you are claiming. The coordination of benefits works as primary and secondary. Once you have claimed the maximum amount on the primary, the secondary would kick in to cover the difference.
Private, Personal and Family Alberta Health Insurance
Another name for individual health insurance is personal or family health insurance. These types of insurance plans have similar benefits that go beyond provincial insurance.
Most of the following benefits appear in all private insurance plans in Alberta. Though, some benefits will be optional depending on the plan.
Benefits in Alberta Healthcare Plans
The benefits include prescription drug coverage and vision care, including exams and eyeglasses. Then there are dental benefits, from preventive care to major dental surgeries.
If you need specialized therapies, you can find plans that cover massage therapists, chiropractors, and physiotherapists.
Many people with chronic conditions need durable medical equipment. Examples include breathing machines, prosthetics, and wheelchairs. For them, it’s worth finding a supplemental plan that offers comprehensive benefits.
Personal plans also include travel insurance and upgraded private or semi-private hospital rooms. Finally, supplemental coverage for ground and air ambulance transportation is another sought-after benefit.
Guaranteed Issue Health Insurance
Often, people who need supplemental health insurance have pre-existing conditions. Pre-existing conditions can be problematic when applying for personal health insurance.
One option is to buy a guaranteed health insurance plan. You don't need to complete a medical exam. Guaranteed health covers medications for your pre-existing conditions.
A second option is to buy a standard, underwritten health plan. You do have to fill out a medical questionnaire, and the plan will not cover your medical condition.
If your employee benefits terminated within the last 90 days, you qualify a type of no-medical health insurance called conversion benefits.
Comparing Best Health Insurance Plans in Alberta
In Alberta, many private insurers are available. They provide benefits that go beyond the scope of the AHCIP. Thus, you have choices when it comes to private insurance.
Many websites can help you compare prices as well as benefits, including our own. Next is information on some of the largest private insurance companies in Canada that offer plans for Alberta residents.
Manulife offers a variety of plans for Alberta residents. They are the Flexcare, FollowMe, and the Association plans.
Flexcare Health and Dental
Flexcare Health and Dental insurance is a type of mix-and-match insurance plan. It contains several base products such as dental services and prescription drug coverage.
You can add on vision care as well as extended-health coverage. Extra options are travel insurance and hospital care.
The FollowMe health plan offers individuals and families comprehensive health and dental coverage.
You don’t have to complete a medical exam or questionnaire if you apply within 60 days after your group health care coverage ends. If you apply past the 60 days, Manulife requires full medical underwriting.
Association Health and Dental Plan
The Association Health and Dental Plan has eight options from which you can choose. You can select the option that best fit your family’s budget and medical needs.
The plans break down into four plans with levels of health and dental benefits. Another four offer dental coverage only.
Besides dental coverage, the Association plan increases your level of coverage for prescription medications, vision care, and eyeglasses. It also provides accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D), travel, and hospital coverage.
Businesses may offer these plans to employees. You may also buy a plan as an individual to supplement existing health coverage. This is helpful for the self-employed.
Alberta Blue Cross
Alberta Blue Cross is a long-standing insurance provider in Alberta. They offer several plans, including the Blue Choice and the Blue Assured, and Retiree Plan.
Blue Choice is for people aged 64 and under. It includes students, families, individuals including the self-employed. Benefits include drug and dental coverage and flexible health coverage. Also included are travel coverage and term life benefits.
Blue Assured is for individuals who are age 65 and over. This plan also offers dental coverage and flexible health to compliment AHCIP benefits. You are not required to complete a medical review when applying for the Blue Assured plan.
Blue Cross’s Retiree Plan is for people aged 50 to 75. Flexible health, dental and drug coverage. It’s for those who are retiring from their employer coverage. Note that they must apply within 60 days of their termination date.
The plan includes standard medical coverage as well as travel coverage. You are not required to complete a medical review when applying for the Retiree Plan.
Green Shield SureHealth
Green Shield Canada has offered SureHealth extended health care plans for many years. They offer two types of plans, the Zone and the Link.
The Zone is for individuals who are new to extended health care coverage. It includes benefits for medical supplies, eye exams, hearing aids, and physiotherapists.
Some optional services include dental benefits, medications, and semi-private hospital accommodations. Details on the plan can be found here.
The Link is transitional private health insurance. It’s for people who are leaving a private health care plan but want to continue their private coverage. Someone who is retiring fits this profile. For more information, visit this page.
Green Shield Prism Health Insurance
Green Shield also offers three Prism Healthcare plans, Spectra, Precision, and Continuum.
Prism Spectra provides a range of coverage. It’s available in four plans. Each focuses on individual and family comprehensive coverage. It also touts high benefit maximums.
You will have to fill out a medical questionnaire to qualify. Spectra® is a possible option for you if you don’t have dental and health coverage, or if you are leaving your company’s group health plan.
The Prism Precision plan is a good starter plan that offers basic coverage. Its four plans are practical solutions for covering treatments and other services not covered by AHCIP.
You don’t have to fill out a medical questionnaire. Green Shield guarantees your coverage (no medical underwriting), including pre-existing conditions.
If you are leaving a group plan, Continuum is a good option. The four plans focus on covering you and your family when you leave a company group health plan. You must apply within 90 days of losing your group coverage. Continuum is guaranteed coverage, pre-existing conditions included.
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Comparing Alberta Insurance Plans
Most insurance companies allow you to compare plans and benefits on their web sites. Of course, the websites limit you to their plans only. A better way is to compare several companies offering plans to Alberta residents.
We offer a free search for the best and lowest medical insurance quotes. Fill out the form with your contact information and the type of insurance you’re looking for.
You will receive quotes as well as side-by-side comparisons of your best options for health insurance in Alberta.
As a Canadian, you enjoy the benefit of free basic health care. Though, it’s wise to seek a private health insurance plan that best fits you and your family’s needs.
If you have any questions about getting Alberta health insurance, please contact us.