Much of what is known about the healthcare system in Canada is a mystery, even to Canadians who don't know much about health insurance companies.
With some experts calling the system outdated, taking a look at what the system entails isn't a bad idea. Some people don't even realize there are health insurance companies in Canada, let alone how they work.
Here is everything you need to know.
The health care industry in Canada is so vastly different than what they have in other countries that some people don't get it at all. Some people think that the system is socialist, others think that it's totally free, and others think that you wait in lines for months to get a tooth pulled.
While it's actually none of the above, so much of the world's insurance is procured privately that it's hard to imagine anything else.
With funding from the country as a whole, each province has a budget that pays for the system, provided to every resident. The money, paid with taxes, is then divided to give everyone a fairly comparable plan. For instance, Ontario has a plan for residents of Ontario that covers their needs at a certain rate, while Quebec has a totally different system with other rules.
In each province, expect basics to be covered, like annual check-ups, emergency room visits, and most of the needs that kids have. However, if you have a chronic illness that requires a specific kind of medication, you should seek out some private insurance. You can hold both types of insurance with one supplementing the other, or you can opt out of one of the two altogether.
No two people have the same needs when it comes to their healthcare. While some people are perfectly well served by having the state-run plan in their corner, other people need to have a lot more. People with disabilities, elders, and people with large families need to think differently.
When you're looking at the variety of options and you have a chronic hereditary issue looming large in your future, think carefully. Some people choose to wait until they see symptoms of an issue before finding supplemental coverage. The younger and healthier you are when you apply, the better of a deal you're going to get.
Because of the different needs everyone has, you don't have to waste money on a plan that doesn't help you. If you have great vision and everyone in your family has perfect eyesight, you can save on a vision plan. Instead, put that money into final expense insurance or long-term life insurance.
You can't predict what your needs are going to be in the future. Rather than having to worry about what could come up, stay one step ahead of things with a plan that covers everything. Since you can't get a plan like that through the state, private insurance is there to pick up the slack.
Group insurance is one of the most common alternatives to state-run programs. Rather than spending money on a private plan where you pay everything, a group plan ensures you get a deal. With a group plan, you get the chance to shop in bulk, except this time you're buying health coverage.
Insurance companies like the prospect of being able to bundle together a package that covers a few hundred or even thousands of people at once. That's why they offer insurance through employers, unions, and professional agencies at such a great rate. They have a dependable audience that has the money to pay for the kind of service they provide every month on the dot.
However, not everyone has access to a solid group plan. If you're a freelancer or you're jumping to a new profession soon, group insurance isn't going to do much for you. You'll lose your eligibility or your connection to the program as soon as you leave.
Group insurance is great for career professionals, but younger people might find it too constricting. See if your employer or any agency that you're a member of provides group insurance. You could get a powerful plan to supplement the standard plan for a low price.
One of the things about state-run plans is that they're subject to change. As health insurance laws around the world are changing constantly, residents of Canada are on pins and needles with regard to their care. They need to be on top of any changes that elected officials decide to make, as it could deeply impact their health and well-being.
However, when you sign up for private insurance or supplemental insurance, you don't need to be so wary. Whatever you sign up for is going to be covered no matter what laws change and how the market moves. Health insurance companies that provide care to you are going to provide you with that care regardless of how laws change.
One of the most important things you can get from a private plan is long-term care insurance. Since elderly people and people with chronic problems need long-term care, often outside of the context of a group plan, paying into it now makes a lot of sense.
As your private plan is sure to stay reliable for a long time, it's one of the best investments you can make.
The health insurance companies in Canada are better for supplementing insurance than they are in other countries. Since so much is covered by state plans, the private companies operating in Canada are forced to offer a real value.
For more information on how to get private insurance in the first place, check out our latest guide.