O Canada! The provincial health system is the envy of the world, especially to our Southern neighbours. Famously, even a U.S. Senator known for his objections to socialized medicine came to Canada for care. Our public-private healthcare system offers many choices to the consumer.
Government health insurance plans cover many basic medical expenses. But you need coverage for most vision and dental care. Emergency care is covered, but not the ambulance. You need to cover prescriptions and physical therapy on your own, too.
What if you are self-employed or part of an immigration class that needs its own insurance coverage. Need to determine your price? Features? Private health insurance quotes online may be just the timesaver you need.
Read on to learn more.
Why Shop Around?
On average, Canadian households spend roughly $13,000 on health care costs covered by taxes and private insurance premiums. It works out to about $6,839 per person. Roughly 69 percent of the cost is covered by provincial health services, the remaining 31 percent is private expenditure.
Two-thirds of Canadians have some form of supplementary private health insurance through a group plan offered by their union or employer. Insurance plans vary in cost, quality and benefits. There is no mandated percentage of the premium an employer must pay.
You could find yourself paying 90 percent or more of a several hundred dollars a month premium - with minimal coverage! It's worth it to ask questions and get private health insurance quotes online for comparisons.
It's Not One System, It's 13 Different Systems
Where you are located determines what is covered by the public healthcare system. The provinces have varying coverage. This, in turn, influences the cost and value of supplementary insurance.
All provincial plans share a common trait. Public healthcare only pays for a medically necessary physician, diagnostic, and hospital services. Most prescription drugs, long-term care for the elderly, dental care and vision care is paid out of pocket.
Some types of laboratory services, oral surgeries in hospitals, medically-required eye exams, or orthodontics might fall into the public plan, but most of these types of costs are privately paid. Each province and territory determines what is "medically necessary."
Know your local health policy so you know what plan you need to cover the "gaps" in services. From there, determine if you want upgrades like chiropractic care, alternative medicines, acupuncture or therapy.
Private Health Insurance Quotes Online - How Does It Work?
Getting information from several different insurance brokers is time-consuming. It's difficult to compare coverage and get straight answers. Some insurance companies use brokers who can quote several different lines of insurance.
Other insurance companies use sales agents who may only quote their line of insurance. The price and benefit comparisons are up to your time and effort. The advantage of online quotes is that you can give your information once and get a qualified agent or broker to give you a personalized recommendation almost instantly.
Just click on the "Get a Quote" button at the top of any page to start the process.
How Do Insurance Companies Determine Premiums?
Your location affects your premium. Some plans are more costly in some areas. This is due to different health plans and risk factors. Some risk factors are entirely under your control.
Reduce your risk exposure to get the very lowest cost quotes for you and your family. Risk factors include:
If you or anyone in your household smokes, expect to pay more for health insurance. Tobacco use increases the chance of you or a family member having a respiratory issue, cancer or heart disease.
People who are obese often pay higher health insurance premiums. A high Body Mass Index is related to joint pain, fertility issues, heart disease and more. Overweight and obese people are at greater risk for diabetes and stroke.
Severely underweight people can be prone to joint issues, weak bones or poor dental health. Insurers want bigger premiums for this kind of risk.
Stress and Physical Fitness
People who participate in some form of regular physical activity are healthier than individuals who do not exercise. Your insurance company may take this into consideration when making your quote.
Other Factors That Affect Premiums
While you do not have control over these factors, they do play a role in your insurance quote.
The ages of you and your family members are factors in premium calculation. In general, younger people are less expensive than older people. The older a person is, the more likely they are to have chronic health conditions.
Very old and very young family members may affect your premium. In general, insurance does not cover respite care or daycare.
Pre-Existing Health Conditions
Cancer, diabetes, arthritis or other illnesses in the past can cause insurers to reject you or your family members. Other insurers charge higher premiums for groups with pre-existing conditions.
For some conditions, an insurer may simply block payments for a certain condition in order to write the policy. They will cover other illnesses, just not conditions caused by the original ailment.
Not all conditions automatically get rejected by every insurer. Not all pre-conditions are penalized with increased premiums by every insurer. That’s why it's important to get quotes from all your options before selecting a health plan. Some of Canada’s health insurance providers accept everyone.
Costs Other Than Premiums
Be sure to look at all of the out-of-pocket costs, not just the monthly premium. Many plans have deductibles and co-payments. These can add up quickly and should be part of your comparison.
This is the amount you must pay out-of-pocket before your health insurance plan covers your treatment costs. For example, if you have a $300 deductible, the first $300 of healthcare not covered by provincial health is paid-out-of-pocket before your supplementary health insurance starts paying for care.
Deductibles renew every year. So even if you are undergoing a treatment continuously for a year, at each anniversary, you need to pay the deductible again.
Co-Payment or Co-Insurance
Some health policies make you responsible for a portion of your healthcare costs after your deductible is paid. For example, if you have 80/20 co-insurance, after the first $300 in the above paragraph, the next service is dental restoration.
You pay 20 percent of the bill. Your supplementary insurance picks up 80 percent of the cost. Another form of the same idea is that you have a fixed co-payment. For example, you might have a $15 co-payment for prescription drugs. Every prescription you fill costs $15, with your insurance company picking up the rest.
Health Plan Annual Limits
All health plans have an annual and lifetime maximum dollar payout for certain products and services. For example, Plan I might set a limit of $100 a year for vision coverage while Plan II pays a maximum of $1,000 a year for medical devices such as glasses and hearing aids.
After the plan has paid for glasses up to the annual limit, you are responsible for the additional costs. It may be worth it to your family to choose higher limits of coverage, even if the premium is higher. Select a plan with annual maximum limits that meet your needs.
Finding the Right Insurer
There are more than 150 insurers offering health and life policies in Canada. When you are ready to make your purchase, make sure that the agent, broker or sales entity is licensed in your province.
If you are currently covered by an employer-provided health plan, look into supplementary family plans with your employer first. Bundling additional policies with your employer-provided policy can be cost-effective.
For certain types of insurance, you cannot choose private coverage outside of your employer-offered plan. Even if the same or better coverage is less expensive. If you are self-employed, near retirement, or part of a special immigration class, your insurance needs are complicated.
An online insurance quote is a good place to start. Just make sure to review the quote thoroughly before signing up.
Start Comparisons Today
You can get your private health insurance quotes online immediately. Our easy to use quote system matches you to the most qualified brokers and agents in your area. Only the best and largest companies make our health insurance comparison chart.
The number of available plans varies. However, comparing premiums, annual limits, co-pays and geographical scope is a simple website visit. One company may have a dozen or more plans.
Narrow down your supplementary health plan providers by location, budget and service level. The government plans cover only medically necessary procedures and treatments, the rest of the medical expenses are up to you.
Contact us to start your health insurance cost comparison today!