Updated April 20, 2022
Few things are as important as health insurance. In Canada, every citizen has healthcare coverage. The government funded system however, doesn't cover things like prescription lenses and visits to the optometrist, dental care (unless it's an emergency and services are performed in a hospital), and prescription medication. There are exceptions to these rules if you are over 65, or under 25.
While Canada's healthcare system is robust and provides access to hospitals, visits to the doctor and specialists, it doesn't cover access to services like physiotherapy, chiropractors, mental health professionals, and much more. Having access to these types practitioners can have a huge impact on how you manage and prolong both your physical and mental health.
This is where having a private or supplemental health care plan can be a huge investment. As of January 2022, an estimated 60% of Canadians have either out right purchased additional healthcare plans, have benefits through their work, or both.
Not all insurance plans are created equal, though. Some offer much more coverage, and some are more expensive than others. So how do you know which is best?
To find the best insurance plans, look for the best insurance companies. To help you make the right decision, we've done some of the research for you.
With that being said, let's take a closer look at Canada's top 5 health insurance companies, what makes them the best and what their health products look like.
Manulife has everything to be proud of. As 2020 came to a close, 37,000 people were employed with the company not including the 118,000 agents that have served well over 30 million happy customers. For a company that been in business for over 133 years, it's no wonder the company has $1.3 trillion in assets under administration and management. In the face of Covid 19, not only does Manulife promote health and wellness through their Vitality initiative for their customers, but they've actually given their staff an extra week off in 2022, as well as the option to work one half Friday per month.
Manulife offers multiple types of insurance. You can get both health and dental insurance through them.
Whether you want one or the other, Manulife is focused on the flexibility you need to tailor an insurance plan to meet your needs.
Aside from basic health and dental insurance, Manulife offers some more specific options. These include disability insurance and critical illness insurance.
For many, having multiple lines of insurance through the same provider is beneficial.
When it comes to regular health and dental plans, Manulife offers two options. These are called Flexcare and FollowMe health and dental insurance.
Flexcare insurance stays with you wherever you go, even if you change jobs. FollowMe reimburses you and helps covers expenses that may not be covered under provincial plans.
Do you have three or more children? If so, Manulife has special rates for you, no matter which health and dental plan you choose.
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2. Blue Cross Canada
Blue Cross was founded in 1939 with Manitoba being the first to establish a plan. Soon after, all other provinces followed suit. With the inception of the Medicare system in the 1960's, Blue Cross adapted their plans to complement provincial health care, especially due to the rising cost for prescription drugs. More to their supplementary drug coverage, Blue Cross also provides dental, life and travel insurance.
Blue Cross insurance is unique in that it offers insurance coverage in multiple countries. In Canada, they operate in every province and across every territory. Coverage types and plans vary across locations so it's important to consult with an agent for details.
Your provincial health plan already covers some basic needs. Blue Cross insurance is designed to provide coverage beyond that.
If you have a unique work situation, this may be a good option for you. Blue Cross specializes in making sure their plans help those who need them.
Whether you're employed with a small or large company, or are self employed, Blue Cross is a sound option to consider.
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3. Sun Life Financial
The 42,100 employees and 140,900 advisors at SunLife would tell you that this organization is a great one to work for. Focused on healthy living and financial freedom, the education they promote to their clients is very much a practice in the workplace as well. In 2020, the company saw $2.4 billion in net income and reported $1.25 trillion of assets under management.
Sun Life Financial offers health and dental coverage, but you can't get dental coverage on its own. You'll have to take the health insurance coverage too, but the product offerings in each of those combined plans are very attractive.
The health insurance offered by Sun Life is comparable to others on this list. It's laid out in easy-to-understand terms on their website, which is helpful, especially if you tend to get confused when it comes to insurance.
You have three health insurance options to choose from with Sun Life. They call these Personal Health Insurance and Health Coverage Choice: Basic, Standard and Enhanced Plans. They offer anywhere from 60-80% coverage on prescription drugs and dental coverage and many other travel and paramedical services as well.
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4. GreatWest Life
GreatWest Life has been a household name since 1847. The company was founded in Winnipeg Manitoba and paid out its first death claim in 1893 for an insured killed in a bicycle accident. By 1897, the company was represented across every province in Ontario.
The business continued to evolve and thrive over the last century and beyond until January 1, 2020 when it amalgamated with London Life Insurance and become The Canada Life Assurance Company.
They offer several plans to choose from. Though the name is somewhat deceiving, this company does offer more than life insurance.
What you'd be looking for here is health and dental insurance. These plans are designed for people who don't have group benefits or are losing health coverage for some reason.
What do these plans cover? They're available for both you and your family. Those insured receive help with prescription drug, hospital, ambulance, and vision costs, to list only a few.
The idea here is to make your health plan feel like you're covered with group benefits, even if you're not.
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GMS (Group Medical Services) was opened in 1949, long before publicly funded health care was available in the country in the lovely province of Saskatchewan. The unique aspect of this company is that it was actually founded by a group of determined doctors, community and friends; as part of their mission statement, their primary focus on wellness first. GMS offers several health coverage plan options. These include travel insurance, student insurance, replacement health coverage, and personal health coverage.
Do you have friends or family that are visiting from out of country? They can secure health insurance from GMS during their stay. As a resident of Canada, you may be interested in either the personal or replacement health coverage options.
Personal health coverage plans are meant to extend the coverage you have through your province. They're flexible and cater to your needs. These include dental coverage and prescription drugs.
GMS offers three personal health coverage plans. The Basic Plan, ExtendaPlan, and the OmniPlan. Each one offers different benefits with the OmniPlan being the creme de la creme as it brings you services like naturopathy and accidental dental, so make sure you familiarize yourself with them all before making a choice. Once you've chosen a plan you can also add additional coverage.
Replacement health coverage is for those who're losing group benefits in the near future. GMS also offers three plans for this type of coverage.
If side-by-side comparison would be helpful, speak with us today. Our agents would be happy to spend the time to understand your unique needs and provide more detailed information on how a GMS health and dental plan can benefit you.
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Take Care of Your Health with These Top 5 Health Insurance Companies
Health insurance is one of those things you'll likely always be paying for, but it's always worth it in the end. Make sure you choose a plan that gets you high-quality coverage by going with one of these 5 health insurance companies.
Take a look at the plans that are offered and choose the one that best meets your needs. Whether you need prescription drug coverage, dental coverage, or bare-bones health coverage, there are options for you.
Not sure how to choose the right health insurance plan? Click here for more information.