Ontario Health Insurance Plan (or OHIP) is Ontario's public healthcare service. It pays for the majority of basic healthcare needs for most Canadians.
However, many Canadians choose to have a supplementary private insurance. This is for many reasons, but partially because Ontario, nor any other part of Canada, pays for prescription pharmaceuticals, or other necessary services.
This can lead to a huge out of pocket burden on the average Canadian. As a result, many people use healthcare plans given to them by their work or choose to purchase one.
So what type of health insurance plan should you buy to help mitigate the cost?
In this article, we'll discuss some of the things you should look for when choosing an insurance plan for you and/or your family.
Decide What You'll Need
OHIP covers a very specific range of services. What it won't cover are dental services (excluding those received in the hospital), the cost of eyeglasses or contacts, psychological services and some other specialty services (depending on what it is).
It also doesn't cover prescription drugs.
OHIP will also not cover you if you go to another country or province. If you become ill or get into an accident, you'll typically need your own health insurance in order to access the healthcare of another country or province.
If you need any of these services, as most of us often do, you'll need to decide which one offers you the best coverage for what you need. If, for example, you take prescription medication, you'll want a plan that covers it. You'll need to choose a health care provider that will do so.
Bear in mind that not all insurance providers cover everything. Therefore, you'll need to be pragmatic when deciding which provider to choose.
Figure Out What You'll Qualify For
Some insurance companies only offer comprehensive services only after health checks.
Most insurance companies will provide health insurance that doesn't include health exams, but these plans will most often be more basic. This is because most companies don't want to insure someone who could become a liability to them or actually need their services.
However, if you get insurance through your work, sometimes medical underwriting will be overridden and you can ensure yourself and family no matter their health statuses.
There are also insurance companies that put age limits on their insurance holders, so you'll need to research that as well before deciding on a research plan. Many will cut off at age 65, stating they won't insure anyone older than that.
Certain drugs and diseases may also not be covered under certain plans. Therefore, if you need these drugs or suffer from a certain disease, you will need to verify that your insurer will cover it before purchasing a plan. Otherwise, your plan may be rendered almost useless if it doesn't help you pay for the things you need most.
What Will Your Out of Pocket Costs Be with Each Type of Health Insurance Plan?
Out of pocket costs is another huge thing to consider, and it's an important aspect of picking the right healthcare plan.
While some insurances may be cheaper each month, if they don't cover you extensively, it may result in a higher out of pocket cost should you need to use the insurance.
You'll need to weigh whether a lower monthly cost and higher deductibles are preferable to a higher monthly cost and lower deductibles. While one plan may seem cheaper on the surface, it could end up costing you a lot more than it appears on the surface.
Find Out If Your Family Is Covered Under the Insurance Plan
Most often, if you work for a company that has private health insurance as part of its benefits package, you'll be able to bring your spouse and children on board.
If you take out insurance on your own, there may be some caveats to that. Therefore, you should understand exactly how many people they will cover before you sign up. You should also be aware if the deductibles and monthly costs will be the same for each person, or if they change depending on their age or relationship to you.
Being clear on this is paramount, as your family's health is the top priority.
Do Side-by-Side Comparisons
Pick out two or three health insurance plans that sound like they could work for your circumstances. Then, compare them side-by-side to decipher which one is best for you and your family.
Putting them side-by-side will help you see in black and white what works best for you. You may forget about certain caveats of each plan if you check one plan and then go back to look at another one.
This way, the price, what it covers, and your out-of-pocket costs are clear. And you can make a better-informed decision.
Buying an Insurance Plan
What type of health insurance plan you'll need varies greatly depending on your needs.
Even though Canada has free health care, most Canadians, particularly those in Ontario, choose to have private healthcare attached.
If you're still unsure whether you need healthcare when moving to Ontario, you can read our blog post on why it's a good idea.
And if you're ready to discuss some of your healthcare options, then contact us today. We can help you discuss which insurance is best for your situation and that of your family.
Together, we'll find a plan that works for you.