Across the world, people have lots of positive things to say about Canada's health care system. Since there are so many misconceptions about it, some people don't know how to get health insurance in Alberta, whether they're planning a move or visiting. Thankfully, the government makes it fairly easy once you've decided that you qualify for their insurance.
Here's what you need to know in order to qualify for health insurance in Alberta.
Have You Just Moved to Alberta?
If you're going to live in Alberta for 12 months in a row, you'll need to provide some documentation. For people looking to get coverage while living in Alberta, they need to prove first that they're legally allowed to be in the country. Following that, they'll need to confirm their identity and that they have a permanent address.
If someone moves to Alberta from outside of the country, they'll need some further documentation. They need to have documentation from border control when they entered. Original documents need to be provided upon request.
Then they'll need to have a valid work permit that lasts for at least six months. If they're in the country to study, there's a special study permit available. Other visitors, like refugees, must submit documentation knowing that not all Alberta permits result in insurance coverage.
New residents have a lot of challenges and a lot on their plate, even if their move is part of an exciting new life chapter. Waiting to apply for insurance just opens you up to a greater risk of problems down the line. Looking for coverage when you're in the throes of an illness or in the middle of an emergency isn't worth the stress.
Students Have Their Own Rules
Students who choose to study in Alberta come for some of the best academic institutions in Canada. While they're there, they're eligible for health care coverage to ensure that nothing interrupts their studies.
If you moved to Alberta to attend school from another country, you can still get covered by Alberta's health care system. If a student moves for more than 12 months and gets a study permit, they'll be eligible. If they're in the country for more than three months, but less than a year, with a letter of application, they'll be able to get coverage.
For students from another Province, there's still potential to be covered by Alberta's insurance plan. Other territories have an agreement with one another to help cover all Canadians. However, if a student plans to return to their home province, Alberta requires them to stay covered in their home province.
If you're already living in Alberta when you start to attend a university, you can stay covered for longer under a family plan. If a student is under 21, their parents have the option to extend their coverage to their children.
If they're under 25 but still attending an academic institution full-time, the coverage is allowed to remain a few more years. Much like students in other provinces, students who plan to return to Alberta get to stay on Alberta's plan.
Seniors Have Other Options
Any resident of Alberta 65 years of age or older gets to automatically qualify for great coverage. Alberta's Blue Cross Coverage for Seniors clicks into place the day they turn 65. This applies whether they register on their own with no dependents or get family coverage if they're taking care of someone else.
This plan is a supplement that helps to extend their Alberta Health Care Insurance. This coverage is meant to fill in the gaps for seniors who have additional health care needs. With all of the costs that aren't covered by the standard Alberta plan, seniors need help filling in the gaps.
So long as seniors are able to prove that they're 65 or older, they'll be eligible for these plans. Some seniors apply with their birth certificates while others simply bring a passport.
As long as the documentation of their age is official, seniors should have no trouble getting the supplemental insurance they're entitled to.
Extend Your Coverage Carefully
When it comes time to get everything you need to be covered, make an honest list of everything you need a plan to have. Consider whether you'll have ambulances, end of life care, or extended hospital stays covered with your Alberta plan. If you don't think you'll have everything you need, it's time to start shopping around at other insurance companies.
Shopping around for insurance takes time but with a clear set of goals, you'll get everything covered without having to overspend on health care costs. For people who need an extended vision or dental plan, supplemental or private insurance is the only option available. For anyone who needs regular prescription medication not covered by the Alberta plan, a supplemental plan is a must.
Just like comparison shopping for anything else, comparing insurance plans requires some time for research. You'll also have to prioritize each of your "must haves". You'll be balancing how much of a premium you can afford versus how much you'll pay until your insurance kicks in.
You might also need to have several types of insurance bundled together. Talk to a sales agent and talk to your doctor about what you need. Make a few phone calls and you'll end up saving yourself thousands in healthcare.
Health Insurance in Alberta Gives You a Ton of Benefits
If you don't know the benefits of having health insurance in Alberta, you don't want to wait until you get sick. When you get that bill in the mail that says $0 on it, you'll know what a great idea you've had.
If you're not sure why you need health insurance, check out our guide for more info.