Canada offers its citizens and permanent residents a high-quality healthcare system and social insurance that covers most of their healthcare expenses... as long as the care is provided by the public sector. However, the structural saturation of the health system very often leads insured persons to seek treatment in the private sector, whose fees are very high and entirely at the individual’s expense if they do not have supplementary health insurance.
Health insurance for expats in Canada
How does the healthcare system work in Canada?
Every citizen and permanent resident in Canada benefits, unconditionally, from a universal health insurance system. On simple presentation of their health insurance card, they benefit free of charge from all primary care provided by the public sector: general and specialist consultations, emergencies, tests, exams, hospitalisation, necessary medicines, etc.
This care is also offered by the many private clinics that exist in the country, but it is not covered by the Canadian health insurance system ― the expenses in this case are entirely borne by the insured.
In addition, some forms of care are not reimbursed by the Canadian social insurance:
> Important to know: the Health Insurance system is managed independently by each Canadian province. If you move from one province to another, you will need to apply for a new health card.
How to choose health insurance in Canada
Taking out supplementary health insurance in Canada is therefore essential, particularly to cover expenses that are not included under the standard health insurance coverage, but also to benefit from the reimbursement of care provided in the private sector.
Moreover, public hospitals are increasingly overcrowded as a result of a shortage of private-practice physicians over the last few years. Waiting times are often very long, pushing insured persons to turn to private facilities, which are more available.
To deal with this reality, the vast majority of residents in Canada purchase supplementary health insurance (when it is not offered by their employer, or additionally if their employee benefits do not meet their needs). By opting for international health insurance, expats can enjoy more specific benefits and services, tailored to their profile.