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Buying Health Insurance in Canada?

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Buying Health Insurance in Canada?

Hi all,

I am in a slightly confusing situation and I can't for the life of me figure out the best solution. I am an Irish and Canadian citizen living in Ireland. I was born in Toronto and have a Canadian passport and birth cert etc. In 30 days I'm moving to Vancouver on my own. My plan is to find some short term accomodation for 3 months (sublet etc.) in Vancouver and work there for the summer (I've just got my SIN number). In August I plan on travelling down to the US to visit friends for two months and then move on to Toronto in October to find work for the foreseeable future.

My question is how to get health insurance. My health insurance has run out in Ireland so I want to get it in Canada (makes sense). Will I qualify right away for medical coverage in BC? Is it free/expensive? Do I need to buy separate medical coverage for my two months in the US? Is it better to get travel insurance for the two months in US?

It's impossible to find answers online as very few people are in my situation (a citizen who hasn't been to the country in 10 years- I'm 23). Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Cheers!

Jasper, Canada
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for Jasper, Jasper National Park, Canadian Rockies
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1. Re: Buying Health Insurance in Canada?

Welcome to the TripAdvisor forums!

This is a good example of "google is your friend". Being a government service (in this case, the BC provincial government), there is a very informative website that can answer your questions about qualifying for coverage under the BC provincial plan. I don't think it matters that you have been overseas - a Canadian citizen is a Canadian citizen; what will matter is if you meet their definition of "resident". www.health.gov.bc.ca/insurance/index.html

In Ontario, the public plan there is called "OHIP" - Ontario Health Insurance Plan.

As for insurance for the USA - YES!, you need coverage. Even if you qualify for BC insurance, it will only pay out-of-area expenses to the maximum of what it would pay in BC, which will do you no good in the US, where medical services are expensive. One thing to be aware of, though, is that for Canadians, supplementary insurance (emergency medical coverage) usually requires that your provincial coverage be in effect. Read the fine print carefully!

Edited: 07 May 2013, 21:08
Jasper, Canada
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for Jasper, Jasper National Park, Canadian Rockies
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2. Re: Buying Health Insurance in Canada?

Here is a better link: health.gov.bc.ca/insurance/bcresidents.html If you have questions, I would contact the government department directly, since none of us here on a travel forum can assist you in this.... you're better off talking directly to the right people.

Nanaimo, Canada
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for Nanaimo, Vancouver Island
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3. Re: Buying Health Insurance in Canada?

The residency requiremensts for Medical Services Plan in British Columbia are below.

health.gov.bc.ca/msp/infoben/eligible.html

If you do not qualify for BC medical you may be able to get it from a private broker.

Once you qualify for Medical Services Plan you will need to obtain a renewable 5 year BC Services Card which you display at doctors offices, medical appointments and emergency services.

health.gov.bc.ca/msp/infoben/carecard.html

Yes, it would be wise to buy additional insurance for coverage in while you are in the United States. You can do this through a private broker (like through BC Automobile Association) or through your credit card if you have a card with this type of amenity (like a Royal Bank Avion or CIBC Aventura or MasterCard World cards)

SE Ontario
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4. Re: Buying Health Insurance in Canada?

But do note, that BC medical insurance will not be applicable in Ontario, except for a short period while you get settled and working. Health plans are provincial jurisdictions, and each province has their own rules. While theoretically the coverage is transferable (if I needed medical attention in BC, the hospital would probably accept my OHIP), it does not cover all situations.

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5. Re: Buying Health Insurance in Canada?

Wow thanks for the great information so fast. I've read all of your comments- and followed all your links- and it makes a lot more sense now, so thank you.

It seems getting the health insurance in BC is not worth my while as I'll be leaving so soon and going travelling. By the time I get it I'll be going. And it won't apply in US or anywhere else in Canada (at least not long term).

So what I'm going to do is just get long term travel insurance from a company in Ireland. That will cover me for emergency health care in both US and Canada. It's a bit more expensive because it covers other things but it's much easier than going through separate companies. So in other words I'll think of my two months in BC as holiday rather than a move of country... if you get me.

Then when I arrive in Toronto I can start my application for my OHIP and time it for when my other insurance runs out. Thanks for all that info, and sorry for my ignorance. I only got my Canadian passport/citizenship a month ago so I'm still learning!

SE Ontario
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6. Re: Buying Health Insurance in Canada?

Info on applying for Ontario Health Insurance.

ontario.ca/health-and-wellness/health-cards

Nanaimo, Canada
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7. Re: Buying Health Insurance in Canada?

I think that is your best move Jay C. We used to live outside Canada as well and would purchase our global health care through a London based insurer and did not apply for BC Medical until we had permanently moved back. Granted more expensive but all you need is one, small trip to a US hospital and that insurance will look like a bargain in hindsight!

Welcome home.

8. Re: Buying Health Insurance in Canada?

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