When a person falls ill it tends to mean two things, firstly the person can’t work and secondly medical expenses mount up at the same time. This is what medical insurance, or health insurance
, is designed to deal with.
Health insurance in Canada
Some people think that health insurance is not necessary in Canada
due to the high level of government involvement in health care. While there is a higher level of government health coverage than in the United States, this also means that there are often shortages and queues for treatment. Private health cover is often necessary to beat these queues. There are also areas which the government does not fully cover, or only partially covers, such as dental treatment. Health insurance is still something that should be considered.
Different types of health insurance
Group health insurance is often offered by employers or as part of a health insurance plan in an affinity scheme by a trade union, employee group or alumni association. This is only offered to the members of the group and tends to be cheaper than generally available insurance
. Individual health insurance, sometimes called private health insurance, is sold to an individual to cover their needs. This is often more expensive than affinity schemes as there is a higher cost of marketing and less knowledge of the insured person.
Family health insurance is designed to cover all the members of a family, and is often cheaper than taking out individual policies
Employee health insurance: Employers will often provide health insurance to their employees. This is not simply a benefit of the job, but also connected with wanting their workers back at work as soon as possible, rather than waiting for treatment in the public health system.
is a similar product designed to meet the same needs for dental work but is not always included in health insurance plans.
Getting affordable health insurance
It is possible to get cheap health insurance. Here are a number of ways to do this.
- Cut bad habits. Bad habits really do add thousands of dollars to health insurance over a working life; this is particularly the case for smoking but also for bad diet and lack of exercise.
- Shop around. Get a number of health insurance quotes
. Different providers will put different weight on aspects such as age and previous health problems.
- Check eligibility for affinity schemes and group health insurance. These can often, although not always, be cheaper than individual health insurance schemes.
- Know the level of cover. It is possible to be over insured, so check that the level of cover is appropriate.
All provincial governments offer their residents some basic health coverage. This usually includes eye examinations, regular visits to a doctor and some basic hospital accommodation if this is necessary. This can vary between regions with provinces having more generous coverage while other provinces tend to have a very basic coverage.
Health insurance providers
A health insurance plan is mainly offered by life insurance
companies, and it is commonly called the “life and health insurance” sector to distinguish it from the “general insurance” sector. These companies have tended to be mutually owned, although in the late 1990s there was a wave of consolidation and demutualization that saw many providers converted into profit making companies quoted on the Stock Exchange. Recently there have been some new entrants who traditionally specialised in home
or auto insurance
as well as some specialist health insurance companies.
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