Health Insurance in Canada: What You Need to Know

Living in Canada comes with the advantage of having access to universal health care that covers a large portion of your medical expenses  in the event of illness or accident. However, it’s important to note that this coverage is not immediately available to new immigrants or Canadians returning to Canada after an extended period abroad. Fortunately, there are insurance solutions specifically designed to provide all the coverage you need as soon as you arrive.

How do I become eligible for government-funded health insurance?

If you are a newcomer to Canada, you must register for the government health insurance plan in your new province. For example, residents of Ontario must apply through the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP). The same procedure applies to both immigrants to Canada and Canadian expatriates returning home.

It is important to complete the registration after your arrival. Keep in mind that there may be a waiting period before you receive your health insurance card, so we recommend that you send in your application as soon as possible. You can find detailed information on the application procedure on your province’s website. 

Why do I need health insurance?

Many people don’t realize the potential financial burden associated with medical treatment at a clinic or hospital after a medical emergency in the absence of coverage. Without health insurance, you are responsible for all medical costs related to accidents, injuries and sudden illnesses. Medical bills can skyrocket and you’ll have to pay for these expenses out of your pocket.

For this reason, the Canadian government recommends that newcomers purchase private health insurance while waiting to become eligible for their provincial health insurance plan. Your insurance plan must provide coverage for medical expenses and emergency costs.

Until my provincial health insurance plan is available, what type of insurance do I need? 

Once I’ve received my health insurance card, do I need additional coverage?