Health Insurance Alberta
If you are Canadian or new to Canada, it’s likely no surprise to you that we have great healthcare. Our government-provided health insurance plan is actually considered one of the best plans in the world. If you’re sick, simply go to the doctor for free. If you need emergency surgery or are having a baby, it’s free!
Many other countries require citizens to pay extortionate fees for any doctor or hospital visit.
As lucky as we are in Canada, the insurance plan does fall short in some areas. Thankfully, private health insurance plans exist to pick up the slack. Let’s take a deeper look at health insurance in Alberta!
How Health Insurance Works
In Canada, all citizens and long-term residents have access to a free health insurance plan. Each province has its own provincial health insurance plan. In Alberta, it’s called the Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan (AHCIP). The plan covers most services from hospitals and physicians. This means you can visit any hospital or doctor with your health card and not have to pay for any treatment you receive.
While the health coverage provided by the government health insurance plan is great, it’s limited. For example, it doesn’t provide dental coverage, prescription drugs or vision care. This is why many workplaces provide additional health insurance. If you are self-employed or don’t receive health insurance from your work, you can also take out private health insurance.
Private or semi-private health insurance should provide coverage for everything you lack from provincial health insurance. Most will provide coverage for dental, vision, prescription drugs, and medical equipment like hearing aids. Some will also provide benefits for services from physiotherapists or masseuses.
To receive private health insurance, you typically need to pay monthly or annually. How much you pay will depend on the coverage you receive.
Is Health Insurance Necessary in Alberta?
To determine whether or not health insurance is necessary in Alberta or not, we need to look at what the provincial plan covers first.
- Medical services from a physician.
- Diagnostic services that are medically required.
- Psychiatrist visits.
- Oral and maxillofacial surgery services.
- Bariatric surgery for Albertans who are eligible under the Weight Wise program.
- Breast augmentation and mastectomy for transgender surgery.
- Nursing services that are medically required.
- Standard accommodation in the hospital with meals and necessary medications.
- Inter-facility transfer in Alberta by ambulance.
- Eye exams for those under 18 and over 65.
- Some dental surgeries.
The main coverage the provincial health insurance is lacking is for vision, dental, and prescription. The cost of vision and dental care can add up, especially if you require glasses or dental care such as braces.
In these scenarios, private health insurance may be beneficial. Similarly, if you require consistent prescription drugs, the cost of them can add up. Having private health insurance to provide this coverage would thus be the best option for you.
Ultimately, you need to think about whether the cost of the services you require that are not covered is more than private health insurance would be.
Benefits of Health Insurance
If you have always lived in Canada, you may be wondering what the benefits of health insurance are. Many of us don’t realize how lucky we are to receive health coverage from the government. In countries that don’t, like the United States, citizens and up paying thousands of dollars for medical services. So, one of the main benefits of health insurance is the money it saves us.
Another one of the great benefits of health insurance plans, especially private ones, is the peace of mind they bring. You never know when you or your family will require health coverage. Medical emergencies can happen in the blink of an eye, and you don’t want to have to worry about paying for the coverage on top of all your other stress.
Insurance plans can help take away that stress, especially ones that let clinics and hospitals bill them directly. This will save you the headache of having to pay upfront then make a reimbursement claim afterwards.
The main benefits of health insurance plans are thus the money you save and the peace of mind you receive from having coverage.
The Bottom Line
Ultimately, the health insurance provided by the government is great. Canadians don’t need to worry about visiting the doctor or extended stays in the hospital. This saves citizens thousands of dollars. In fact, it’s estimated that the government spends over $7,000 on healthcare per citizen! Think of how much money that would be in your lifetime, especially if you have a family.
Although the government health plan is great, it doesn’t cover services like dental care or vision care. If you need additional coverage, see if your work offers an insurance plan. If not, private health insurance is a great option.