If you are new to Canada or a returning citizen, you have likely heard that we have free healthcare. Well, the rumours are true! The Canadian government offers insurance for basic medical services to anyone eligible.
Best Health Insurance Ontario
While it may not be legally required in some provinces, such as Ontario, there is no downfall to applying for it and receiving coverage. Medical issues can arise at any time, and health insurance can help you avoid paying hefty medical bills.
If you want to know more about government or private health insurance in Ontario, continue reading!
How Health Insurance Works
In Canada, the government provides a free health insurance plan. In Ontario, it is called the Ontario Health Insurance Plan, which we’ll discuss in more detail in the next section.
Health insurance coverage exists to help residents receive medical services for free or at a lower cost. With the insurance plan from the province, you will not pay for medical services or coverage directly. You simply pay for the insurance through your taxes to the government. This post focuses on Ontario, but you can also go to the best health insurance pages dedicated to Alberta, British Columbia, and Quebec.
If you have private coverage through a provider or assistance program, you typically pay a monthly or annual premium.
The end result with both insurance types is the same. You will receive coverage when you go to the doctor or hospital. People tend to get private health insurance in addition to the government one. This is because they can then receive comprehensive coverage. This allows them to avoid paying for a lot for things such as prescription drugs or travel insurance.
Is Health Insurance Necessary in Ontario?
In ON, personal health insurance is not a legal requirement. That being said, if you want to receive free medical care in Canada, you will need a health insurance plan.
The good news is the existence of a government-run health insurance plan. It is often referred to as OHIP, which stands for the Ontario Health Insurance Plan. To be eligible for OHIP, you must reside in the province either permanently or longer than six months as a student or temporary worker.
Citizens and residents pay for OHIP through their taxes. It allows any eligible person to receive health care services for free. Most necessary medical services and health care is covered by OHIP. This includes things such as surgery, a general check-up, and maternity care.
OHIP does not, however, cover extended health care such as vision care (eye exams or glasses), dental, and prescription drugs.
To visit a doctor or hospital for free, you will need an Ontario service health card. To get your Ontario health card, you need to first reside in the province for three months. Then, you can go to a ServiceOntario office to get your health card, Ontario.
Benefits of Health Insurance
The main benefit of health insurance plans is to receive health coverage for any of your medical needs. You never know when you’ll need medical attention, and having to pay for it out of pocket could bankrupt you. Especially if you are self-employed.
As great as the health coverage that the government offers is, it can also be limiting. This is why some Canadians choose to take out personal health insurance or receive health insurance plans from work. Personal health insurance plans provide the coverage that the government health insurance lacks.
We touched on it a bit already, but you are not covered for obvious things such as vision care (eyeglasses or eye exams), prescription drugs, and dental. OHIP also only offers you the minimum amount of coverage for medical services. For example, if you want a semi-private room in a hospital, you would have to pay more. OHIP provides coverage for hospital wards rather than private or semi-private rooms.
Travel insurance is often available as an add-on to your personal insurance plan. This is recommended if you are leaving the country. OHIP does not include travel insurance.
So, the benefit of personal health insurance is that extended services such as vision care, eye exams, or travel insurance would be covered. You wouldn’t lose your OHIP either. Personal health insurance is just seen as an add-on that allows you to access further coverage.
The Bottom Line
Canadians are very lucky as we receive excellent health care by paying our taxes. Paying big medical bills for surgeries or chronic illnesses can bankrupt people. Canadians, however, do not need to worry about medical bills as much as others. Government coverage is quite comprehensive.
If you want insurance options for things such as travel insurance, prescription drugs, or vision care, you will need additional coverage. For more information, head to the insurer’s website directly.