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Immigrating to Ontario, Canada: Getting Medical Insurance within 3 Months

Aug 12, 2008
Canada has one of the best health insurance programs in the world. Residents can go to the doctor and have their health issues taken care of without discrimination, without long waiting periods, and without having to pay outlandish medical bills. That is because medical costs are paid with taxpayer money. In other words, the residents of Canada are taking care of each other.

Each Canadian province has its own program. That means eligibility requirements may be different from one province to the next. Some require that residents pay a small fee each month for their insurance, while others may not have to pay anything at all. However, individuals migrating to Canadian provinces such as Ontario have a three month waiting period before their insurance kicks in.

Waiting period

The waiting period is to ensure that immigrants are permanent residents of Ontario. New Brunswick and Quebec have the same waiting periods, so this isn't at all unusual in Canada. This doesn't mean that you can't have some type of health insurance while you wait, though. This just means that you have to wait before taking part in the universal healthcare that is offered to the people of Canada. Everyone living within Ontario, regardless of how long they've lived there, has to wait three months after they have applied for their medical insurance card.

Luckily, though, it is only three months. There are other countries, such as the United States, whose employers offer medical insurance. Many times, employees have to wait anywhere between three months and a year before they have the opportunity to apply for health coverage. There are reimbursement programs that can be utilized in the meantime, but they are expensive to maintain and it is difficult for claims to be paid. This results in many individuals not seeking healthcare when they are sick or trying to treat injuries on their own. This can be dangerous, which is why Canada has implemented such a fine healthcare system.

Being covered during the waiting period

Luckily, you don't have to wait the entire three months to have some type of medical insurance. You can apply for private health insurance coverage, which is very easy to do. All you have to do is look in the yellow pages of the phone book and you will find listings of private insurance companies ready to insure people who are waiting for the end of their three month waiting period. Private insurance companies also come in handy when there is a certain health situation that is not covered under the government's health plan. There are individuals with certain health problems that use private insurance as a backup plan when their particular condition may not be covered, so this is something to take into consideration when your three month waiting period is over. Do you keep it or do you cancel it? That depends on your health problems and whether or not they are covered under the government plan. Employers also offer medical insurance plans to employees and simply deduct the premiums.

Some individuals keep private insurance after their three month waiting period because the government plan does not allow for dental coverage or private hospital rooms. Individuals that wish to have these two items may opt to keep their private insurance. It is up to you, but what is important is that you can have health coverage within three months of moving to Ontario. That means you do not have to worry about not being covered in case you fall ill or you have an accident that requires you to be treated or even hospitalized.
About the Author
Independent travel insurance, visitors health insurance and travel health insurance broker serves Canadians, Canadian expatriates and visitors to Canada. For your insurance needs, contact Pucher Insurance.
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