Health insurance in Canada

Health insurance in Canada

After all that pondering, you have finally decided to start your Canadian adventure. Perhaps you have chosen to take a short vacation to get acquainted with this wonderful country, or maybe you have already applied for a student or work visa. In any case, the most important thing for you to consider at this point is how healthcare operates in Canada and how that might affect you.

If you come from a country where healthcare is universal, you will be slightly shocked to discover that in Canada only permanent residents or citizens are eligible for free healthcare – and even so, certain treatments are not included in it, forcing them to pay for medical procedures out of their own pocket. That is why, whether you decide to travel here for a two-week trip or for a longer stay, we always recommend you bring a medical insurance with you. You would not believe the prices for an emergency visit to the hospital or a 20-minute consultation, so in order to avoid unnecessary scares, we provide you with several so that you do not have to worry about such things while you are here.

If you are here on vacation, your best option would be to hire a private health insurance in your home country that could cover any potential medical emergencies while you are travelling. A full basic health insurance package is rarely costly, and should any medical emergencies arise, it will save you from paying large amounts of money to solve them. To avoid further issues, check with your insurance company which hospitals and clinics you are allowed to go to in case of emergency and make sure you always carry their contact information and insurance policy with you.

If you have come to Canada as a student or worker, we recommend you look carefully at the insurance conditions you are planning to hire because, even though there are many insurances in the market, not all of them follow the same procedures. The majority of insurance companies ask you to pay the entirety of your medical expenses and reimburse you after; however, more often than not these expenses are extremely high, so this type of policies may not be the best option for you. In turn, other insurance companies pay for your major medical expenses directly, but it is not surprising to discover their policies only include prescribed medications coverage for a limited amount of time – or not at all. If this is the case, you would need to cover these yourself and send your invoices to the insurance company after the last day of treatment to get your money reimbursed.

The Canadian health system relies on walk-in clinics. Depending on your health insurance, you will be provided with a list of which of these clinics you are allowed to go to, but do not panic: there are hundreds of them! They usually accept patients without an appointment, but you might have to wait an average of two hours until the doctor is able to see you. If you are in need of urgent care, you should go directly to the hospital instead.

After three months in Canada, you are eligible to apply for the Medical Service Plan or MSP, which is Canada’s health insurance, so if you have already paid for your private health insurance prior to arrival, you may request a cancellation and a partial reimbursement of said insurance once you have officially been accepted into the MSP.

The MSP is very convenient since it covers cases that your private insurance probably does not, so make certain that you request it as soon as you are eligible. When you are accepted into the program, you will be charged a specific amount retroactively from the moment you applied for it – for instance, in Vancouver, MSP monthly rate is a total of $37.50. After that, you will be able to use it in any walk-in in your city without an issue and apply for an appointed family doctor if you would like, although it is often not easy to find a doctor open to new patients in your favourite clinic.

In addition to all that, we would recommend you to bring any prescribed medication you may need during the duration of your stay with you, particularly if it is the first time you visit. However, make sure that said medication is always accompanied by a doctor note with their medical board number – preferably in English – in case a customs official decides to check your luggage. In doing so, you will avoid any potential issues that may arise during the first months in the country until you find other options. With that in mind, bear in mind that some prescribed medications tend to be on the pricier side – and MSP does not cover these – so if you need regular medication, you should look into hiring an insurance only for this purpose.

If you would like more information about this topic, you don’t need to look any further: Accommodation Canada can help you out! Do not hesitate to write us an email to info@accommodationincanada.ca or send us a message via Facebook. Our team will be happy to answer all your questions!


Seguros médicos en Canadá

Finalmente te has decidido a emprender tu aventura canadiense. Has optado por hacer un viaje de placer primero para conocer este maravilloso país, has aplicado a una working holiday o cualquier otra visa para trabajar o simplemente vienes como estudiante. De cualquier forma lo más importante ahora mismo es el tema sanitario.

Si procedes de algún país donde la sanidad es universal te chocará un poco descubrir que en Canadá sólo los residentes tienen sanidad gratuita, y aun así muchos tratamientos no están incluidos, por lo que a veces incluso tienen que pagar por ellos. Es por ello que cuando llegas tanto de vacaciones o para un periodo de tiempo más largo siempre, siempre te recomendamos que traigas contigo un seguro médico, y es que ni te imaginarías los precios que puede tener una visita de emergencia al hospital o una simple consulta a un médico, por lo que para evitar sustos innecesarios te facilitamos opciones con las que venir tranquilo en ese aspecto tan importante.

Si vienes de vacaciones contrata en tu propio país un seguro que cubra estos supuestos de una emergencia médica, esa se la mejor opción. No supone mucho dinero a la hora de pagar el paquete completo del viaje pero si pasa algo y necesitas un médico verás que tener un seguro evitará que tengas que desembolsar grandes cantidades de dinero. Eso si, infórmate bien de a que hospitales o clínicas debes acudir si lo necesitas, lleva contigo siempre el teléfono de contacto así como la póliza del seguro.

Si vienes a estudiar o trabajar en Canadá te recomendamos que mires bien que seguro contratas. Existen muchos seguros en el mercado pero no todos responden igual. Muchos te obligan a adelantar el dinero y después te lo reembolsan, pero piensa que a veces las cantidades no son precisamente pequeñas por lo que quizás esa opción no es la más factible para tí. Otros se hacen cargo directamente de los gastos, aunque muchas veces no cubren la medicación, y si lo hacen es por un periodo de tiempo determinado, en ese caso si tendrás que adelantar tu el pago del tratamiento y tras aportar las facturas, el dinero es reembolsado por la compañía aseguradora.

El sistema médico en Canadá funciona a través de Walk-in Clinics, dependiendo de tu seguro médico, éste te proporcionará un listado de las que puedes usar, pero tranquilo, hay cientos en todas partes. Normalmente suelen aceptar pacientes sin cita, eso si, tendrás que esperar una media de 2 h hasta que te atienda el médico, pero obviamente si necesitas una atención de urgencia, directamente debes acudir al hospital.

Una vez estés establecido en Canadá, a los tres meses puedes solicitar el MSP, que es el seguro médico propio de Canadá, por lo que si has venido con tu seguro médico privado ya pagado, puedes una vez recibas el MSP, solicitar la cancelación de tu seguro médico anterior y la devolución de la parte proporcional que no has usado.

El MSP es muy conveniente puesto que cubre supuestos que probablemente tu otro seguro no cubre, por lo que una vez puedas, debes solicitarlo. Por ejemplo en Vancouver su precio actual es de $37,50 al mes. Una vez esté aprobado te cargarán las facturas desde el momento de su solicitud, y podrás hacer uso de él. Entonces podrás usar cualquier wak-in de tu ciudad sin ningún problema y si quieres puedes aplicar para un médico de familia, aunque muchas veces no es sencillo encontrar un médico abierto a nuevos pacientes en la clínica que más te interesa.

Un consejo a mayores es que cuando viajes intentes traer contigo cualquier medicación que necesites, eso sí, siempre acompañada de un informe médico firmado con el número de colegiado y a poder ser en inglés por si deciden revisar tu equipaje. Esta opción te evitará sustos sobre todo los primeros meses hasta que encuentren otras opciones aquí, pero siempre recuerda que los medicamentos suelen ser caros e incluso el MSP no cubre estos gastos, por lo que si necesitas medicación habitual quizás podrías pensar en contratar un seguro especial sólo para medicinas.

Si necesitas más información, Accommodation Canada puede ayudarte, por favor envíanos un correo a info@accommodationincanada.ca o mándanos un mensaje a Facebook, nuestro equipo estará encantado de contestar todas tus preguntas.

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