Health & Dental Insurance

A foundational part of financial planning is ensuring you have comprehensive health coverage in place.

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What is health insurance?

Health insurance in Canada plays a crucial role in managing both routine and unexpected health-related expenses. It covers a range of services, from paramedical treatments, dental and vision care, to significant costs like hospital stays and prescription medications.

As a Canadian citizen, your primary health coverage comes from the health insurance plan of the province where you reside. Each provincial plan offers a foundation of essential health services. However, there are often gaps in coverage, particularly for services like dental care, vision care, and certain prescription drugs. This is where private health insurance, offered by insurance companies, becomes vital. It acts as a supplement to your provincial health plan, filling in these gaps and providing broader health coverage. Consequently, in Canada, private health insurance is frequently referred to as an 'extended health care plan' because it extends the benefits of your government-provided health insurance.

In essence, a private health insurance plan in Canada is designed to alleviate the financial burden of those health and dental expenses not covered by your provincial government health care plan, ensuring a more comprehensive health safety net.

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What does health insurance cover?

Health insurance plans cover a combination of routine expenses (i.e. planned predictable expenses), and unplanned expenses. Every plan will vary with regard to coverage amounts for each of these benefits.

  • Prescription drugs
  • Dental visits
  • Paramedical services
  • Vision care
  • Ambulance (air / ground)
  • Hospital accomodation
  • Emergency travel medical
  • Medical equipment

How do the types of health insurance plans compare?

There are three main types of health insurance plans; Medically Underwritten, Guaranteed Issue, and Guaranteed Acceptance. The appropriate plan for you depends on your circumstances. An advisor can assist in determining the appropriate plan for you.

Medically Underwritten
Guaranteed Issue
Guaranteed Acceptance
  • Medical questionnaire required
  • Lowest relative cost
  • Most benefits per dollar
  • Excludes pre-existing conditions
  • Can apply anytime, acceptance is subject to qualifying medically
  • No medical questionnaire
  • Moderate relative cost
  • Moderate benefits per dollar
  • Covers pre-existing conditions
  • Must apply within 60-90 days of employee benefits terminating
  • No medical questionnaire
  • Highest relative cost
  • Fewest benefits per dollar
  • Covers pre-existing conditions
  • Can apply anytime, acceptance is guaranteed

Get help with your health insurance planning.

Speak with a professional advisor who can help.


How much does health insurance cost?

There are a number of factors that can affect plan pricing, including:

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Generally, insurance cost less for younger age groups, and more for older age groups

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Single, couple or family

Plan cost will vary depending on the number of people covered.

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Province of residence

Plan cost can vary from one province/territory to the next.

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Plan selection

Plans that include more benefits and higher coverage amounts come at a higher cost.

Get in touch

Talk to an advisor who can understand your situation, answer your questions and help you build an insurance plan appropriate for you and your family.

Frequently asked questions

Answers to key questions about Health and Dental Insurance

When should I apply for health insurance?

One should consider applying for Health Insurance in the following cases:

  1. Ideally, when you are young and have relatively little health history.
  2. When you turn age 21, and are no longer a 'dependent' under your parents plan. This could be turning age 25 if you were a full-time student attending post-secondary (depending on which plan your parents have).
  3. When you become a Canadian citizen and are covered by a provincial government health care plan.
  4. When you leave your employer and lose your employee group benefits (applying within 60-days is best).
  5. When you separate from a spouse and need to find your own plan.
  6. When you are going self-employed.
  7. When your employee group benefits are underwhelming and you wish to supplement with your own plan.
What do you need to get health insurance?

To be eligible for an individual health insurance plan, you must meet the following requirements (regardless of insurance company):

  • Be a resident of Canada
  • Have coverage under your government health insurance plan
  • Be at least 18 years of age on the date of application for the  policy, except for children of an insured person.
  • Quebec residents must also be registered under the RAMQ Prescription Drug Insurance Plan or have equivalent coverage under a group plan.

Note: If the plan is Medically Underwritten it will require a medical questionnaire, and you will need to qualify medically. If you do not qualify due to your health history there are alternative options (e.g. Guaranteed Acceptance plan) available.

How long does it take to get health insurance?

It depends on the type of plan.

  • For Guaranteed Issue and Guaranteed Acceptance plans, your coverage will be effective on the 1st of the next month after an application and payment is received.
  • For Medically Underwritten plans, your coverage coverage will be effective on the 1st of the next month after an application has been approved (subject to qualifying medically) and payment is received.
  • Medically Underwritten plans can sometimes take longer as the insurance company usually needs to obtain records from your attending physician(s). Average time to approval tends to be about 3-weeks. If the insurance company has difficulty obtaining the medical records from your attending physician(s) this may take additional time.
What is medical underwriting?

Medical underwriting is a process used by insurance companies to evaluate an individual's health risks based on their medical history, age, and lifestyle. This assessment helps determine the terms of the insurance coverage, including premium costs and any exclusions. The outcome influences the affordability and extent of coverage offered to the individual. In some cases, coverage may be declined if an individual's risk is deemed too high.

During underwriting, the insurer may request medical records from the insured person's physician, require health examinations, and ask the applicant to complete a health questionnaire as part of the application. This information provides a comprehensive view of the applicant's health.

Do I need a medical exam to get health care coverage?

No, there typically is no physical or other medical exam required to qualify for any health or dental care plan.

Medical exams (including blood and urine samples) are common for other forms of insurance, such as Life, Disability, Critical Illness etc.

For Medically Underwritten health care plans, there will be medical questions on the application, and the insurer may write to your physician (and compensate them) to produce a summary of your medical history. This is usually all that is required, though the insurer can request additional information as needed.

Still have questions?

Please contact our office and we'll be happy to address any questions you may have.