Are you returning to Canada from a stay abroad, or coming for the first time, without a Government Health Insurance Plan (GHIP)?
Visitors to Canada Emergency Medical Insurance Plans (VTC) are designed for travellers who are temporarily visiting Canada, however you may be surprised to learn that these policies may meet the needs of newcomers to Canada as well.
While VTC plans are not designed to match Canada’s universal health care plans (for example, benefits for regular check-ups are typically not included), newcomers to Canada may benefit from the emergency medical benefits available under a Visitors to Canada Emergency Medical Insurance Plan.
Why do newcomers to Canada need insurance; aren’t they covered under Canada’s healthcare system?
Depending on the province or territory of arrival, newcomers to Canada may wait up to three months for their Canadian Government Health Insurance Plan (GHIP) to come into effect. During this time, they are not eligible for coverage under Canada’s universal healthcare plan.
It is recommended newcomers purchase emergency medical insurance to financially protect themselves and their families from the costs they may incur if they require emergency medical treatment during the waiting period.
What happens if I purchase a policy for a coverage period of three months, however, after six weeks I become covered under a government health insurance plan?
Most emergency medical insurance plans provide a refund for unused days, less an administrative fee, provided no claim has been reported.
I’ve heard I might have a period without coverage if I buy a new policy. Can I extend my Visitors to Canada Emergency Medical Insurance policy coverage period instead?
Some policies allow for an extension of coverage; others do not.
Extending a policy, instead of purchasing a new one, serves to eliminate gaps in coverage.
A gap in coverage occurs when a waiting period is applied to policies purchased after arrival in Canada. A waiting period is typically applied to injury and sickness coverage and typically ranges from 24 hours to 7 days. For example, someone who has been in Canada for more than 30 days and purchases a new Visitors to Canada policy may have to wait 24 hours to be eligible for emergency medical insurance relating to an injury and 7 days for a sickness. There are no benefits available if an injury or sickness occurs during the respective waiting period.
Instead of purchasing a new policy and waiting for an injury and sickness waiting period to pass, a policy extension continues the current policy without a waiting period by changing the policy end date. While a policy may allow for extensions, they may not always be granted. Restrictions may apply, such as whether or not a claim has been reported, if total extension requested exceeds the total number of days allowed for a policy, or if the extension request was not submitted before the policy expiry date.
Do I need to purchase Visitors to Canada Emergency Medical Insurance before I arrive in Canada?
While most Visitors to Canada Emergency Medical Insurance plans typically do not require the insurance to be purchased before arrival in Canada, it is recommended to do so, to avoid a waiting period. Some policies have a waiting period, as previously described, for sickness and injury if the policy is purchased after arrival in Canada, during which the visitors would not be eligible for benefits.
Coverage varies by insurance provider. Always read the policy wording carefully for complete details of benefits, exclusions, conditions, and limitations.
If you are a newcomer to Canada looking for a comprehensive emergency medical insurance plan to meet your needs until your GHIP comes into effect, consider a Travelance Visitors to Canada Emergency Medical Insurance Plan. Our Essential and Premier Plans offer different levels of coverage to meet different needs.
Call Travelance today for more information, or to find a broker near you: 1-855-566-8555.