If you are a Canadian national who wants to move overseas to retire, travel or work, international health insurance is a vital part of your financial plan. Most Canadians are used to having their health expenses, especially the significant costs, paid for by their provincial medical plan at little or no cost. While many complain about our Canadian health system that covers everyone universally, it actually provides pretty decent coverage and everyone contributes through their taxes over their lifetime, even if you have a pre-existing medical condition or you are poor or elderly.
As most Canadians know, when you travel abroad your provincial medical plan will cover almost none of the medical expenses you may incur if you are sick or injured. Most Canadians wisely purchase travel medical insurance plans to cover themselves for trips from a few days to a year. If you are moving abroad for an extended period of time to work, travel or retire, then your provincial medical plan will usually cease after a year depending on the province you live in. If you wish to sever ties with Canada and become a non-resident for tax purposes, then you usually have to cease your provincial medical plan.
Most Canadian expatriates will agree that obtaining an international health insurance plan is a vital part of your financial and physical health. If you are lucky, your employer will purchase you a global health plan either individually or as part of a group. Note that some employers may put you on their domestic policy, but that plan most likely won’t cover you if you wish to seek treatment elsewhere in the world or if you wish to travel abroad. Also, that domestic plan may not cover you if you move to another country for work. What if you develop a pre-existing medical condition and need to move to another region or country? What about the stability of that domestic plan? That is why it is vital that Canadian expats obtain a global health insurance plan that will cover them worldwide, especially back in Canada. If the budget allows or if you reside close to the USA, it is recommended that you pay extra to have a plan that will also cover you for treatment in the United States.
Unfortunately, some Canadian expats don’t purchase health insurance because they think “I’m young and in good health, nothing will happen to me!” Well, that is simply gambling with your financial and physical health. Other expatriates think that medical costs very are low if you are outside of the USA so I will self-insure. Well, wrong again. Medical expenses, while generally lower outside of America, can still be quite large, even in the third world as you may have to be evacuated to a center of excellence in Europe or Asia where medical costs can be quite high.
A Canadian expatriate should get a policy that meets your needs and fits your budget. Most Canadians are not aware of the high costs of true health insurance that covers all the medical services that you enjoy back home. There are a variety of global health insurance providers that can offer many different levels of coverage for almost any budget. Most health plans will offer you a base level of coverage that will cover most medical expenses incurred inside a hospital. These are called in-patient medical expense. Quite a few plans will also offer out-patient care such as doctor visits, drug cover, paramedical expenses and many other services. Medical evacuation is usually included, but can be an option. If you reside in a developed country, most advisors consider this benefit a vital part of your health plan.
International health insurance premiums vary quite a bit depending on the level of coverage, age, gender and your location. Generally, most plans exclude pre-existing medical conditions, but a few insurers will underwrite most conditions if disclosed and approved for an additional premium. Of course, you may also be declined coverage depending on your health history as the coverage risk is not spread across a group. If you plan to become pregnant, then it is vital that you check the waiting period for the maternity benefit.
You can obtain your global medical insurance plan from a variety of sources, such as Expat Financial or Global Travel Insurance. It is important that you state your requirements and find the right policy that suits your needs. A cheap plan is not usually the best plan as you usually get what you pay for.