Healthcare Coveragein Canada and the USA
The healthcare systems in Canada and USA are two of the best health care systems that exist in the world today. Although both countries have good Health Care systems, there are some key differences in these systems.
The process for setting up your medical coverage will differ based on which country you are from and which country you are moving to. There will also be differences based on the Province or State you are moving to.
Medical Coverage in Canada
Canada offers what is referred to, as “Universal Health Care”.
Generally, if you need to make a trip to the doctor or the hospital, you will show your Universal HealthCare card and not be presented with a bill for the visit. Because of this, Canada has a reputation for long wait times, particularly for “elective” surgeries.
Although it is called “Universal Health Care”, it isn’t necessarily “free health care”. There are some premiums and often co-pays depending on the province you reside in. Many things like glasses, dental work and prescriptions may not be covered. Also, the taxes are higher in Canada than the USA and this is mainly to help pay for the universal healthcare system.
Protect your familyWe will advise you on the arrangements that need to be made before you move to Canada, after you to move to Canada and once you are living in Canada.
Once you arrive in Canada, you may not qualify for medical coverage right away.
Depending on the province you are re-locating to, different arrangements can be made to supplement this waiting period.
Once you have moved and are now living in Canada, your medical coverage will provide minimal benefits to you and your family, when travelling. You will need supplemental travel insurance for these cases. There are some cases when you can use your Canadian health care when in Canada and your medicare in the USA. Each case is different and it is our job to help you get the most of your medical coverage.Contact us for more details
We will advise you on the alternate arrangements that will need to be made for your medical care when travelling.
Medical Coverage in USA
The US healthcare system is more privatized than the Canadian healthcare system.
If you need to make a trip to the doctor or a hospital in the USA, you will be asked for “insurance” and you will be presented with a bill at the end of your visit. Because of this, there is a greater availability of services and specialists in the U.S than there are in Canada.
Contrary to popular belief, there are laws that protect citizens. People are not turned away from receiving medical care without coverage. However, if there is no coverage, there will be large bills to deal with. It is important that when moving to the USA, you have an understanding of what needs to be in place to protect yourself and your family.
When moving to the USA, at least one of the following health care provisions should be established.
Employee health insurance
Private health insurance
Although Canadians moving to the USA often have some provincial coverage for the first six months of their stay, we have found that the costs of supplementing the limitations of this coverage can sometimes be more than using the USA healthcare system.
We advise our clients to apply for permanent medical coverage as soon as they become residents of the US.
Employee Health Insurance
For those making the transition to the US for employment, the best medical coverage typically available is the group healthcare plan through your US employer. Typically, the larger the employer, the better the health plan. However, as with almost any healthcare plan in the US, be prepared to pay by cash, check or credit card a “co-pay” for any doctor, lab, x-ray visit, etc.
Private Health Insurance
In the US, individual health insurance policies are available to anyone who applies. Most people take advantage of employer plans or government plans if they have them available, but every US resident can now purchase private health insurance thanks to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). These private plans typically offer “catastrophic” medical coverage and can have high deductibles. We will advise our clients on the best health insurance plans available, depending on that client’s situation.
US citizens and Canadians living legally in the US for at least five years (one year with qualifying event) become eligible for US Medicare at age 65. While Medicare provides good base medical coverage, it should not be relied on to cover all of your medical expenses (i.e. hospital stays greater than 150 days and excess doctor billings are not covered ). You will need to purchase a Medicare Supplement policy to cover the expenses not covered by Medicare. We can advise you on the right medicare supplement policy based on your situation.