Healthcare for expats in Canada

Healthcare for expats in Canada

25 November 2022
A sunset view of a Canadian skyline, with skyscrapers lit up in neon

Canada offers citizens and permanent residents a universal public health insurance scheme known as Medicare. The quality of medical services in Canada is typically highly regarded and known for its remarkable standards of treatment and professionals. But what provisions have been made for expats in the country?

Expats living in Canada without permanent residency are not eligible for Medicare. In order to be treated by Medicare, a health insurance card is required – which foreign nationals can apply for once they have acquired permanent resident status.

The standard waiting period for a Medicare health insurance card is three months. Expats usually take out a private health insurance plan to cover them until they receive their card and are able to access public health care services. Also, and unfortunately for some foreign nationals, some nationalities are not eligible for registration with Medicare services.

Other challenges of Medicare

In spite of the great benefits of the Canadian public health care system and its high standards, there have been reported issues with long waiting times for treatment and shortage of personnel.

Another downfall is that, like most public health schemes, Medicare is not an all-encompassing system – a reason why not only expats but also many Canadian nationals choose to pay for private health insurance to supplement the public coverage.

Why expats choose IPMI policies

Individual private medical insurance (IPMI) policies can often be advantageous to expats, in comparison to local policies. The international coverage provided by IPMI policies is especially convenient for globally mobile citizens, as they can offer access to health professionals and medical services anywhere in the world.

Some expatriates who are eligible and able to benefit from Medicare still opt to choose private health insurance in Canada to complement the public coverage, and to gain the best access to healthcare services – skipping the long waiting times that can derive from public health care.

Expatriates relocating to Canada are advised to look into their options with private health insurance companies to ensure their cover and best access to medical treatment in the country.

Discover more about Cigna International Health Plans.

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