International Health Insurance in Canada

Make the most of your time in the land of ice hockey and maple syrup with international health insurance in Canada.

Perched at the top of North America, Canada boasts the world’s longest coastline and more lakes than any other nation.

Yet there’s so much more to Canada than hiking trails and mountain vistas. Expats are drawn by the promise of extensive job opportunities and weekend escapes to nature.

A comprehensive healthcare package can give you peace of mind, whether you’re a working expat or traveling for business.  

Learn more about the country’s healthcare system and how international health insurance in Canada works with Cigna.

How does Canada’s healthcare system work?

Canada offers a public healthcare system that you contribute to through your taxes. It means most general and emergency health services are free if you’re a permanent resident.

This public health insurance system is called Medicare. You’ll need to apply for a health card to receive medical assistance through the system.


Pros and cons of using Canada’s public health system


Medicare offers a range of potential benefits:

  • A universal system meaning any permanent resident can apply.
  • High standards of care across hospitals and doctors’ surgeries.
  • No charges for common healthcare services.

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But it’s also useful to consider the potential drawbacks:

  • Specialist services aren’t covered – most dental care, for example.
  • Regional differences – with each Canadian province and territory running things in its own way.
  • Waiting times – with Medicare applications taking up to three months.

What’s the difference between public and private healthcare in Canada?

Public Private
Free use of common services. Paid, but offers more specialist treatments.
Can apply through Medicare. Shorter wait times to access experienced doctors.


How can international health insurance help you in Canada?

Private international health insurance can support your life in Canada. It’s a helpful alternative to Medicare, which is only available to Canadian citizens and permanent residents.

Private plans are also helpful if you’re staying for the long term but waiting for a Medicare application to go through, whether that’s just for you or includes your family. Health cards can sometimes take weeks or even months to arrive.

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Choosing your international health insurance

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Answer a few questions and enter your personal details to get started.

Choose your plan

Compare plans and find a flexible package to suit your needs.

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Receive your quote and get protected today.

Select a Cigna core plan:


The core benefits on the Silver plan provide international inpatient and daypatient cover, including hospital stays and treatment.

  • Annual Benefit Limit: $1,000,000

  • Inpatient and daypatient treatment

  • Private room

  • Full cancer care

  • Newborn care cover


Comprehensive coverage, with higher overall annual limits and added benefits including inpatient maternity care.

  • Annual Benefit Limit: $2,000,000

  • Inpatient and daypatient treatment

  • Private room

  • Full cancer care

  • Inpatient Maternity


Our highest level of coverage offers an unlimited overall annual limit, with most benefits being paid in full.

  • Annual Benefit Limit: Paid in full

  • Inpatient and daypatient treatment

  • Private room

  • Full cancer care

  • Inpatient Maternity

  • Mental and Behavioural Health care paid in full

Why choose Cigna for health insurance in Canada?

  • Access to leading medical professionals with coverage in over 192 countries.
  • Flexible plans to suit your needs.
  • 24/7 access to Cigna's leading customer care team.
  • Years of experience in delivering international health care.

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No, international health insurance, whether for expats or long-term business travellers covers you for extended periods in your host nation. Standard travel insurance is usually more suited to short-term visits, like a family holiday, and works on the basis that you will continue any long-term treatment in your home nation.

You just need to get in touch with our Customer Care Team to start your claim. Contact us when you have your treatment booked, or as soon as you can after any unforeseen or emergency care, and we’ll get you started.

Whether you’re moving to Canada for work or family reasons, private coverage goes beyond the basics of Medicare.

Depending on the provider you choose, it can deliver extended services like:

•    Prescription medications and glasses
•    Dentistry
•    Physiotherapy
•    Ambulances

In the long run, insurance from a private provider may not prove essential for every expat moving to Canada. For example, those seeking permanent residency may find Medicare offers enough coverage once they’ve settled in.

However, it might feel necessary if you have concerns about accessing Medicare or require more specialised health services. International plans can also cut waiting times, giving you faster access to private care.