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 Provincial Healthcare card and there won’t be a charge 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 out of pocket expenses depending on the medical care you need. 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 socialized healthcare system.
Protect your familyYou don't automatically get healthcare coverage when you enter Canada. We 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.
Depending on the province you are re-locating to, there may be a waiting period so different arrangements have to be made during this time.
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 which can be restrictive in the benefits they provide. 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 generally 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 or the wrongful death lawsuits will be filed. However, if there is no coverage, there can 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 think they have coverage for the first six months of their stay, we advise on the limitations of this coverage and travel insurance (which just basically gets you on a plane back to Canada if you can travel) so it is best to use the USA healthcare system when possible.
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 can advise you on the best health insurance alternative available, depending on your 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, you will need to purchase a Medicare Supplement policy to cover the expenses not covered by Medicare. If you are not yet 65, we can provide strategies on how you can get qualified for free Medicare Part A given your circumstances.