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Why Canadians Need to Buy International Health Insurance When Living Abroad

portrait of medical professional SYHCUzCriMany Canadians are living abroad for work, retirement or simply roaming the world for an extended vacation. Many more are already living abroad. In fact, it has been reported by Expat Intelligence that there are almost 3 million Canadians living outside of Canada. So, aside from arranging transportation, schooling, housing and getting used to their new surroundings, what else do they need to take care of? As you can guess from the title of this article, international health insurance coverage.


Moving Abroad – Assume Little or No Coverage from Your Home Province 

As you may know, healthcare in Canada is a provincial responsibility and the plans primarily just cover you when you are residing in Canada and meet their respective residence requirements. Most Canadians know that they need to buy travel medical insurance when going outside their home province and country for a few days, weeks or month. These travel medical plans are for emergencies only and simply treat you abroad and get you back to Canada as quickly as possible for treatment under your respect provincial medical plan. What is reimbursed by your respective province is a fraction of the actual cost of a medical illness or injury claim incurred abroad. If you are moving abroad, you should go on the assumption that you will probably lose your healthcare back home after a set number of months or after a year, hence the need for international health insurance.

Giving up Canadian Residency When Moving Abroad

Another reason Canadians who move abroad need healthcare is that that they often enjoy some tax advantages if they give up their official residency in Canada – which basically means that you will no longer be covered back home in Canada for healthcare. All the more reason you will need to get a global health plan that will cover you when living abroad.

Travel Medical Insurance for Expats is Not a Good Idea

medical check up rFBf8770HoA travel medical insurance for an expatriate simply won’t do and will leave you uncovered for non-emergency expenses, such as chronic conditions, annual checkups, follow-up care and much more. Travel medical is for emergencies only and generally Canadian travel insurance plans will not cover a reoccurrence of a medical condition and only for up to 6 months or a year abroad. They also won’t cover you if you have already left your home province & they definitely won’t cover you and your family if you don’t have provincial medical, such as OHIP or MSP, back home. So, you really need to get an international health insurance plan when living abroad.


Examples of Medical Costs Abroad for Canadians

There are many examples in the media of medical expenses that were incurred abroad while because a Canadian was not insured. Such as almost a million dollars for a complicated pregnancy for a BC couple in Hawaii. Here are some other sample claim amounts:

  • · Breast Cancer Treatment - $40K to $80K
  • · Disk Disorder and Surgery - $75K to $100K
  • · Heart Valve Repair or Replacement - $60K
  • · Kidney Disease - $300K
  • · Transplants - $100K to $250K

Of course, the amounts vary depending on where the person was treated & the severity of the condition, treatment etc… While you would expect that the most expensive country to get treated is the USA, some countries in Asia such as China or Singapore can also be very expensive for expats.

Global Health Insurance Options for Canadians Living Abroad 

So, the bottom line for Canadians living abroad is that they need a global health plan. The cost will depend on a lot of factors, including:

  • · Your age
  • · How comprehensive you want the coverage
  • · Citizenship
  • · Where you are residing
  • · The options you take – such as evacuation, out-patient care, dental
  • · The deductible level
  • · Your health status

All individual expatriate health plans are medically underwritten, so there is no guarantee you will be able to get coverage. The insurers we work with will either cover you, exclude a condition, ask for additional premium or decline to cover you.

International Healthcare Plan Coverage Levels

Most plans will offer three levels of base hospital coverage with different levels of care and maximums. You can then add out-patient care, which are the expenses associated with care outside a hospital setting, such as specialist visits, medication and physiotherapy. Wellness care is a popular option and includes annual checkups and tests. Most expatriates will buy medical evacuation if they live in a country with less than ideal medical care. You can event add dental and vision care. Finally, the plans offered will cover you globally including the USA or excluding the United States.

How to Get Covered for Global Medical Insurance?

Most plans that we offer are available to Canadian expats who are already living abroad or about to live abroad in the next 45 days. You can choose from several different deductible and coverage levels. After getting a quote, you can apply online via our various insurance company partners and then pay the premium monthly, quarterly, semi-annually or annually. By paying your premium annually, you can save up to 10% versus monthly.

We work with many different global health providers and it is important to contact Expat Financial, division of TFG Global Insurance Solutions Ltd., to learn more about the international health insurance plans offered and discuss your requirements.

Written by:

David Small 2013 Pic 2476 webDavid Tompkins – President of TFG Global Insurance Solutions Ltd., which operates Expat Financial. David has written extensively on the topic of global health insurance coverage and has been in the insurance business since 1991. David’s company is an independent insurance brokerage that doesn’t charge clients a fee and the insurance quotes & rates obtained via Expat Financial are the same ones you will obtain from the insurer directly. His firm offers free advice and advocacy before and after you buy online. Their phone number is 1-604-628-0426 or via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.




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