Medical insurance in Canada for a new immigrant
July 8, 2017 8:34 PM   Subscribe

My husband and I were just approved for PR in Canada - yay! We're looking at moving to Toronto so will need medical cover for the first 3 months before we're eligible for OHIP. The visitor cover looks pretty basic and expensive for what it is. Would we be better off getting travel insurance from Australia for this period instead? Or is the hassle of dealing with an overseas insurer not worth it?
posted by Kris10_b to Travel & Transportation around Toronto, ON (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Welcome to Canada! My spouse and I are new Canadians too. When we emigrated (to Ottawa), we signed up for UHIP for the first three months because we were connected to a university. I don't know what your "visitor cover" covers or costs, but here's what UHIP covers and it currently costs $51 per person per month. Because we emigrated from the USA, we consider this to be pretty inexpensive! UHIP is meant to be an OHIP replacement.

I recommend checking what OHIP covers before you decide that your visitor cover is pretty basic. Many people have some form of private insurance on top of OHIP, e.g., through their employer, that covers things like prescription drugs and dentistry (not covered by OHIP).

I hope that this at least gives you a data point for comparison.
posted by heatherlogan at 6:26 AM on July 9, 2017


When I moved to BC, I got 3 months of private insurance, similar to what heatherlogan got. It was reasonably priced and fully covered my walk in clinic visits when I got the flu.

Also, every time I've bought travel insurance, they've needed to see round trip tickets to provide a reimbursement. They may not cover you if you only have a one way ticket.
posted by Banknote of the year at 10:22 AM on July 9, 2017

Yes, seconding that travel insurance won't cover you. Also, some medical practices can be a bit weird about dealing with non-OHIP patients. Not “we won't treat you” kind of weird, more “we don't know your insurer” kind of weird. The plan we had (admittedly, 15+ years ago) had a list of recommended physicians who were used to dealing with new PRs.

I may be misremembering — and the changes in Canadian immigration since we came have been huge — but I thought there was something about needing proof of health insurance on arrival.

And welcome to Toronto! You'll find we occasionally stop wittering on about house prices …
posted by scruss at 6:57 PM on July 9, 2017

Thanks everyone! I'll be researching the visitor insurance a bit more now. The first one I tried was quoting over $900 for the two of us, but it sounds like that's not the norm.
We're moving from Sydney so we're used to constant talk about house prices already - our market is equally crazy
posted by Kris10_b at 8:52 PM on July 9, 2017

Welcome to Canada, cousins! The OmbudService for Life and Health Insurance has a handy insurance company finder on their website; you can narrow it down to Visitor insurance and it'll give you a list of companies that offer it. Then it's just a matter of working down the list and finding the best deal for you two.

Also, if you haven't found it already, is a very useful website with lots of info for folks moving to Ontario.
posted by Mary Ellen Carter at 4:18 AM on July 10, 2017

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