Being self-employed can feel liberating. But it also means that you must deal with additional responsibilities, which can affect your health.
While being self-employed, you are not covered by an employer’s group health benefits plan.
You have the option to buy your own health insurance plan, but it’s not always so straightforward. From learning about types of coverage plans to comparing the best health insurance providers for self-employed people. There’s an endless list of things that you are required to research before you choose the health insurance best suitable for you.
In this article, we will help you understand some basic things and will also tell you about finding the best health insurance plans in Canada.
Types of coverages available in Canada
There are three basic types of health insurance coverage available in Canada:
1) Canadian Health Care System (Medicare)
This is single-payer healthcare that is publicly funded and varies province-by-province.
For instance, if you are based in Ontario, you will not receive any coverage for chiropractic treatment. Because it is not covered by the Ontario Health Insurance Plan. So, you will end up paying for the chiropractor yourself (unless you have separate health insurance). On the other hand, if you are in Manitoba, you may receive some coverage, let’s say, a couple of visits to the chiropractor’s office in one year.
2) Workplace health benefits
This is the healthcare insurance which an employer pays for their employees.
3) Personal health insurance
As the name suggests, this is insurance coverage that a person buys individually.
These plans may or may not include dental insurance and some other forms of treatment. The covered expenses differ from one province to another. What may be included in your health insurance package majorly depends on the insurance provider and the extent of coverage offered within your province or territory.
4) Personal life insurance
While considering health insurance, you may also want to consider life insurance to protect your family in case of your passing away. This is often purchased in addition to health insurance plans.
Individual Health Insurance and Guaranteed Health Insurance
Now, if you are self-employed, workplace benefits are not offered for you. So, you have to make use of the health care system and private health insurance plans to cover your medical needs. In this case, going for a private or individual plan can be a better option. A private plan can offer you coverage for the things that a provincial/territorial plan would not. And it will also save you from paying a hefty amount at the hospitals from your own pockets.
You will need to choose a private health insurance plan as a business owner and pay its premium every month. Then, you will be able to receive health coverage for all the treatments you want, such as:
- Dental Care
- Travel Insurance
- Health Insurance when you go out of Canada
- Coverage of all prescription medicines
- Private hospital stays
- Coverage of paramedical costs
- Routine healthcare coverage for chronic illnesses
- A private plan will also provide coverage in unprecedented cases, such as if you get into an accident. Or if you suffer from a sudden illness and need immediate treatment for it
The problem with an individual plan is that if you have a pre-existing condition, they you may not be approved for this insurance plan.
In that case, Guaranteed Issue insurance coverage is what you can go for. These are insurance plans that are meant for people who have serious, pre-existing, chronic health problems that require constant and regular check-ups and medicines. This type of insurance comes without any medical exam for eligibility.
An important thing to note is that most health insurance premiums are tax deductible. This means that you can claim the medical expense tax credit, which is a non-refundable credit, to decrease the amount you pay for healthcare. Eligible medical expense claims can be made on Lines 33099 and 33199 on the tax returns. So, do look into this at the time of tax filing.
How to choose which plan is right for you?
Your choice of coverage depends greatly on several factors. You need to determine the following before making a decision:
- Your budget (what monthly cost of insurance are you willing to pay)
- Do you plan to stay self-employed for a little while, or is it for a longer term?
- Do you have any chronic, pre-existing illness, such as Diabetes, or Hypertension? And do you need regular check-ups and prescription medicines for that?
- What is the nature of your work? And is there any risk-hazard associated with your work for which you may require some special coverage? For instance, you own a small construction firm where you are required to be on the field too which brings your work into the high-risk category.
Once you have factored in these details, you can move onto the next step. That is to choose the best health insurance provider and a coverage plan that suits all your requirements.
Luckily, many insurance companies provide online quotes based on your needs and the type of coverage you want. You will also find various options according to the province or territory you are in. From a basic plan to extensive coverage, you can choose anything depending on all your factors, especially your budget.
You can also find the best insurance coverage plan by seeking the help of an insurance expert or an advisor.
Best Healthcare Options in Canada
Some of the best healthcare insurance plans in Canada are offered by the following groups:
1) Manulife – Flexcare
Manulife offers Flexcare, which is a great option for self-employed people and for those who do not get enough coverage from their group plans. Flexcare Medical and Dental Health Insurance include seven customized plans. All these plans offer prescription benefits, dental care, a combination of prescription drugs plus dental services along with eyecare, and a lot more. You can also get up to $5,000,000 in the form of emergency medical travel insurance.
In association with TELUS LivingWell Corporation, under special circumstances, Manulife incorporates TELUS Health Virtual Care, TELUS LivingWell Companion, and TELUS SmartHome Security with Flexcare plans too.
2) Manulife – Bronze
This is a guaranteed insurance plan or a guaranteed issue. It offers coverage to people regardless of their health status. As mentioned before, this type of insurance plan does not require any kind of medical exam or filling out a medical questionnaire before.
3) Ontario Blue Cross
Ontario Blue Cross’s Blue Vision Global Plan is specially designed for people who have healthcare needs. But they don’t have any type of health insurance coverage. This plan allows some amazing benefits like unlimited healthcare coverage individually, complete healthcare access around the globe, prescription medicine coverage, eyecare benefits with co-pay insurance or no-deductible insurance, dental services with rates based on individual needs, etc.
There are many great options for healthcare insurance plans available for self-employed workers in Canada. It may take some research to find the right one for you. By following this guide, you have all the information you need to get started with finding the best health insurance plan for you.