Extended Health Benefits
Health and dental insurance that fits your life.
Canadian employers typically offer full-time workers a group benefits plan with health and dental coverage. However, many Canadians may be without benefits, such as those who are self-employed or unemployed, those in contractual, seasonal or part-time positions (gig workers), or stay-at-home parents with no spousal coverage. And provincial health care plans don’t cover nearly the same extent of health and dental requirements that a good benefits package does.
If you find yourself without employer benefits, there’s no need to cross your fingers and hope that your out-of-pocket health and dental costs are manageable – solutions are available to help you get the health benefits you need.
Routine costs and unexpected expenses
For some, purchasing individual health and dental insurance is a good way to cover routine costs that fall outside provincial health plans. Every year, Canadians spend hundreds of dollars on dental visits, vision care, prescriptions and services like massage therapy and physiotherapy. According to Statistics Canada, the average Canadian household spent $1,918 on direct health care costs in 2019.
Even more importantly, the right package can help protect you from the financial impact of unexpected expenses. You may need ambulance services. A family member may require home care or nursing services. Whatever the situation, an emergency could mean a big hit to your finances if you don’t have a plan. Think of individual health and dental insurance as a safety net – reassuring every day and important in a crisis.
Some of the common health services covered by health and dental insurance are prescription drugs, hospital stays, nursing and home care, vision care, and medical equipment and supplies. Dental services include exams, cleanings, fillings and root canals. Plans may also include visits to registered specialists and therapists, such as massage therapists, naturopaths and chiropractors. There may be other perks, such as 24/7 access to online health care practitioners through a virtual health care app, or the opportunity to earn rewards for healthy lifestyle choices like eating well and exercising.
Look for plans that offer a variety of levels, allowing you to choose the coverage that most closely aligns with your needs and budget. Many plans also offer coverage for spouses and children, add-ons such as travel insurance, and supplementary features like special rates for couples and families with multiple children.
With so many different options available, it’s important to do your homework. When choosing health and dental insurance, look for:
- Affordable rates that fit comfortably into your monthly budget
- A customizable plan that lets you choose different options
- Easy claims processing so you don’t have to deal with confusing paperwork or lengthy delays
Speak with your advisor
Having an effective and affordable plan can lessen the financial burden of out-of-pocket health costs. Talk to your advisor – they have the best expertise to help you understand the different plans available, what they cover and what they cost. You may be pleasantly surprised by the affordability of a package that provides effective protection for yourself and your family.
 Statistics Canada, “Household spending, Canada, regions and provinces,” Table 11-10-0222-01, www150.statcan.gc.ca/t1/tbl1/en/tv.action?pid=1110022201 (accessed February 11, 2021).