What are your alternatives?

Consider private insurance.

Many employers provide group insurance for their employees. Or you can arrange individual insurance on your own, directly with an insurance company.

  • You'll pay a monthly insurance premium. If your employer provides insurance, they may cover a portion or the entire cost of premium as a perk. Individual insurance tends to be more expensive than group insurance.  
  • Health insurance rarely covers the entire expense - this is especially true for large ones. 
  • If you know of a large expense ahead of time, check with your insurer how much of it they'll cover.  Make sure you put aside enough money to cover the rest.


  • If you're generally healthy and your expenses mostly include routine check-ups, it may cost less to self-insure.
  • Instead of paying premiums to an insurance company, add the money to your savings account (your rainy-day fund).
  • When you need money to cover medical / health expenses, 'pay as you go' with money from your rainy day fund.  Don't forget to replenish that part of your rainy-day fund.

Avoid paying twice

You may have private insurance coverage from more than one source.  For example,

  • Both your parents may have insurance plans that may cover you.
  • You may have bought a student union's plan and one of your parents has a plan.
  • You and your spouse may both have employer / other insurance plans. 

Insurers have double coverage rules - which steps in first and which second (usually based on the insurance policy holders' dates of birth). 

  • The first insurer pays its usual claim amount - up to its maximum. 
  • The second will examine the unpaid balance and pay a portion / all of the remaining claim.

If you already have insurance from one source, consider whether it's worth purchasing your own.  Another alternative is to self-insure whatever the insurance won't cover.

WHAT IS health insurance?

In Canada, we have a socialized health system that provides coverage to all Canadian residents. 

  • It's publicly funded from provincial taxes and donations in accordance with federal government guidelines.

The health care system only covers basic health services, but you may have expenses that aren't
 covered, like medications, medical devices, private clinic visits / private hospital stays, adult dental / eye care, and certain physiotherapy / naturophathic / specialist appointments.

health ​Insurance