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7 common health insurance myths

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In Ontario, we are lucky enough to have OHIP for visits to the doctor and hospital stays, but there is a lot that OHIP doesn’t cover — which is where insurance plans come in. There are many common myths and misconceptions that come with health care that distract people from making informed decisions on what’s best for them and their family. Here are 7 common Canadian health care myths.

1. OHIP covers me – and that’s enough

OHIP doesn’t cover many health expenses like regular visits to the dentist, physiotherapy for a fluke injury, or treatment for an injury or illness while traveling — these are only minor health issues, think about the major ones we may have to deal with at some point in our lives. No matter how lucky we are, most of us will encounter a health issue or an accident at some point, and even if it’s minor, it may still be very expensive. Illnesses such as arthritis, asthma, MS, or cancer can have a drug bill of $20,000+ per year, and the costs are not covered by OHIP. OHIP is definitely not enough as a health insurance, even for healthy people. But you’re in luck, there are other solutions.

2. You don’t need health care if you’re healthy

In reality, the perfect time to get health insurance is when you are young and healthy. If you buy health insurance early, you stay insured throughout any life stage and it acts as a shield against any unexpected accidents or illness. If you do have a medical emergency, having coverage will ensure you can get the care you need to protect yourself from unexpected out-of-pocket expenses.  While many people are covered by company insurance, entrepreneurs and small business owners may not have this option. Keeping yourself and your family protected while you are healthy is very important. If you wait till you are sick or injured, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to get the coverage that you need. Protect yourself for the future.

3. You can’t get health insurance if you have a pre-existing condition

While it is easy to find health insurance coverage if you don’t have a pre-existing condition, it may still be possible to purchase one if you do. Depending on the condition, you may have options to have your pre-existing condition excluded or pay an additional premium to have it covered.  A few plans advertise “no health information required” but coverage is very limited.  Other guaranteed acceptance plans are only available when you’re leaving a group plan; these plans are also expensive and offer limited coverage.  Coverage for a pre-existing condition may be possible. It’s worth asking the questions.    

4. Health insurance is expensive

A common misconception about health insurance is that many people think that there isn’t an affordable option. While the initial cost of health care may seem high, having a health plan can save you and your family a lot of money in the long run. There are affordable options for health insurance based on the type of coverage you need. When looking into different plans, consider deductibles, co-payments, co-insurance and monthly premiums when determining the total cost of a plan. And it’s important to remember that if you’re self-employed, your premiums are tax-deductible, which reduces the net cost of your insurance by 30% or more.   

5. The cheap policy is the best policy

After doing some searching you may have found the cheapest insurance plan available, but just because it is the cheapest plan doesn’t mean that it is the best choice. Very low-cost and basic health care options have restricted offerings that exclude important coverage. These plans often have very low limits or even completely exclude services that could cost you a lot of money if you have to pay on your own (e.g. very low drug and paramedical coverage and no travel). Basic insurance plans limit coverage on essentials while other plans go beyond and offer more.  Look for the plan you need.  

6. My health coverage protects me for all injuries and illnesses

Your health insurance generally covers treatment that is stated in your plan regardless of how you got the injuries. However, there may be exclusions to your coverage, such as some types of treatments or certain drugs and vaccines. Make sure to read your plan carefully and note what is covered and what is excluded from care, so you know in advance if your insurer will cover you or not.

7. Provincial plans cover me when I’m travelling

Another myth about your health insurance in Ontario is that you are covered when you are travelling outside of Canada. The reality is OHIP is completely inadequate.  The government really only covers an extremely limited portion amount of your emergency health care costs when you are travelling. Arranging additional coverage is very important.  Before you leave on your trip you should check with your current health insurance provider or purchase travel insurance in case of accident or illness outside of Canada.

While there are many myths floating around about health care, it is important you make an informed decision before you choose to stick to being covered by OHIP.

Our partner, Loran Insurance Ltd., offers health insurance plans for business owners with Loran Health Plus. It’s a new insurance plan for small business owners and entrepreneurs with excellent affordable drug, health and dental coverage. The plan, underwritten by Green Shield Canada & Beneplan Co-operative, will help you protect yourself, your family, and your team. Plus, as a business owner, you’ll be able to write off your insurance payments as a business expense, saving you money in the long run.

Members of our Entrepreneurs Club receive a special gift when they sign up for any plan with our health insurance partner. Add your business to 411.ca for free to learn more.

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Laura has a B.A. in Honours Communications Studies from McMaster University and is currently enrolled in Humber’s Public Relations Postgraduate program. She is passionate about writing and local business, so this blog is the perfect combination of the two.