One of the best features of living in Canada is our healthcare system. When you get sick at home, as long as you have a government health insurance plan (GHIP, or OHIP if you reside in Ontario), you can go to the doctor, show your health card and get treated. As encompassing as the Canadian healthcare system is, it still has its limits.
In fact, provincial and territorial government health insurance plans provide little to no coverage while you’re travelling outside Canada. For example, when you leave the country, your government health insurance plan will only cover a very small amount of out-of-country medical expenses (generally less than 10%.) In places such as the US, treatment costs could climb from $10,000 USD to as much as $100,000 USD or more, depending on the severity of your unexpected injury or illness – a sum most people don’t factor into their travel budget.
But what if you happen to suddenly become ill or injured within Canada, but outside of your province of residence? What surprises many Canadians is that the situation is not much different when they stay within Canadian borders. Because the government takes care of our medical bills in our own province, we don’t see how much it costs for their services or stop to consider that the amount is more than we might think, or can reasonably afford.
Even if you’re a Canadian resident who’s just going to another province or territory, our provincial government health insurance plans don’t cover incidentals, such as ambulance or medical air evacuation outside your home province. If you’re not prepared for the unexpected expense, you could be left out-of-pocket for more than you, your health or your finances can handle.