Be prepared for the Canadian Health System

An essential primer for prospective immigrants and temporary residents with Jason Cummings

People preparing to immigrate to Canada often have one or more of the following misconceptions about the Canadian healthcare system: “Medicare works the same across the country,” or  “Coverage is immediate upon arrival,” or “Emergency medical care is covered even if I have a waiting period”. In this episode Jason Cummings joins me to debunk these common misconceptions and set the record straight for all newcomers to Canada.

These misconceptions can be costly to a newcomer.  For instance, each year tens of thousands of new residents of Canada settle in a Province or Territory that has a waiting period for public health coverage (Medicare).  During a Medicare waiting period, “un-insured residents” are responsible to pay for hospital and medical services, even in an emergency, and costs can be very high, even catastrophic.  The same risk can arise when a temporary resident loses Medicare eligibility due to the expiry of a work or study permit.

In this episode Canadian health insurance broker Jason Cummings, General Manager of David Cummings Insurance Services Ltd, joined me to help shed some light on what new permanent residents and temporary residents face when on-boarding into the “Canadian health system” and to offer some consumer education insights about the types of private medical insurance used to cover Medicare gaps.

Jason Cummings – General Manager of David Cummings Insurance Services Ltd. (DCIS).

Jason Cummings comes to work motivated to make a positive difference in people’s lives. With over 20 years’ experience, Jason is a recognized expert in health and travel insurance who has been interviewed for CBC’s The National, CBC News Vancouver, and CBC Radio and he presents information about Canada’s healthcare system and private health insurance in live workshops and online.  Jason leads the DCIS team of agents and associates with the vision of relentlessly championing duty of care, good faith, and the dignity of each person.

About DCIS Insurance Services Founded in 1987 by Jason’s father David Cummings, DCIS is a boutique insurance brokerage of choice, specializing in health insurance solutions for people moving to or visiting Canada, and for people relocating or travelling outside their country of origin to other destinations worldwide. Through a network of trusted advisors DCIS also provides personal life insurance, disability insurance, and group benefits. The DCIS team are committed to ensuring individuals, families, and organizations are well advised, offered competitive insurance solutions, equipped for successful use of their insurance, and supported at time of claim.

In this episode Jason shared valuable insights for prospective immigrants and temporary residents about on-boarding into the Canadian health system:

  1. Public health coverage does not operate the same across Canada. Before departing for Canada, learn how Medicare eligibility and enrolment works in the Province or Territory you will settle in.
  2. New Permanent Residents face a Medicare waiting period (approx.3 months) in three Provinces and all Territories. Be sure to buy interim (private) medical insurance for any Medicare waiting period or gap.
  3. Work permit holders (and study permit holders) face a more complex set of rules and variables in regard to Medicare eligibility and maintaining Medicare coverage.
  4. Not all interim medical plans are created equally. Give the purchase of medical insurance the consideration due to any important financial decision. Whether on your own, or with the help of an insurance broker, be informed about the types of plan available, and especially about the plan you choose to buy.

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Additional Resources:

Listen to Mark Holthe’s Canadian Immigration Podcast

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