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The Great-West Life Assurance Company, London Life Insurance Company and The Canada Life Assurance Company have become one company – The Canada Life Assurance Company. Discover the new Canada Life

The Great-West Life Assurance Company, London Life Insurance Company and The Canada Life Assurance Company have become one company – The Canada Life Assurance Company. Discover the new Canada Life

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Freedom 55 Financial is a division of The Canada Life Assurance Company and the information you requested can be found here.

Family health insurance

Key takeaways

  • If you have a family, ensuring you can all access health services and cover the cost of medical bills is important.
  • Some services may be covered by government health plans, but you may be responsible for paying for anything that isn’t covered.
  • To avoid paying for some or all of these costs out of pocket, you can look at covering your spouse and children through a workplace plan, or through personal insurance.

Do you need health insurance for your family?

When it comes to your family, taking care of their physical and mental wellbeing is a priority.

Although the Canadian government does provide basic healthcare coverage, many Canadians need additional health insurance to cover certain medical costs. If you have kids, these costs can quickly add up over the years, especially if they have medical conditions that require ongoing treatment.

If you have a family, it’s important to know what’s covered by the government along with how workplace coverage works to see if you need any additional coverage.

Government coverage in Canada

The public health care system is designed to ensure all Canadian residents have reasonable access to health  care. Canada doesn’t have a single national plan, but 13 separate provincial and territorial health care insurance plans.

What’s covered by a provincial or territorial health  plan?

These plans pay for your basic healthcare services and needs, and what’s covered will vary depending on where you live.

Generally speaking, these plans will cover things such as visits to the hospital or doctor, but may not cover other healthcare or paramedical services such as acupuncture, physiotherapy, and chiropractic services.

If you have a family, you may find that without additional coverage, you must pay out-of-pocket for medical care that’s not covered by your province or territory. Depending on how many children you have along with how much you spend on your own health care needs, this could potentially mean paying thousands of dollars in health care each year.

To bridge the gap between your provincial or territorial coverage and what you pay for your family’s prescription drugs, dental and vision care, you typically have 2 options – workplace benefits (if your employer provides a plan), or personal health and dental insurance.

Workplace coverage

Many employers in Canada offer workplace benefits that can be extended to cover your spouse and dependants.

The coverage available will vary depending on employer or workplace, but most plans will cover costs such as:

  • Dental care
  • Vision care (eyeglasses and contact lenses)
  • Prescription drugs
  • Specified medical services that are not covered by provincial healthcare (chiropractors, physiotherapists, podiatrists, osteopaths, optometrists, massage therapists, etc.)
  • Semi-private or private hospital rooms
  • Special nursing services
  • Ambulance services
  • Emergency medical expenses incurred outside of Canada
  • Artificial limbs, prostheses and medical appliances
  • Wheelchairs and other equipment
  • Certain mental health care services

Many workplace benefit plans allow you to customize your coverage to your needs, and so your spouse/partner and children up to the age of 18 may also be eligible for coverage under your policy. Adult children aged between 19-25 who are still in school or are disabled may be eligible for coverage under your plan, too.   

How to get health insurance for your family

There are a couple of ways you can protect your family with health coverage beyond what’s offered by the government: 

  • Add them as a dependent — If you have  existing coverage, you can look at adding your spouse to your benefits plan as well as your children.
  • Coordinate your benefits — If you and your spouse have your children as dependents on existing coverage, you could make your plans work together to pay any claims.
  • Buy personal insurance — If you don’t have a workplace plan or want to supplement your coverage provided through an employer, you could look at buying personal insurance to provide your family with health and dental coverage.

How to buy personal insurance

When it comes to buying personal insurance, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach as the needs of each family are different. If you have a family for example, you should consider:

  • A plan that covers services not included in your kids’ government health care, like speech therapy or mental health services.
  • A plan that helps cover any glasses or contact lenses they might need, even if their eye doctor visits are covered by their government plan.
  • A plan with dental coverage.

Some plans also give you the option to add some  coverage that could help provide:

  • Emergency travel medical insurance
  • Hospital accommodation, which can upgrade you to a private or semi-private room
  • Hospital cash, which can cover expenses like parking or childcare while you’re admitted
  • Accidental death and dismemberment insurance
  • Major dental coverage, which can cover needs like crowns or dentures

If you’re unsure about which plan might be best for your family, you can compare health care plans that might be right for you.

How much does it cost to get personal health insurance for your family?

Insurance is paid for through monthly payments known as premiums. How much you’ll pay in premiums will depend on your specific circumstances. With Freedom to Choose, plans start at just a few dollars a day. You can get a quote online in minutes to see how much you’d pay for a plan that covers you and your family.

Although you’ll pay a premium for the health coverage you choose, it’s important to remember it might be less than you’d pay out-of-pocket for medical bills.

You could also be eligible to claim eligible medical expensesOpens a new website in a new window on your tax return, which could reduce your overall tax bill.

What's next?

  • Along with health insurance, if you have a family, you may also want to look into insurance that can help protect them financially against the unexpected like life or critical illness insurance.

The information provided is accurate to the best of our knowledge as of the date of publication. This information is general in nature, and is intended for educational purposes only.

If you’d like to explore plans and see how much they could cost you, get a quote

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