Health care costs for Canadians

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Well-known member
Aug 5, 2006
I just got the shock of my life.  I had major surgery about a year and a half ago.  Well, in checking the net for costs for coverage to spend the winter down south, it says I don't qualify cause I take to much medication.
Is there a company that offers Canadians health insurance  :-\at reasonable rates?
Thanks for your input.
Hi Leo,

Hopefully one of our Canadian snowbirds will be able to help.

FWIW we have relatives and friends in the UK who no longer travel to the U.S. because they are unable to obtain medical insurance due to their recent health history.
I don't think there are any rates that one could call "reasonable" - medical coverage is incredibly expensive because treatments are incredibly expensive.  Any price you get is bound to be shocking! Even for people is reasonably good health. I would anticipate rates of at least US$1000/month if you can find any coverage for your condition.  Is that "reasonable"?
Hi Leo,

Early in 2005 I dealt with prostate cancer and then followed it up with triple bypass surgery later in the year.

In Jan 2006, as I tried to renew my health insurance for out-of-province travel my insurer would not do it.  Their response was, talk to us one year after the open heart surgery.

On a whim, I went to BC Automobile Assn, with whom I have insurance on our passenger vehicle--for dealing with dead batteries, changing tires, towing out of the snow bank :)--and asked them.  Of course we'll insure you, sir, but the rates will be much higher than you're used to.  And they are.

We bought a year-long policy that provides for multiple trips each of which not to exceed 14 days for my wife and I (and she has her own inventory of not-the-best-of-health issues) for a cost of about $1,600Cdn.  This included coverage for pre-existing conditions, which we thought was important coverage to buy. 

For comparison, prior to 2005, something less than $1,600 bought us (from a different agency) a one-year policy for my wife and I that provided for multiple trips each of which not to exceed 90 days.

I doubt that we'll go back to this kind of policy, which is available from BCAA.  We'll probably stick with the multiple 14 day policy, and then buy a one-time increase to 90 days during the life of the policy to allow us to snowbird.


Obviously trip-based insurance is a much better deal than fulltime health coverage. I guess they figure the odds of you having a health problem while away and adjust the rate accordingly. The shorter the trip, the better the odds (for the insurer) and the rate decreases.

For a Canadian, it would seem the best strategy would be some sort of emergency care coverage that provided short term care, good until you could be transported back to Canada for treatment in the system where you already have coverage.  There is insurance available that will pay for medical transport.

Here are some links to information on medical transport services:

Emergency medical transportation.

Air ambulance

FIf I remember correctly, FMCA includes emergency medical evacuation services in their membership benefits.

[edit]Activated links[/edit]

Have you contacted the Canadian Snowbirds Association?  Their annual promotional fairs claim they will try to accommodate just about everyone with their Medipac insurance.

If you have difficulty with the person you speak to on the telephone, tell them you wish to speak to their underwriters for special consideration.

Please let us know the outcome of of your inquiries.

It should be stated that most if not all insurers of Canadians visiting the U.S. exclude pre-existing conditions including conditions where the treatment or medication has been altered within a specified time prior to travel.  Other insurers will limit the insured time, so if you want to renew the coverage you would have to return to Canada every two or three months to re-instate your coverage.

There is no doubt that age plus pre-existing medical conditions will greatly compromise your ability to receive blanket coverage for your travel to the U.S.
A little update on this topic.  With a little more digging, I have found there are several (good size) companies will insure you with one clear year and no exclusions for past health issues.
The one interesting thing I found was that four (4) months cast 780.00 but by asking for the 5th month of covrage it costs 1300.00.
I haven't had the occassion to ask why but it is a big jump.
Just thought someone may be interested.

Thanks for the update.  A friend of mine had a problem with being rated by the Snowbirds so he went to the Toronto Dominion which has an insurance division.  They insured him at a lower premium but I am not sure how they handles pre existing conditions.
carbuff34 said:
Is there a company that offers Canadians health insurance   :-\at reasonable rates?
Thanks for your input.
As a long distance trucker My wife & I were covered by Royal bank gold visa.
For Canadians, MEDIPAC, is the way to go. Tom mentions $1000 per month, but those are US rates and Canadians can get coverage for very much less. It is based on the idea that most Canadians prefer to go back to Canada for treatment, and that the insurance is mainly for transport costs.
My wife and I are both taking a variety of meds, and our annual coverage is only around $800. That covers five months in the winter and any other short trips we take in the summer.
I have a friend who is 79, and who has an implanted defibrillator!!!!!! and who is still spending the winters in Florida with full coverage from Medipac.
Don't give up. I'm not sure how long you will have to wait, but a year of stability should make a huge difference.

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