Visitors to Canada Need Health Insurance

By Andrew Rickard | May 25 2015 08:42AM

Insurer Ingle International is warning Canadians to make sure that their visitors from outside the country have at least $50,000 of health care insurance before they arrive.

Ingle points to data collected by the Canadian Tourism Commission which shows that over 17 million people visited the country last year. The insurer warns that Canadian provincial health insurance plans will not cover these non-residents, even if they are visiting family, which means they will be expected to pay in full for medical bills incurred in Canada.

Ingle also recommends that Canadians who are returning from a prolonged stay outside of the country also consider the state of their coverage. If their provincial health care insurance lapsed when they were abroad, they will need to reapply upon return to Canada; while they wait for these government benefits to restart (a period which may be at least three months, depending on the province), Ingle notes that they will be responsible for paying their own medical bills.

"Health care in Canada is expensive", says Robin Ingle, chairman of the travel and health insurance group at Ingle International. "There are common misconceptions about the Canadian health care system and what it will and won't cover — a non-resident visitor can expect to pay up to $5,000 per day in a hospital and double that for the intensive care unit."

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