Canadian Travel Insurance – Why It’s Important

Medical coverage can be a big concern for Canadian residents who travel on a regular basis. Regular insurance may only cover a small portion of emergency medical expenses that occur outside of the providence in which a person resides, if any of is even covered at all.

Uncovered emergency medical expenses can absolutely cripple a person or family financially. Emergency medical care costs can begin to add up even if you do have some coverage, but those with no coverage at all could quickly find themselves in a hole too deep to get out of after just a day or two in the hospital.

Extra travel insurance could be an absolute necessity if you are required to travel on a regular basis for your employer, but it’s also a good idea for those that just need to travel on occasion.

Piece of Mind

Travel insurance in Canada is available to almost all people in virtually any type of situation where travel is taking place. It’s capable of taking care of someone involved in any multitude of different situations, so Canadian residents are able to travel as much as they need to without any worries at all.

Outsiders looking In

For people traveling to Canada from another country, the problem of coverage under their regular insurance may also pose a problem. Many insurance companies don’t cover all of the expenses that can be incurred when an injury or emergency occurs during international travel.

For people who want to spend some time in Canada for pleasure, or those that are required to travel to and stay in Canada for business there is Visitors to Canada travel insurance.

Emergency medical care anywhere in the world can be very expensive, but with visitors to Canada travel insurance visitors can spend their time in Canada focusing on what’s important to their trip, whether it be business or pleasure, without any fear.

In order to obtain Visitors to Canada travel insurance, a visitor will need to know in which province they will be spending the majority of their time and they’ll have to fill out a declaration of health before being able to purchase the plan that will best accommodate their needs for a particular trip. That doesn’t seem like very much at all to truly obtain piece of mind to know that you’ll be taken care of in the event of any unforeseen instances.

Travel insurance, depending upon the type of plan chosen, may also cover such things as: accommodations, transportation and reimbursement for necessities like clothing and toiletries in the event that an injury or emergency prevents you from continuing your travels as planned.

If you are traveling with family and loved ones and purchase a plan for the group – if one person becomes injured or requires emergency treatment, the others in the group could be eligible for several amenities as well should the injury affect or inhibit the rest of their travel.

Many travelers going from province to province or coming from outside of Canada in, think that travel insurance is simply an extra expense that they don’t really need – they adopt the attitude that if they travel and nothing happens to them (which is often the most likely outcome) that they will have, in effect, wasted X amount of dollars that could have been used for something better. Though this is a very real possibility, in most cases there will be no accidents or emergencies what so ever and all travelers will arrive home on time, safe and sound. What these travelers should consider though is that accidents do happen – one accident could mean terrible things for a traveler who isn’t covered.

For those traveling (especially frequently) through Canada and who aren’t already covered through some other method of coverage, Canadian travel insurance should be considered a necessity.

Group Insurance Canada – Three Key Options For Canadian Businesses!

You may have heard that the number of insurers in the Canadian marketplace has declined over the years. This is true … sort of. The traditional life insurance companies have consolidated their group operations into just a few key players. But there are some innovative Group Health Insurance solutions being offered now. And even the traditional group plans have had to improve their offerings to stay competitive.

So what choices are there for a business to provide a group health benefit plan?

1. Traditional Group Insurance Canada Everyone is familiar with traditional workplace health benefits. They provide basic life insurance coverage, a disability insurance safety net and Accidental Death and Dismemberment Coverage. They also offer Prescription Drug and Dental coverage (not always both), and extended health benefits like chiropractic, massage, psychology, and the like. There are a lot of different ways to build a benefit plan now and a good broker will help you to find the right coverage for the budget of your business.

2. Administrative Services Only (ASO) An Administrative Services Only plan can offer all of the same benefits that a Traditional Group Plan. So what’s the difference? The difference between ASO and a traditional group plan is that the ASO is essentially self insuring. This eliminates a lot of the “mark-up” in the group plan but also increases the risk of high claims to the business. This risk can be reduced through the use of stop loss insurance. All in all an ASO plan can save a business a lot of money while reducing overall costs.

3. Health Spending Accounts A Health Spending Account is essentially a savings account set aside for the purpose of medical spending. Small business owners and incorporated professionals find that this is a dynamic way to pay for health expenses they already have and to save for future costs. A HSA is recognized by the Canada Revenue Agency and allows the individual to pay for their annual healthcare costs in pre-tax dollars. Money put into the HSA are recognized as a full business deduction. This save significant tax dollars. Of course there are limits to how much can be put into a Health Spending Account. They are reasonable limits.

So you can see that there are choices to implement a health insurance plan for your business and employees. You might be surprised that you do not have to break the bank!

How Do You Choose the Right Health Insurance?

How do you choose the best health insurance policy? The answer really depends on your situation in life. Someone who is young and single is going to have far different needs than someone who is older and has a family depending on the health insurance. If you are shopping for health insurance plans, here are some of the considerations you need to make.

HMO, PPO, or POS

One of the first choices you may need to make is which structure your health insurance policy will have. The three most common are HMOs, PPOs, and POSs. An HMO, or health maintenance organization, is probably the most affordable option. However, you will have many limitations with an HMO as to which doctors you can visit, and there is often a lot of paperwork you must go through in order to obtain certain medical procedures or get a visit with a specialist. In an HMO, your doctor is paid a set fee each month for each patient under his care, regardless of whether or not a particular patient receives care that month. You are required to visit doctors who are in the HMO.

With a point-of-service, or POS, your insurance provider only pays when you receive services. You have fewer limitations as to the doctors you can see, but you may be required to pay a portion of the cost each time you receive care. You will have slightly more flexibility if you need specialist care under a POS plan.

A PPO, or preferred-provider-organization, is like a combination of the two previous policies. Like an HMO, you are going to be better off if you choose a physician that is part of your network. With a PPO, your insurance will pay more for your care if the provider is in the network. However, unlike an HMO, you can choose to go to a doctor who is out of the network, you will just have to pay more out of pocket to do so. You will also have a deductible and co-pays with this type of insurance.

Deductible Vs. Premium

The deductible, or the amount you must pay out of pocket before your insurance will kick in, directly affects the amount you pay for your premium. The higher your deductible, the lower your premium will be. However, finding the right balance between the two is not always easy.

If you are going to be using your insurance regularly, such as if someone in your home has a pre-existing medical condition or if you have children who need regular checkups, you may want to pay a little more for your insurance premium in order to have a lower deductible. However, if your insurance is to be used for potential major health problems that you might face someday, but right now you are relatively healthy, a higher deductible in return for a lower premium may be more beneficial.

Look at Prescription Drug Coverage

Not all insurance policies have prescription drug coverage. The best health insurance policies will cover your prescriptions. If the policy does not cover prescriptions, find out if it offers a discount plan you can use towards drug expenses.

Look at Lifetime Maximum Benefits

Many insurance products will put a cap on the amount you can receive in benefits. This is called a maximum lifetime benefit. These will apply to individual treatments, such as cancer, mental illness, or organ transplants. If the insurance has very low caps, such as $100,000, you need to find something else. Medical expenses add up quickly, and you do not want to be paying for coverage that is not going to be sufficient if you have a severe medical problem in the future.

Choosing health insurance is never easy. Be sure that you work with a qualified agent who can answer all of your questions. Pose various scenarios to see how the insurance would cover situations that could occur in your future. This will help you choose the best health insurance for your family’s needs.

How to Buy a House in Canada

When buying real estate, you do not want to make any mistakes. Being well-informed is key. If you are visiting the country, and want to buy a house in Canada, it is smart to be aware of the financial and legal aspects involved.

Find Yourself a Reputable Agent

You would not go on safari without a guide would you? The same principal applies to the purchase of real estate. Although there are no life-threatening issues at stake, there are extensive financial implications to consider, significant legal matters to examine, and various locations to choose from, all of which require a certain level guidance.

Real estate agents are ideal guides in the purchase of real estate. They prospect for the buyer, act as negotiator between buyer and seller, and advise in the completion of the transaction. They must hold a license issued by their provincial real estate board, assuring you that they are trained agents, well-informed on the subject of how to buy a house in Canada.

When you first meet with a Canadian real estate agent, it is required that he present to you a pamphlet that explains the nature of his relationship with you and the extent of his responsibilities to you. The basic obligations of the agent are to protect and promote your negotiating position at all times, abide by your instructions (providing they are lawful), respect all confidences, and account for all funds placed in their possession while acting on your behalf.

Safeguards

When you are researching how to buy a house in Canada, the security of your transaction is very important. What kind of systems are in place to ensure you do not loose your investment in a fraudulent transaction? Real estate brokers are audited once a year to confirm that they are following regulations enacted by the province. The provincial commission has the right to impose fines, suspend or revoke licenses to those who are not abiding by the rules.

Many provinces require real estate agents to have an insurance policy that protects purchasers in the event of errors and/or omissions with regard to real estate transactions. In such a case, the insurance company would typically compensate the purchaser for the agent’s mistake. Some provinces have a recovery fund to indemnify clients who are victims of fraud, resulting in a financial loss caused by a real estate representative.

Real Estate Rules for Non Residents

British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and New Brunswick pose no restrictions regarding the extent of real estate a non-resident can buy in Canada; however, some Canadian provinces limit the amount of property to foreign buyers. “On Prince Edward Island, non-resident buyers must apply to the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission for land over 5 acres in size, or land with a shore frontage greater than 165 feet. In Manitoba, non-residents are prevented from owning farmland unless they actually plan to move there within 2 years. Non-residents may not own land over 10 acres in size in Saskatchewan, whilst in Alberta they may only own up to 2 plots of land not exceeding 20 acres in total.”

Since the tragedy of 911, a national agency called Fintrak collects data on real estate buyers, requesting their current address, passport identification, and driver’s licence in order to verify their status. The purpose is to ensure that money is not laundered in Canada for terrorist activities or other nefarious endeavors that would threaten the country’s security under the mask of real estate dealings.

Financial Recommendations

Learning how to buy a house in Canada includes knowing how to finance such a purchase. In order to determine the amount you will need to borrow, you must be aware of the purchase price, transfer tax, appraisal fees, inspection fees, insurance costs, and closing fees which constitute legal fees. Keep in mind other potential disbursements.

You should endeavor to put down as much money as you can afford towards a down payment – the larger the down payment, the lower the monthly mortgage payment. If your down payment is less than 25% of the purchase price, your mortgage loan will have to be insured with a mortgage insurance company. Since this involves another outside service, additional legal fees would be required for the loan application, and an insurance premium (a certain percentage of the loan amount) would have to be budgeted.

Canadian citizens are allowed to withdraw up to $20,000 from their Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) to buy a house, without having to pay taxes, and are permitted 15 years to reimburse this amount without having it become part of their gross annual income. It is possible that non-residents wanting to buy a house in Canada may also be able to withdraw money from their country’s equivalent of the Canadian RRSP program. It might be worthwhile to research the availability of this financial option in your country of origin.

The Importance of Dental Insurance and Good Oral Health

Having adequate dental insurance is essential because it can make it easier for you to maintain good oral hygiene and health. Oral health is important because it affects your physical appearance and self confidence. It can also impact your overall health and quality of life.

According to Health Canada, untreated cavities can be painful and lead to serious infections.

Cavities and gum disease may contribute to major conditions such as diabetes and respiratory diseases. Some studies link poor oral health with heart disease and even women having pre-term, low-birth-rate babies. Even missing and crooked teeth can hamper your ability to chew and digest food properly, leading to insufficient oral health.

To maintain good oral hygiene and health, Health Canada recommends that you brush and floss your teeth daily. You should also use an antimicrobial mouth rinse to minimize bacteria in your mouth. It’s also important to eat a healthy diet based on Canada’s Food Guide. In addition, visit your dentist regularly.

Insurance Helps with Routine and Major Care
Insurance can make it more feasible for you to receive dental care for routine and conditions. Statistics have shown that patients with dental coverage will seek out required care on a far more regular basis than those without coverage, according to the Canadian Dental Association. That’s why it’s important for you to maintain sufficient dental insurance coverage.

Dental insurance generally covers 100 percent of cleanings, exams and annual X-rays. Extractions, certain surgeries and emergency care are also fully covered under most insurance plans. If you don’t have any major problems with your teeth, you’ll need to visit the dentist approximately twice a year. During that time, the dentist will examine your teeth and gums for signs of tooth decay and gum disease. Each year, X-rays of your teeth will be taken to identify undetected problems. If you don’t have any active tooth decay or gum disease, you probably will not need to change your brushing or flossing habits.

During regular checkups, a dental hygienist will clean your teeth. He or she will use a small metal tool to scrape hard mineral buildup known as tartar off your teeth, floss your teeth thoroughly and use a special compound to help clean and polish your teeth. The hygienist may also apply sealants to prevent cavities or fluoride treatments during routine office visits.

Dental Insurance and Serious Issues
If you have major problems with your teeth, dental insurance will generally cover a portion of the costs. For example, many insurance plans cover up to 80 percent for fillings and up to 50 percent for root canals, restorative crowns and implants. Corrective braces are often covered at more than half the cost, although most plans cover orthodontics only for children under the age of 18. Most insurance plans do not pay for cosmetic dentistry used to improve the appearance of a person’s teeth, mouth and smile. Some of the most common cosmetic procedures include teeth whitening, veneers and inlays/onlays.

A good dental insurance plan can assist you and your family with paying for appropriate preventive dental care, as well as expenses relating to more comprehensive restorative and corrective procedures. For more information about oral health and dental insurance, visit the Canadian Dental Association’s website.