Published October 2020
What exactly is supplementary health and dental insurance?
Who should have it?
Can you afford it with your other bills?
What kind of plan should you buy?
All great questions! We’ll take you through the answers, and we promise you won’t need a secret decoder to understand it, because we’re going to keep it simple. Learning just a few of the basics can help you make the right choices for your family.
What is health & dental insurance and how does it work?
Individual health and dental insurance plans are a contract between you and an insurance company, where in exchange for paying a yearly or monthly fee called a premium, the company agrees to pay certain benefits covered under your plan.
Most plans don’t cover 100% of your family’s expenses. Many have a deductible or co-payments, or an amount that you have to pay before coverage kicks in. This deductible could be that $5 of every prescription is not covered, or that the first $100 in eligible expenses in a year are not covered.
Your plan will probably also have limits or maximums that it will cover, for instance $1,000 in dental expenses in a year. If you and your spouse both have separate health and dental insurance plans, you can do what’s called coordination of benefits, whereby one spouse’s plan covers part of the cost, and the other spouse’s plan covers part of the rest.
Government health plans don’t cover everything.
In Canada, we’re fortunate to enjoy public health insurance. If we go to a doctor, clinic, hospital or emergency room, receive medical attention, or undergo tests or surgeries, the cost is covered by our government plan, which varies by province or territory.
But as good as they are, our government plans don’t cover everything, and they don’t cover any dental. Out-of-pocket costs can really add up, particularly if you have a family, are self-employed, are nearing retirement, or have a family member on regular medication. That’s where an individual health and dental insurance plan can help. It can help you cover the cost of items like:
- Dental Care
- Vision Care
- Psychologist Visits
- Prescription Drugs
Already have group coverage through work?
Some people also have what’s known as group health and dental coverage through work. There are two key differences between employer group plans and individual plans. Your coverage ends if you change or lose your job with a group plan, but with an individual plan, your coverage is continuous as long as your premiums are paid. And individual plans allow you to shop around for the right insurance company for you, while your employer chooses the provider of a group plan.
How much health & dental insurance should you buy?
How much you should buy depends on your budget, your family, ongoing medical needs, chronic medical conditions and whether you have any existing coverage.
Many insurance providers offer instant online quotes and needs calculators via their websites, which use questionnaires to help point you in the direction of plans which could work for you. These days it’s fast and convenient to purchase individual health and dental insurance online, but you may want to talk to a licensed insurance expert who can help guide your decision.
When choosing an insurance provider, reputation and staying power is everything. CAA Health & Dental Insurance offered through Manulife can help reduce your family’s out-of-pocket costs. Manulife has a 130-year record of serving Canadian families and has been partnering with CAA for the past 30 years to offer members a range of plans at affordable rates.