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Expatriate Long Term Travel Medical Insurance Coverage

expatriate medical insurance
Leaving Canada for an extended trip? Make sure you have the proper medical coverage while you travel.

Emergency medical travel insurance requires that your provincial medical insurance is in force. The Canadian travel insurance companies require enforce provincial health insurance to ensure that they can limit losses in the case of major medical claims. For example, each emergency travel medical insurance policy have clauses that enable the insurance company (at their discretion) to supply a medical evacuation back to the insureds home province. Although this sounds like an attractive benefit, realistically, it is a cost containment strategy for the insurance companies. They likely will make a decision to medically evacuate you to your home province if the cost is lower than to treat you at your destination. Similar cost containment strategies require that the private emergency medical travel insurance companies share cost with the provincial health insurance plans. So you will be required to keep you provincial health coverage in force during your entire trip. Most provinces allow you to be away for 182 days and Ontario and Newfoundland allow you to be away for 212 days.

What happens if you plan to travel for a year or more? What are your options?

Option 1 - Extend your Provincial health insurance plan to cover your entire trip.

This is the best option for most travelers who plan to take 1-2 years to travel, live or work abroad. Most provinces will allow you to extend your coverage for an extended stay outside Canada. For example, Ontario Health Insurance Plan OHIP will allow you to extend the coverage if you meet the following criteria;

  • study outside of Canada
  • work outside of Canada
  • missionary work outside of Canada
  • vacation or other reason outside of Canada

To be eligible for continuous OHIP eligibility during one of these extended absences you must first have been physically present in Ontario for at least 153 days in the 12-month period, for 2 consecutive years before the absence.

The other provinces have similar contingencies. We recommend you consult them directly to ensure that you are eligible to extend you coverage while you are outside Canada for an extended period of time.

By Extending Your Provincial Health Insurance You Can Buy Inexpensive Travel Medical Insurance Coverage

The benefits of extending your Provincial health insurance coverage are numerous. Primarily, emergency medical travel insurance is quite inexpensive and can be purchased for as little as $1.15 per day. Secondly, upon returning home you will not need to requalify for provincial health insurance... which means that you will not need to purchase private health insurance for the first three months back in Canada. The financial savings can be enormous.

Option 2 -Purchase Expatriate Health Insurance

If you do not qualify for the extended provincial health insurance coverage, or, if you are already departed and just learning about the restrictions now, you still have the option of purchasing Expatriate Health Insurance.

Expatriate health insurance does not require that the insured has provincial health insurance. In fact, expatriate health insurance is designed to replace the provincial health coverage that we are so familiar with. But remember, that you will be required to continue this coverage for the first three months upon returning to Canada to ensure you have health coverage upon your repatriation.

Expatriate health insurance requires a medical application, similar to a life insurance application. The application is reviewed by an underwriter before the policy is approved. The entire process can take up to 2 weeks so plan to apply for this coverage well in advance of departure.

The Benefits of Expatriate Health Insurance

As the Expatriate insurance is a health plan, you may have the option of adding dental insurance, drug plans, life insurance, and possible even pregnancy coverage in some circumstances. You also have the benefit of visiting a physician once per year for an annual physical.

Expatriate health insurance plans also give you the option of paying annually, semi-annually, quarterly, or monthly. Extra surcharges apply unless you choose the annual payment option.

Whether you choose to extend you provincial health plan and purchase emergency medical travel insurance or choose to purchase an expatriate health insurance plan you need to protect yourself from the high cost of medical care while traveling outside Canada. Please do not hesitate to contact our representatives by phone, email, or live help chat.

Frequently Asked Questions about Expatriate Medical Insurance

  • What is Expatriate Medical Insurance?

    Expatriate medical insurance pays medical expenses living outside Canada for an extended period of time. Expatriate Medical Insurance does not require that provincial health insurance is maintained while living Outside Canada.
  • Who can purchase Expatriate Medical Insurance?

    Expatriate medical insurance is best suited for Canadians planning extended stays outside Canada.... whether for work, study, retirement or travel. Expatriate medical insurance is best suited for Expatriates without maintaining provincial health insurance coverage.
  • What Companies offer Expatriate Medical Insurance?

    OIQ Insurance Solutions currently maintains agency contracts to distribute Expatriate plans with 2 Canadian insurance companies
    1. TIC Travel Insurance Coordinators
    2. ETFS - Expert Travel Financial Services
    Additionally, OIQ has referral agreements with 2 International Insurance Companies;
    1. MNUI - MultiNational Underwriters Insurance
    2. IMG - International Medical Group
  • Are the rates in Canadian dollars or US dollars?

    TIC and ETFS quotes are in Canadian Dollars while the MNUI and IMG quotes are in US dollars.
  • Can I continue coverage for the first 3 months back in Canada while waiting for my provincial health insurance coverage?

    TIC and ETFS can be extended for the 3 months after returning to Canada while the MNUI and IMG plans can only be extended for one month. The remaining months can be insured with Visitors to Canada emergency medical insurance which can be purchased on