Canada Welcomes Visitors, But Not Their Health Bills: What You Need to Know to Make Sure Your Visitors Are Insured

Toronto, Canada – From the Rockies to the Red River, it’s springtime in Canada, and that means an influx of visitors from around the world. According to the Canadian Tourism Commission, Canada received over 17 million visitors in 2014, and each one was vulnerable to the costs of the Canadian health care system.

“Health care in Canada is expensive,” says Robin Ingle, Chairman of travel and health insurance group 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,” explains Ingle.

Ingle defines a visitor as anyone visiting from another country, new immigrants, and returning Canadians. All visitors within these categories require travel and health insurance while in Canada, and it is up to them to make appropriate arrangements prior to their departure.

Visitors need to know that foreign national insurance plans may not cover Canadian medical costs and most government health insurance plans in countries around the world will not cover accidents or medical emergencies incurred by their residents while travelling in Canada. Canadian provincial health insurance does not cover non-resident visitors, even if they are visiting family—uninsured visitors are expected to pay in full for medical bills incurred in Canada.

Just because you have provincial health care in Canada, does not mean it will never lapse.  If you’ve been out of the country for a long period, you have to reapply for coverage when you return. The same process applies for new immigrants and international students studying in Canada. These groups are vulnerable to the high costs of Canadian health care during this wait period, which depending on the province, is at least 3 months.

Unless you’re applying for a visa, travel health insurance is usually not mandatory, but the Government of Canada encourages visitors to get the right health insurance to cover medical costs before they arrive in the country. Ingle says the process of applying for a Visitors to Canada plan is very simple, and can be purchased through most insurance providers. Visitors just need to consider the following factors:

  • Exclusions for pre-existing medical conditions – Coverage varies by insurance company, policy, and age group.
  • Timing – If you wait to purchase your insurance after your arrival to Canada, some limitations could apply to your coverage.
  • Coverage level – Ingle recommends purchasing a policy that has a minimum of $50,000 of coverage.


Canada is the second largest country in the world. Explore this diverse and cultural country with no worries. Whether hiking the Rocky Mountains in Alberta, or experience the world’s highest hands-free external walk on the CN Tower in Toronto, we have you covered.  For more information, visit, call us at 1-800-360-3234 or email us at


  1. Abigail Aidoo Reply

    How do I get medical insurance to cover delivery or cesarean section as a visitor to canada.

    • Ingle International
      Ingle International Reply

      Some Visitors to Canada plans cover childbirth under a maternity benefit. For example, the Ingle Discover Canada plan includes $5,000 of coverage for pre-natal care, childbirth, and post-natal care. However, the pregnancy must commence after the policy takes effect and coverage must remain in place for the entire duration of the pregnancy.

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