Financing For Medical Procedures

One of the amazing things about living in Canada is the nationwide health care benefits. While the Canadian health care system covers the majority of basic medical costs, you will likely incur a medical expense that you are responsible for entirely on your own at some point in your lifetime. Some expenses will be manageable without financing, but others can be too expensive to pay for out of pocket. Thankfully, there are financing options available for medical expenses when you need them.

What Types Of Medical Procedures Are Eligible For Financing?

Fortunately, there are several medical procedures that are covered under a person’s provincial health insurance plan, so there’s no need to pay for the surgery out-of-pocket. But while basic procedures may be covered, many others are not, though they may be eligible for coverage with a medical loan.

There are few restrictions on the types of medical procedures and treatments that you can pay for with the help of a medical loan. Here are a few examples of procedures you can cover using funds from a medical loan:

  • Elective surgery
  • Cosmetic surgery
  • Basic dental care
  • Cosmetic dental surgery
  • Fertility treatments
  • Hair restoration procedures
  • LASIK eye surgery
  • Dermatological procedures
  • Chiropractic services
  • Physiotherapy
  • Acupuncture

Find out if you should get dental insurance.

Ways To Finance Your Medical Procedure

When it comes to financing a medical procedure, you have several options. Which one you choose depends on what is available to you as well as your financial needs. Below are some of your medical procedure financing options. 

Credit Cards

If you have an emergency medical procedure to cover or are looking for a convenient short-term solution, a credit card could be the right option. Just keep in mind that your credit card has a high-interest rate and if you can’t afford to pay off the full balance within a reasonable time, you will end up paying significantly more for the procedure. 

Personal Loans

An unsecured personal loan is typically the most common choice for Canadian consumers who need to cover the cost of a medical procedure. Personal loans are relatively easy to get approved for and can be customized to meet your financial needs. While a personal loan won’t have an interest rate quite as high as a credit card if you have poor credit, you may be offered an interest rate higher than you expected. 

Secured Loans

For those consumers with less than great credit or for those who own an asset, like a vehicle, a secured loan could be a great option. Your asset will act as collateral and therefore allow you to gain access to a larger loan with more favourable terms and conditions. This could be a good choice for someone who is planning an elective medical procedure. 

Line of Credit

Similar to a credit card in that you can spend up to a certain limit and are only charged interest on that amount, a line of credit could be a good option for someone with reoccurring medical expenses. Typically they offer interest rates that are lower than a credit card and other high-interest loans. 

Home Equity Loan

While this may not be the best choice for a large percentage of Canadians looking to finance a medical procedure, a home equity loan will allow you to gain access to a larger amount of money. If you’ve built up some equity in your house you can leverage it as collateral to get approved for a loan. It’s important to point out that when you take out a home equity loan you could be putting your home at risk if you can’t keep up with the payments. 

Keep in mind that the above medical financing options can be used to pay for a particular procedure or to refinance any existing medical debt you have. Either way, you have plenty of choices. 

What Are The Medical Loan Requirements?

In order to be eligible for a medical loan, you’ll need to meet certain criteria, including the following:

  • Be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident 
  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have a valid Canadian address
  • Have an active bank account
  • Have a steady income

Depending on the lender, you may also need a certain credit score in order to qualify, though some lenders work with borrowers with all credit score ranges

How To Compare Medical Financing Options

Before applying for a loan to finance a medical procedure, be sure to carefully assess the following factors first:

  • Interest rates. The interest rate on the loan is a critical factor to determine, as it will have a direct impact on the overall cost of your medical loan. As such, you’ll want to find a loan that comes with a low rate to keep costs to a minimum.
  • Fixed versus variable rates. In addition to the actual rate itself, you’ll want to determine whether the loan you’re considering is a fixed-rate or variable-rate loan. Most personal loans come with fixed rates, which means the payments remain the same throughout the term. A variable-rate loan, on the other hand, means the interest can fluctuate throughout the term, and therefore the payments can also change. 
  • Additional fees. Loans often come with other fees in addition to interest, such as loan origination fees and early prepayment penalty fees. Find out if any of these fees apply to your loan before you commit, as these extra fees can have a big impact on the overall cost of your loan. 
  • Loan terms. Long-term loans mean you’ll have more time to repay the loan, but you’ll pay much more in interest over the term. With shorter-term loans, on the other hand, you’ll be loan-free much sooner and pay a lot less in interest, but your monthly payments will be much higher. 
  • Funding processing time. How quickly do you need the funds? Find out how long a particular lender will need to process your loan and deposit the funds into your account to ensure the loan aligns with your needs. 

How To Find Out If A Medical Procedure Is Covered By The Canadian Health Care System?

As mentioned, Canada offers healthcare benefits to its residents which covers many basic medical costs. Medicare is the Canadian publicly funded healthcare system responsible for your free health care. The downside of Medicare is that it isn’t a national plan. Instead, there are thirteen different provincial and territorial health care plans, one per province or territory. 

Under Medicare, almost all medically necessary services are free to Canadians. However, there are certain exceptions that can become confusing when you’re determining whether you need medical financing or not. Since the Medicare plans vary by province and territory, what is covered and not covered varies across the nation. In general, here are some common services that are and are not covered:

Covered

  • Doctor appointments
  • Specialist appointments
  • Maternity services
  • Medically necessary hospital stays
  • Prescription drugs during hospital stays
  • Surgery
  • Illness treatments

Not Covered

  • Routine dental care
  • Eyecare
  • Chiropractic treatments
  • Medical examinations for employment purposes
  • Doctor notes
  • Ambulance rides
  • Special medical equipment
  • Medication (many exceptions apply)

To learn more about what is covered by Medicare in your province or territory, check out your provincial or territorial health care plan online. This information can be found by visiting your respective province or territory’s public health website.

Keep in mind that some medical expenses that are not covered by Medicare might be covered by an employee or retirement benefit plan if you have one. Before going through the trouble of searching for financing, check to see if your benefits will cover the costs.

British ColumbiaLearn More
AlbertaLearn More
SaskatchewanLearn More
ManitobaLearn More
OntarioLearn More
QuebecLearn More
New BrunswickLearn More
Nova ScotiaLearn More
Prince Edward IslandLearn More
Newfoundland and LabradorLearn More
YukonLearn More
Northwest TerritoriesLearn More
NunavutLearn More

When Should You Get A Medical Loan?

Taking out a loan means adding more debt to the pile and extra bill payments every month. As such, you don’t want to take out a loan if it’s not really necessary. On the other hand, there are some very good reasons for applying for a medical loan, including the following:

To Consolidate Your Medical Debt

If you already have some high-interest medical debt on the books, applying for another medical loan at a much lower interest rate might make sense. You can then use that lower-rate loan to pay off any existing debt you have and consolidate your debt into one easily-managed, more affordable loan. In turn, you can pay off your outstanding debt a lot faster. 

You Can Afford It

If the added monthly payments of a medical loan fit comfortably within your budget, then taking out a loan to cover the cost of a medical procedure might make financial sense. Just be sure to get an accurate idea of the exact total of your monthly payments — including interest, and other fees — before committing. 

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Medical Loan FAQs

Can I get a bad credit medical loan in Canada?

Yes, there are several lenders in Canada who work with bad credit borrowers. These lenders look at other factors besides your credit score to assess your ability to qualify for a loan.  That means you don’t need stellar credit in order to get approved. Just keep in mind that you’ll likely pay a higher interest rate as a result of your bad credit.

Should I pre-qualify for medical financing?

Pre-qualifying for a medical loan is a good idea, as it will give you the chance to find out the interest rate, loan terms, fees, loan amount, and payments associated with your loan. 

Who can I get a medical loan from?

Medical loans are available from banks, credit unions, and online lenders. If your credit profile is less-than-perfect, you may have better luck with alternative lenders, which you can easily find online.

Should I use my credit card for medical expenses?

If you decide to use a credit card to fund your medical procedure, consider using a credit card that offers a 0% interest rate during an introductory period, which is usually anywhere from 6 to 24 months.  You can find these cards from many banks and sometimes the medical providers themselves. However, don’t take this approach if you will be unable to pay off the balance within this interest-free period, as carrying a high balance month after month will result in sky-high payments due to credit cards’ notoriously high interest rates. 

Should I get private insurance?

Private medical insurance provides coverage for medical procedures that are not typically covered by provincial health plans, such as dental procedures or eye exams. These plans cost a few hundred dollars a year, but they can save you quite a bit if you use such services often.

Do You Have A Medical Procedure To Pay For?

The majority of your medical costs will be covered in Canada, but there will be exceptions along the way. Because there are few medical costs, most Canadians don’t have trouble managing the expenses. Although, it is comforting to know that financing for medical procedures is available to you in a time of need. If you’re looking for the right financing to help pay for a medical procedure, Loans Canada can help match you with the right lender. 


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