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 it. To learn more about financing for medical procedures, continue reading below.
Your Medical Procedure Financing Options
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 your medical procedure financing options.
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 (click here to learn about using your credit card to cover emergencies). 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.
An unsecured personal 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.
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.
Not sure if you have an asset that can be used to secure a loan? Check out this article.
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 interested 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 (for more information about building home equity, click here). 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 Types of Procedures Are Eligible for Financing?
In Canada, everyone has access to basic health care benefits meaning that you won’t be responsible for financing everything under the sun. There’s a list below of common medical procedures that are eligible for financing.
- Elective surgery
- Cosmetic surgery
- Cosmetic dental surgery
- Fertility treatments
- Hair restoration procedures
- LASIK eye surgery
- Dermatological procedures
How to Find Out if a Medical Procedure is Covered by Canadian Health Care
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. Generally speaking, the following services are covered in Canada:
- Doctor appointments
- Specialist appointments
- Maternity services
- Medically necessary hospital stays
- Prescription drugs during hospital stays
- Illness treatments
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, the following services are not covered in Canada:
- Routine dental care
- 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.
- British Columbia
- New Brunswick
- Nova Scotia
- Prince Edward Island
- Newfoundland and Labrador
- Northwest Territories
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.
How to Compare Medical Financing Options
As with any other form of financing, it is wise to compare your options before making a final choice. If you don’t know where to start when comparing medical financing options, below are several things you can consider to determine which option is the best for you.
- Compare interest rates
- Consider fixed versus variable rates
- Determine if there is a loan origination fee or other irregular fees
- Compare loan terms
- Credit score requirements
- Loan amounts
- Compare monthly costs
- Compare total costs
- Financing processing time
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.