Making the transition from employee to self-employed can be exhilarating, especially if you’re an MRI technologist, physiotherapist, or other healthcare professional in hot demand. As a locum tenens in Canada, you can make your own schedule, travel the world, and enjoy a better work-life balance than ever before.
However, there are some tradeoffs that you’ll need to make. For one, you’ll be tracking expenses, monitoring income, and filing your own taxes. You’ll also need your own locum tenens health insurance for all those benefits that Canada’s publicly funded system doesn’t cover, such as dental and vision care and treatments from chiropractors, massage therapists, or psychologists. In this blog, we’ll review what you need to know about self-employed health coverage.
What Locum Tenens Health Insurance Coverage Do You Need?
Health care in Canada is not centralized. Rather, each of Canada’s 13 provinces and territories administers its own public healthcare system. In all provinces and territories, medically necessary treatments must be covered, but the definitions of what constitutes “medically necessary” can vary.
Chiropractic care is a good example. In Manitoba, the Insured Benefits Branch of Manitoba Health covers up to seven chiropractic visits per year while in Ontario, chiropractic treatment is not covered by the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP). Other variations include:
- Midwife services are only covered in British Columbia.
- You must pay fully or partially for ambulance services in most provinces (Manitoba and Nova Scotia are exceptions).
When you acquire private locum tenens health insurance, it covers the gap between what’s covered by your provincial plan and what you’re expected to pay for yourself. Depending on your needs, you can select a plan from a private provider, pay a monthly premium (which may be a tax-deductible expense), and be covered for treatments and services like the following:
- Dental care
- Vision care
- Naturopathic care
- Prescription drugs
- Private hospital room
- Travel insurance
- Out-of-country medical expenses
This can not only help cover the costs of routine healthcare, but can be especially helpful if you’re in an accident or become sick and need treatment unexpectedly.
How Does Locum Tenens Health Insurance Coverage Work?
If you’ve always had dental and medical benefits through your employer, you may not be sure how private insurance coverage works.
Let’s assume you’ve decided to transition from an employee to travel sonographer. You want to be proactive about your physical and mental wellbeing, so it’s important to keep up with dental visits, eyeglass prescriptions, and supportive therapies like acupuncture and chiropractic adjustments- none of which are covered by your provincial healthcare plan.
After shopping around, you see that some plans offer up to 90% reimbursement for prescription drugs, $1,000 a year in dental coverage, $300 every 24 months for vision care, and up to $1,200 a year for chiropractic. Others offer more or less coverage, but the premiums go up and down accordingly.
With some services, you may have to pay the entire amount up front and submit the bill to your insurer for reimbursement. Other providers will bill your insurer directly, leaving you responsible only for your share of a co-pay. The documentation you receive should explain what you can expect in this regard.
How Much Locum Tenens Health Insurance Do You Need?
The type of coverage you choose will depend on factors like your budget and whether you have pre-existing conditions or medical requirements that necessitate certain services or treatments. You might also want to think about the type of work you do: for example, if you’re on your feet most of the time, access to massage therapy or chiropractic care can lessen the risk of occupational injuries like back pain or strained muscles.
An online quote can help you determine the type of coverage you need as a locum tenens in Canada. You can look at different options, such as basic coverage when you’re just starting out or, if you have known health issues, more comprehensive coverage that can cover a range of medical treatments. Think about the services you’ve needed in the past and look for a locum tenens health insurance package that provides the best value.
How Much Does Private Healthcare Cost in Canada?
In choosing a health and dental benefits plan, your monthly premiums will vary depending on factors like which company is providing your insurance, the coverage you choose, and whether you add your spouse or dependents to your plan. In the long run, these monthly payments can be less costly than paying out-of-pocket, and they can also provide tax benefits. More on that below!
Can You Deduct Your Health Insurance Premiums at Tax Time?
Yes. When you pay for out-of-pocket medical expenses, you may qualify for the Medical Expense Tax Credit. The Canada Revenue Agency allows you to deduct the premiums you pay to private health plans from your business income, but you must be the sole proprietor and the business must be your primary source of income.
You can find a complete list of allowable deductions on the government website. If an expense is not on the list, you can ask your accountant for clarification or contact a Revenue Canada representative.
Questions About Being a Locum Tenens in Canada? We Can Help!
With the demand for healthcare services constantly increasing, you can expect a long and exciting career as a travel healthcare professional. Once you get your locum tenens health insurance questions resolved, you’ll be ready to explore the many opportunities that await across Canada! You could spend six months at a clinic in Yellowknife followed by another six at a facility in Cape Breton- the possibilities are endless!
At ProMed HR Solutions, we have work opportunities available for locum tenens professionals in a wide range of modalities, including but not limited to Physiotherapists, MRI Technologists, and X-Ray Technologists. When you join our team, we match your skills and experience with the needs of our candidates in your preferred travel area to help ensure the best result for everyone involved! To learn more about how we can help you enjoy your new career, visit www.promedhr.ca or call (833) 776-6336.