There are many reasons to consider health insurance. Maybe you don’t have workplace benefits because you’re a contract worker or freelancer. Maybe you’re looking to top up your workplace or government plan. Whatever the reason, the best first step you can take is understanding what health insurance options are out there. As you figure out what you need, here are a few things to keep in mind.

Does your current health insurance cover everything you need it to?

We live in Canada, and it’s easy to think that government health insurance covers most of our health costs. The reality is, government health plans cover many basic health costs, but not all. If you run into expenses that aren’t covered, it could leave you with costly medical bills. (Each province has a website set up to help you understand what’s covered under its provincial health plan.)

If you have workplace benefits, they can help fill those gaps. But it’s important to look at your plan to understand what it covers and what it doesn’t. You may be only partly covered, or not covered at all, for things like specific medications or physiotherapy.

The bottom line? It’s a good idea to understand what gaps you need to fill in your current coverage.

Need help figuring this out? A Prospr advisor can help.

What can help you manage out-of-pocket health-care costs?

Once you’ve decided you need health and dental insurance to cover your out-of-pocket costs, what’s your next step? A good option to consider is personal health insurance.

Personal health insurance can help you cover medical bills and preventive care. Depending on the plan you choose, it can help pay for:

  • prescription drugs
  • dental treatments
  • vision care
  • emergency travel medical services
  • paramedical services like physiotherapy and massage

With personal health insurance, you get reimbursed for eligible expenses.

Are there other types of health insurance to consider?

Personal health insurance helps with medical costs. But you likely want to consider a broader protection plan built around your health. Here are other types of health insurance you may want to explore.

  • Critical illness insurance
    Critical illness insurance provides you with a tax-free lump sum of money if you get diagnosed with a covered life-altering illness like cancer, stroke and heart attack.* You can then use that money for whatever you need. You could use it to pay your bills, your mortgage or any other expense you might run into.  It can help protect your finances as you focus on your health.
  • Disability insurance
    If you became unable to work because of an injury or illness, how would you pay the bills in the short and long term? Disability insurance protects you by replacing part of your income for a period of time if you can’t work because of a covered illness or injury.
  • Long-term care insurance
    As we age, our health and needs can change. If you become dependent due to aging, a serious accident, severe illness or deteriorated mental abilities, long-term care insurance can protect your savings from the high cost of care. It can help cover the cost of care at home, a retirement home or a long-term care facility. It can also help you support your family financially if you live with them and need care.

How do these 4 types of health insurance compare?

To help you figure out what insurance you need, check out the key features of each in our table below. 

Type of insurance

What it does

How it pays a benefit

You may want to consider it if

Personal health insurance

Helps you pay for medical and dental expenses not covered, or not fully covered, by your government or workplace plan. Depending on the plan you choose, this can include prescription drugs, dental treatments, eyeglasses, and physiotherapy.

You get reimbursed for eligible expenses that you submit.

  • You're self-employed, a contract worker or a business owner. 
  • You don't have insurance through your employer, or you do but it doesn’t cover everything you need it to. 


Critical illness insurance

Pays you a specified amount of money if you’re diagnosed with one of the serious illnesses your policy covers.* Then, you can use that money any way you want.

You get a lump-sum payment.

  • You want to help protect your finances from a critical illness.
  • You want to be able to pay for any additional care and treatment you may need.

Disability insurance

Pays you some of your salary for a period of time if you can't keep working because of a covered injury or illness.

You get a regular monthly payment.

  • You rely on your income.

Long-term care insurance

Helps cover the cost of care over multiple months or years.

You get a regular payment to help cover the cost of care. 

  • You want to protect your finances.
  • You want to be able to choose the type and level of care that’s right for you

Ultimately, health insurance isn’t one-size-fits-all. Choosing the right health insurance for your situation means looking at what coverage you have, and what gaps you need to fill.

Of course, if you need help finding the right health insurance – or any insurance – for your needs, Prospr can help! Book an appointment with a Prospr advisor to talk about the best options for you.

* Your critical illness insurance policy defines the illnesses for which you are covered. You must meet the definition, and the survival period when it applies, to receive the benefit. Coverage is subject to exclusions and limitations listed in the policy.

This article is meant to provide general information only. Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada does not provide legal, accounting, taxation, or other professional advice. Please seek advice from a qualified professional, including a thorough examination of your specific legal, accounting and tax situation.