Unfortunately many Canadians have now found themselves without employee benefits due to job loss as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Not having health insurance coverage can be a source of worry for many of these unemployed Canadians.
The good news is that there are specialized health and dental plans that are specifically designed for people who have just lost their group benefits coverage. These plans are called “conversion health insurance”, and they offer coverage typically found in other health plans (for example, dental, prescription drug and vision care coverage).
Conversion Plans and Eligibility
Conversion health and dental insurance plans are guaranteed issue and do not require answering any medical questions.
To qualify for most conversion plans, however, you must have lost your group benefits coverage within 60 to 90 days of applying for a conversion plan.
If it has been more than 60 to 90 days since you lost your group insurance coverage you can still get personal health insurance (either an underwritten plan or a standard guaranteed issue plan). If this is the situation you find yourself in please contact us, we can still help you get coverage.
Conversion Health Plan Coverage
Conversion plans often offer coverage for the following types of healthcare costs:
- Dental costs (exams, x-rays, fillings, scalings, extractions, etc.). Note that major dental is often covered starting the 2nd year of coverage.
- Prescription drugs.
- Vision care (exams, lenses, frames and laser eye surgery).
- Hospital benefits (coverage for hospital room accommodations).
- Hearing aids.
- Ambulance services.
- Accidental dental (e.g. dental costs that result from an accidental blow to the mouth).
- Registered specialists such as chiropractors, acupuncturists, naturopaths, physiotherapists, podiatrists, chiropodists, massage therapists and dieticians.
Note that the types of coverage and coverage levels vary between different conversion plans.
FollowMe™ Conversion Plans
FollowMe™ health insurance is a very popular conversion insurance that is offered by Manulife Financial.
These FollowMe™ plans offer 4 different levels of coverage: Basic, Enhanced, Enhanced Plus and Premiere.
The Basic and Enhanced plans offer prescription drug, vision care, hospital benefits and extended healthcare benefits but do not offer any dental coverage.
The Enhanced Plus and Premiere plans do offer dental care coverage (only the Premiere plan offers major dental coverage for crowns, bridges, dentures and orthodontics starting in the 2nd year of coverage).
There is also an optional travel insurance add-on that offers $5 million of medical coverage per trip which is not medically underwritten (no medical questions are required for eligibility).
For more details see this FollowMe™ Health Insurance Comparison Chart.
Why Get a Group Benefits Conversion Plan?
Conversion plans offer extensive coverage levels compared to other guaranteed issue health and dental insurance plans for the same price.
The reason that insurance carriers can offer these conversion plans is because they know you have just had employee benefits coverage, and because of this they are relatively confident that you have had dental and healthcare issues recently taken care of. In other words, they know that most applicants do not have many outstanding dental or health issues that need to be addressed.
Group conversion plans offer you peace of mind when it comes to covering unexpected health, dental and vision care expenses not covered by your provincial healthcare plans (e.g. OHIP, etc.).
If you want to learn more please reach out and contact us. As licensed, experienced Canadian health insurance brokers it is our mission to get you the benefits coverage that best suits your particular situation!