Why Working Holiday Visa Holders Should Enrol In Canadian Healthcare


Did you know that working holiday visa holders can apply for Canadian healthcare? 

If you are wondering whether it’s worth applying for public healthcare in Canada alongside your private (travel) health insurance, here are three reasons you should:

  1. The price
  2. Additional unlimited coverage
  3. 25% Government Health Insurance Plan (GHIP) refund on BestQuote’s MedEC Visitors insurance policy 

Before we get into it, let me explain briefly how healthcare in Canada works.

How does Canadian healthcare work? 

Healthcare in Canada is not a combined national programme. Each province or territory has an individual healthcare plan in which residents enrol to access healthcare. All provinces or territories function similarly, but there are slight differences in eligibility and coverage.

So, to access Canadian healthcare, you should apply within your province or territory. People entering Canada as temporary residents are often required to purchase travel health insurance. So maybe you are wondering why you should apply for healthcare in your province when you already have travel insurance coverage. 

Well, here's why. 

3 reasons to apply for provincial healthcare

1. The price

I’m sure you’re thinking: is Canadian healthcare free? The answer is (technically) yes! 

You do not have to pay to receive necessary healthcare within your province if you have applied and are registered for provincial healthcare. 

However, not every healthcare service is free. Each province provides medical services for free if it is considered medically necessary

All provinces have a list of exemptions. Some of the common provincial healthcare service exemptions include:

  • Dentist visits (unless medically necessary)
  • Optician visits (unless medically necessary)
  • Ambulance services
  • Prescription costs
  • Medical appliances such as casts, crutches, wheelchairs, beds, etc.

But not all provinces are the same. To check whether the medical service you require is free, go to your province or territories’ healthcare plan website. 

If you register for healthcare services in your province, you are covered for all medically necessary healthcare for free. What’s not to love?

2. Additional coverage 

Some healthcare services will be covered by your province that you may not have access to via your private insurance. Here are the common differences between private insurance policies and provincial government health insurance plans (GHIP):

  Private Insurance Provincial Healthcare
Issues arising from a pre-existing condition Not covered ❌ Covered ✅
An accident caused by drinking/drugs Not covered❌ Covered✅
An accident caused by high-risk sports Not covered❌ Covered✅
Childbirth Not covered❌ Covered✅
Ambulance services Covered✅ Not covered❌
Prescription drugs Covered✅ Not covered❌
Differences in interprovincial billing Covered✅ Not covered❌
Repatriation costs Covered✅ Not covered❌
Medical appliances (crutches, wheelchairs, casts) Covered✅ Not covered❌

If you only had private insurance, medical treatment may be prolonged until your insurance claim is administered and there is confirmation of your insurance coverage. But, by signing up for public healthcare alongside private insurance, you’ll be more likely to receive any medically necessary treatment in a timely manner.

It’s a government requirement to keep your private insurance policy even after being accepted by provincial healthcare. And having both gives you a wider range of coverage. But here’s the good part…

3. 25% GHIP Refund provided with BestQuote’s MedEC policy

When you purchase a BestQuote MedEC Visitors policy and apply for the (free!) provincial government health insurance plan (GHIP), you will be eligible for a 25% refund on your policy once your enrolment has begun! 

Want to get a quote to find out more details about BestQuote options? Take advantage of the price comparison tool to the right of this article. Compare the BestQuote MedEC policy among other travel insurance options and find the right policy for your visit to Canada!


When you acquire provincial healthcare, you close the coverage gap between your private insurance and provincial healthcare. You also get access to better treatment in your province for free. Plus, (with BestQuote’s MedEC plan), you get the chance to get a significant amount of your original travel insurance money back once you have provincial healthcare. It’s a win-win!

Now you know why you should apply for provincial healthcare to work alongside your private policy. Not sure how to apply for public healthcare? Check out our article Canada Healthcare: Are you Eligible & How to Apply.