Reviews: Best Health Insurance in Canada – Updated 2023
Our insurance experts share their top picks of Canada’s best health and dental insurance providers so you can shop for the best plan for your specific needs. Our criteria focus on factors like availability of coverage add-ons, coverage options, amount of coverage, and more. We’ll talk about company pros and cons, which companies have the best rates and coverage, and let you know which ones to watch out for.
You’ve seen the ads. They all say they’re the “best” insurance company out there. But is it true? Our team of insurance experts at PolicyAdvisor.com has compiled data and policy information from Canada’s top health insurance companies to find out which one has the best health insurance policy.
Your health matters! Check out our pros and cons list for the health insurance industry’s finest to secure the best policy for you and your family!
What is extended health insurance?
Before we get into the best of the best, let’s back up and make sure you know what we’re talking about.
Private health insurance in Canada works alongside the publicly funded healthcare system to provide additional coverage for services not covered by the government. These health insurance plans can vary in terms of coverage and benefits. They require individuals to pay regular premiums, which can be monthly, quarterly, or annual payments. The cost of these premiums varies depending on factors such as age, health status, the extent of coverage, and the insurance provider (more on that below).
|Extended health insurance can cover:
Reviews of Canadian Health Insurance Companies
PolicyAdvisor.com has painstakingly researched the best health insurance companies in Canada. Over the years, we’ve forged great relationships with these insurance partners so we can bring you a single marketplace to compare and shop for a health insurance policy that works best for your family.
Before you get a quote, check out our review of each health insurance company—because price matters, but so do coverage options, service, company stability, and more.
The best health insurance in Canada in 2023
Best companies overall:
- Best for add-ons: Manulife
- Best for deductible options: GMS
- Best for bundling with other products: Desjardins
- Best for guaranteed acceptance options: Greenshield
- Best for affordability: Sun Life
Best coverage options:
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Multi-product discounts & bundling
Best Insurance for Bundling: Desjardins Insurance
Desjardins is one of Canada’s largest financial institutions and is frequently ranked among the world’s 50 safest banks and financiers.
Love a good twofer? Desjardins is known for their great combo deals. Combine life insurance, disability insurance, critical illness insurance, and health insurance and you’ll get a financial security team that will fully protect your financial future—and for a few bucks less than if you bought them all separately.
These plans are best for younger individuals—those in the sunset years need not apply (especially those looking for a retirement replacement health plan).
- Can be bundled with other products (life insurance, disability insurance, critical illness insurance) for a discount
- “Best Doctor” program (get a second opinion for you and/or extended family)
- Limited term options
- Plans only cover to age 64
- No replacement or guaranteed plans
|Who is Desjardins?
Desjardins offers a large range of financial and insurance services in Canada. Their major focus areas are life and health insurance and wealth management services for individuals, and property and casualty coverage (home insurance). They also offer business services including point-of-sale payments and cash management. Desjardins Insurance operates through a network of financial advisors concentrated in Quebec and Ontario but has a presence across Canada.
Desjardins quick facts
What type of health insurance does Desjardins offer?
What other insurance coverage does Desjardins offer?
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Customization & pre-existing prescription coverage
Best Insurance for Customization: GMS
Maybe you’ve heard of them, or maybe you haven’t. Either way, there’s no denying that GMS offers great coverage for those with pre-existing conditions—they’ll cover your medication prescribed for that condition, whereas other providers may not at all. They have a unique (to Canada) co-pay setup where you pay a set deductible rather than just the remaining percentage of the total cost of the bill.
If you’re someone who likes to plug and play with different package add-ons to meet your needs, GMS health insurance may have a plan for you.
- Enhanced drug plan includes prescriptions for pre-existing conditions up to $800 a year
- Flat deducible (co-pay) rather than a percentage-based coverage ($6 co-pay vs. “70% of coverage listed”)
- Customizable add-ons
- Limited base plan options
|Who is GMS?
GMS, which stands for Group Medical Services, is an insurance provider that began in 1940 in Saskatchewan. It started out as the Regina Mutual Medical Benefit Association and in 1949, merged with Regina Medical Services to become GMS. Since their founding, they’ve stayed local, continuing to be based out of Regina and providing health and medical insurance across Canada.
GMS Quick facts
What type of health insurance does GMS offer?
Personal Health plans include OmniPlan, ExtendaPlan, and BasicPlan.
What other insurance coverage does GMS offer?
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Guaranteed coverage options & multiple plan options
Best Insurance for Guaranteed Acceptance Coverage: Green Shield (SureHealth)
GreenShield (aka SureHealth) has the biggest market share in the health insurance industry—that means they’re the big dogs. They specialize in group health and dental insurance (hence the huge market share), and you may know them if you’ve had an employer health insurance plan.
Greenshield offers multiple plan options so you can customize your health insurance to meet your needs. The biggest bonus is its high coverage limits for services like massage, chiropractic, physiotherapy, psychotherapy, etc.—all those necessary health maintenance services that are important to keep on top of. While not the most competitive in price, Greenshield may have an extended health plan to meet your unique health expense needs.
- Multiple plan options
- Guaranteed options
- Travel coverage: $5 million
- Higher limits for paramedical health services
- Pricing is not as competitive
- Dental insurance is not automatically in basic plans
|Who is GreenShield?
GreenShield is a non-profit health insurance company founded in 1957 in Windsor, Ontario. They provide a wide range of insurance products, policies, and benefits across Canada. They also provide administration services to consumers. As they are a non-profit GreenShield reinvests their revenue into community initiatives across the country, combating a variety of issues such as homelessness, food insecurity, disaster relief, and more.
GreenShield quick facts
Founded in 1957 by pharmacist William Wilkinson to help his community afford medication
Is Canada’s only non-profit health and dental benefits specialist
What type of health insurance does GreenShield offer?
What other insurance coverage does GreenShield offer?
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Flexibility & comprehensive coverage
Best Insurance for Comprehensive Coverage: Manulife
Life changes and your needs change. That’s why it’s good to have options. Manulife offers many health insurance product lines to meet you where you’re at. Whether you’re a fitness-tracking maniac already, a new retiree looking for replacement coverage for your work policy, or just need to look after your teeth, they’ve got you covered.
Manulife is our top choice for health insurance providers simply because of the variety of products they sell—the price isn’t bad either! With all their options available, we’ll bet you can find a plan that suits your needs best!
- Telehealth (virtual doctor) access
- Vitality program
- FollowMe program has great replacement coverage
- Comprehensive paramedical coverage
- Option to choose dental only
- Combo plans available
- Guaranteed plans available
- Travel coverage: $5 million for first 9 days (additional days extra charge)
- Hospital benefits not included
- Travel insurance has $100 deductible
- Can be expensive due to the comprehensive coverage
|Who is Manulife?
Manulife Canada is a subsidiary of Manulife Financial Corporation, a Canada-based multinational insurance company and financial services provider. Manulife has an extensive presence in Southeast Asia and also in the United States, where they operate through their John Hancock insurance provider. They were incorporated in 1887 as the Manufacturers Life Insurance Company and are the second-largest insurance company in Canada.
They offer an extensive range of personal and group insurance and investment plans. Manulife also operates Manulife Bank, which offers chequing and savings accounts, credit cards, and mortgages. They also offer super visa insurance and insurance for visitors to Canada.
Manulife quick facts
What type of health insurance does Manulife offer?
There are also options for DentalPlus and DrugPlus plans if you require more coverage than their combo plans offer.
What other insurance coverage does Manulife offer?
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Best Insurance for Prescription Medication Coverage: Sun Life Financial
We love a good deal—don’t you? Sun Life provides a superior health insurance product at a very competitive price. If you’re a globetrotter, they even have travel insurance coverage for up to 60 days built into their standard and enhanced plans.
If your needs are more than basic, Sun Life might have the best plan for you. More of a Plain Jane or have most of your coverage needs met elsewhere? The bare-bones Sun Life basic plan might be for you!
- Competitive price
- Extensive prescription coverage
- Travel coverage for up to 60 days (standard and enhanced)
- Limited coverage for counseling services
- No travel insurance for basic plans (no option for add-ons)
- No vision insurance for basic plans (no options for add-ons)
|Who is Sun Life?
Sun Life Financial, Inc. is one of the largest life insurance providers in the world, and also one of the oldest, with a history spanning back to 1865. Apart from Canada, they have a presence in the US and in seven Asian markets, including China and India. The Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada offers a wide variety of products across life, health, and other individual insurance such as travel, mortgage, and business owner insurance. They also offer savings and retirement income plans and investment products.
Sun Life quick facts
What type of health insurance does Sun Life offer?
What other insurance coverage does Sun Life offer?
Get a quote for health insurance
If you’re looking for a great price on personal health and dental insurance, PolicyAdvisor can help! We have a team of licensed insurance experts to help you go through health plans from Canada’s best insurance providers. Book a quick call with one of our advisors today and we can determine your health insurance needs.