My own experience with Canadian health

November 09, 2012

Stowe Today

To the Editor:

I have been asked by many of my American friends and associates to provide information about the medical services available to Canadians who are both covered under the country-wide federal plan and under a company private plan.

As a former Quebecer, now married to an American citizen and a permanent resident of the U.S., I am no longer covered by the benefits package, which, I, as a small-business owner, obtained for my own company. Details of this plan are included in this letter.

Some history: Canada, since the mid-1960s, has benefited from a universal health-care plan. This covers every Canadian for all medical needs: hospitalization, doctors’ fees, etc. This is paid for by each citizen via his or her taxes.

If an employee elects to be covered by their company drug plan as part of the overall benefits package, the annual cost for adults under the Quebec government plan of $589 per annum is then no longer applicable. Children are free under the government plan. If an employee wishes, they may also apply the $589 toward their company group plan to obtain broader coverage.

This Quebec plan complements the existing federal government Medicare plan and was introduced in 1997.

My own company’s plan covers medical, dental bills, critical illness, long-term disability, dependent life insurance, employee accidental-death life insurance and employee life insurance.

In Canada, most employers agree to cover 50 percent of the group insurance plan, leaving the cost of each single employee to be between $15 and $20 weekly. A family plan costs an employee $35 to $60 weekly.

Canadians do pay a high tax for their Medicare benefits, but most agree that, given the possibility of minor or major medical needs, it is worthwhile to do so.

My own personal experience and that of my employees has been that care, when required, was delivered in a timely manner and with care and attention that did credit to the medical professionals concerned.

I have not experienced long delays in waiting for treatment. On the contrary.

I have found the same level of care here, in Vermont. However, now under my husband’s VACE plan, the cost is $556 per month with a great deal less coverage than the above plan(s). The deductible in this case for medical service is $5,950 for each person on the policy.

Lesley Rust, Stowe