The COVID-19 pandemic is causing many to lose their jobs, quit, or switch careers as they re-evaluate work and what’s important. In fact, one in five Canadian workers are actively seeking new jobs.* Some are calling it the “Great Resignation.” But as many people leave their jobs, what’s their plan for health insurance?
Are you retiring, changing jobs, or striking out on your own? It’s likely that if your job ends, your health coverage ends too. Under most group plans, you’re insured only if you’re employed.
Whatever the situation, you likely have a few options for health benefits to consider. To help, we’ll answer these top questions:
- How long do you have health insurance after leaving a job?
- What happens to your health benefits after leaving a job?
- Can you rely on provincial coverage for your health-care costs?
- What happens to your workplace disability, critical illness and life insurance when you quit?
- Get your insurance in order with one of these 4 options
How long do you have health insurance after leaving a job?
If you’re leaving your job because of a lay off, your benefits may continue for a few weeks. In some cases, you can get individual coverage to replace your group insurance.
What happens to your health benefits after leaving a job?
Even if it’s your decision to leave, you may be able to replace your health benefits. How? Start by checking with your benefits provider to see if you can switch from your group plan to an individual plan.
You may be able to include your spouse and dependent children in your new plan, as long as:
- they were covered under the group plan with the company you’re leaving, and
- you sign up as soon as your group coverage lapses (to avoid gaps in coverage; depending on the product selected).
Note: Terms and conditions vary among insurance providers. You must be a Canadian resident covered under provincial health insurance.
Are you leaving your job with Sun Life benefits?
Can you rely on provincial coverage for your health-care costs?
As Canadians, we benefit from insurance coverage through our provincial governments. However, government insurance doesn’t cover many medical expenses included in a group or individual health and dental plan.
Health-care costs vary from province to province; however most provinces don’t cover:
- Routine eye exams for those aged 19-64.
- Glasses or contact lenses.
- Prescription drugs outside a hospital setting.
- Acupuncture, physiotherapists, naturopaths and nutritionists.
- Regular dental services, orthodontia and dentures.**
- Anything other than a standard wardroom in a hospital.
Note: All residents of Quebec must be covered by prescription drug insurance through the Régie de l'Assurance Maladie du Québec (RAMQ) or through group benefits plans. An individual plan does not replace a group plan. You cannot opt out of RAMQ because you have an individual plan. In British Columbia, provincial health care coverage is optional; however, applicants to Health Coverage Choice (HCC) must have BC provincial coverage to be eligible.
Not having additional health benefits means expenses can quickly add up for things like:
- prescription drugs,
- para-health services (such as physiotherapy),
- medical equipment, and
- in-home nursing.
That’s where supplementary health insurance can come in.
What happens to your workplace disability, critical illness and life insurance when you quit?
When you leave your employer, all of your insurance coverage likely ends. Think carefully about continuing some of the other kinds of coverage you may currently have, like:
This is particularly important if you work for yourself and don’t have a supplementary group plan.
Get your insurance in order with one of these 4 options
- Use our life insurance calculator and critical illness insurance calculator to see how much protection you may need.
- Apply for life or personal health insurance online with Sun Life Go insurance. Get a free insurance quote.
- If you’re leaving a workplace insurance plan with any Canadian insurance company, you can apply*** for Sun Life Choices insurance within 60 days. Apply for Choices insurance.
- Talk to a Sun Life advisor who can help you understand your options. Find an advisor
- How to continue your health insurance after leaving a job
- What are your options for workplace savings when changing your employer or retiring?
- Do you have enough health insurance?
*Source: Ceridian’s Pulse of Talent Report, 2022.
**RAMQ pays for dental check-ups and basic dentistry for children 10 and under.
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.