We assist our clients in determining both their short and long-term health insurance needs.
In the short term, Canadian doctors who move to the US are in the fortunate position of being able to join their employer’s health insurance plan. However, in order to position themselves to be eligible for Medicare, Canadian doctors moving to the US need to do some long-term planning centering around immigration.
Eligibility for Medicare begins at age 65 for US citizens and permanent residents/Green Card holders who have been living in the US for at least five years. Individuals who move to the US under an H-1B visa, which is a typical immigration path for many Canadian doctors, are not automatically eligible to become permanent residents. It is therefore important for Canadian doctors who move to the US under a temporary work visa such as the H-1B to embark on the path to permanent residency as soon as possible. Setting out on this path early on will ensure that Canadian doctors moving to the US are eligible for Medicare upon retirement.
Medicare is important because it provides a cost-effective solution to health insurance coverage later in life. If Medicare-eligible US residents have also earned enough credits to be eligible for US Social Security payments (typically achieved by working in the US for 10 years or by being married to a spouse who has earned enough credits), then they will not have to pay premiums for Part A Medicare benefits, which cover inpatient care at hospitals.
There are also Part B and Part D Medicare premiums. Part B premiums cover outpatient care, such as doctor visits and lab tests, and Part D premiums cover prescription costs. Medigap coverage is also available to supplement Part A coverage. Medigap can be used to cover Medicare deductibles and co-payments and to purchase coverage in addition to Medicare, such as travel insurance.