We assist our clients in determining both their short and long-term health insurance needs.
In the short term, Canadian athletes who move to the US are in the fortunate position of being able to join the health insurance plan offered by their employer, the professional sports organization for which they play. However, in order to position themselves to be eligible for Medicare, Canadian athletes hoping to move to the US on a permanent basis 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. Athletes who initially move to the US under a P-1 or O-1 visa, two typical pathways to the US for Canadian professional athletes, are not automatically eligible to become permanent residents. It is therefore important for Canadian athletes who move to the US under a temporary work visa like the P-1 or O-1 embark on the path to permanent residency as soon as possible. Setting out on this path will ensure that Canadian athletes 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.