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Is moving to Canada an option for early retirement?
Old 02-15-2010, 12:08 PM   #1
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Is moving to Canada an option for early retirement?

Currently living in Ohio and have a few years to still work. In planning for FIRE it is evident that health insurance is going to be my biggest monthly expense (will not be covered by an employeer plan). Not sure of the details but I hear a lot about Canada's national health care plan. I am sure there must be rules against this but could somebody from the U.S. moved to Canada for retirement and get free (or very cheap) healthcare?
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Old 02-15-2010, 12:18 PM   #2
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< This is a portion copied from a google answers link. You can see the entire link here: (Google Answers: Retirement in Canada by US citizen) >

Q: What is required, (by either government) of a US citizen and spousewho wish to move to Vancouver,Canada and retire there permanently, andwho can demonstrate a net worth of US$750,000?

A: The Government of Canada provides an excellent website which willanswer most questions:Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC):http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/index.htmlTo immigrate to Canada, you need to fall into one of these groups:1. Skilled Worker Class Immigration2. Business Class Immigration3. Family Class Immigration4. International Adoption5. Provincial Nomination6. Quebec-Selected ImmigrationSince you will be retired, that leaves you with one option, number 3.Do you have any relatives in British Columbia who can sponsor you?Even though you have enough money to support yourself, you will stillneed to be sponsored by a relative."If you wish to become a permanent resident of Canada, your relativeor family member in Canada must first apply to sponsor you."http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/sponsor/index.htmlThere are many advantages to becoming a permanent resident, as youwould have most of the rights that Canadian citizens have under theCanadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (except run for politicaloffice or vote) and that includes Canada's health care system. You canapply for Canadian Citizenship after three years, but it is notmandatory, and, it is not necessary to give up your US citizenship -you will find many people who have "dual-citizenship", enjoying thebest of both worlds."The Permanent Resident Card (PR Card) is a new, wallet-sized, plasticcard. People who have completed the Canadian immigration process andhave obtained permanent resident status, but are not Canadian citizenscan apply for the Card."http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/pr-card/index.htmlSo, to summarize, if you'd like to immigrate to Canada, the first stepis to find a relative who is willing to sponsor you as a member of the"Family Class". The relative can be a son or daughter, brother orsister, nephews or nieces, grandsons or granddaughters (if orphaned,under 18 and unmarried) and aunt or uncle if unmarried.You will find a Guide and Applications here:http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/applications/family.htmlHowever, you do not need to immigrate to live in Canada. It is notunusual for American citizens to own property in Canada and spend agood part of the year there. The best thing to do would be to go toboth the Canadian and American Consulates nearest you and getup-to-date information tailored to your situation (you might need toapply for a Visa for stays of more than 180 days).One of the main considerations is health care and if you aren't ableto immigrate than you will have to carry your own health insurance tocover any medical costs. If you have US$750,000 (you're a millionairein Canadian funds!) plus a pension and Social Security, you should beable to live comfortably (although Vancouver is one of the moreexpensive places to live in Canada).Additional Links:An American's Guide to Canada:http://www.icomm.ca/emily/american.htmlIRS: FAQ:http://www.irs.gov/faqs/page/0,,id=15934,00.htmlTips for Travelers to Canada:http://travel.state.gov/tips_canada.htmlIf you would like more information or if you are not satisfied withwhat I have provided, please let me know before rating this answer,and I will be happy to respond to your request. In that case, pleaseinclude a bit more of your circumstances - most importantly, are youplanning on applying for immigration? It's hard for me to go anyfurther without having more details on hand.On a personal note, if I don't hear from you again, I would like towish you well in your new home. You'll grow to love Canada, itsquirkiness and all.
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Old 02-15-2010, 12:20 PM   #3
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This has been discussed before. As you might imagine, there's a quid pro quo. In other words, it would be nice if people wanting to avail of Canadian healthcare (especially in those expensive later years) contributed to Canadian taxes over a period of time. (I've paid my dues in both skills and taxes over 20+ years). So there are criteria for successful immigration applications, just as there are in the US, and they include bringing in-demand skills or entrepreneurship, or joining existing family members here. Temporary residence here, such as study, requires that a person purchase health insurance.

You can find out more at Immigrating to Canada
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Old 02-15-2010, 12:22 PM   #4
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Temporary residence here, such as study, requires that a person purchase health insurance.
Interesting. Do you know if there is any medical underwriting or pre-existing condition exclusions for this type of purchased health insurance in Canada?
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Old 02-15-2010, 12:27 PM   #5
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What happens if you are an illegal from Mexico working in Canada?
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Old 02-15-2010, 12:31 PM   #6
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Interesting. Do you know if there is any medical underwriting or pre-existing condition exclusions for this type of purchased health insurance in Canada?
Well, of course there is, because these are private insurance companies and they want to make money. Here are some examples:
Canada Travel Insurance, Visitors Insurance, Travel Medical Insurance, Travel Health Insurance
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Old 02-15-2010, 12:32 PM   #7
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So there are criteria for successful immigration applications, just as there are in the US,
The main requirement for immigration to the US is that you be able to wade, or survive hot walks in the desert.


Ha
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Old 02-15-2010, 12:32 PM   #8
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As you might imagine, there's a quid pro quo. In other words, it would be nice if people wanting to avail of Canadian healthcare (especially in those expensive later years) contributed to Canadian taxes over a period of time. (I've paid my dues in both skills and taxes over 20+ years).
A number of European countries have started to clamp down on eligibility for cheap national healthcare insurance exactly for that reason.
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Old 02-15-2010, 12:51 PM   #9
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Looks more complicated than I thought. Canada is such a huge country with relatively little people you would think they would be more "open" to people moving there.
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Old 02-15-2010, 03:37 PM   #10
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Canada is such a huge country with relatively little people you would think they would be more "open" to people moving there.
But the problem is that this only "adds value" to the Canadian economy if they are sure you'll be a productive part of the economy and will not be a net drain on the social safety net.

This would presumably mean either a job waiting for you in an industry where they are looking to grow and increase the job base, or else being so independently wealthy that you will need neither a job nor any public assistance. And not just any job -- probably jobs for which there aren't enough skilled Canadians to fit the demand. I would be peeved if I was a citizen of a country which had a lot of unemployed people qualified for Job X and they let others in to take the jobs in X.

That is largely true with many national immigration policies. As long as there are social safety nets and existing citizens still looking for work, unrestricted immigration is not workable.
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Old 02-15-2010, 03:51 PM   #11
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Looks more complicated than I thought. Canada is such a huge country with relatively little people you would think they would be more "open" to people moving there.
If you would like to teach in Iqaluit, nurse in Nunavut, or invest in Nunavik, you would be welcome to fill up the empty space!
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Old 02-15-2010, 03:52 PM   #12
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A number of European countries have started to clamp down on eligibility for cheap national healthcare insurance exactly for that reason.
Last summer while I was in England I visited with my Aunt who was over from Australia and she was shocked that when she had gone down with the flu and visited the doctor that she had been charged 75 pounds. That is relatively a new practice. I remember once when we were visiting about 15 years ago and one of the children got sick so we took him to the doctors and we offered to pay as we had insurance and knew we could claim it back but were politely declined.

Since we have dual nationality we are eligible to return and live in England but are not eligible for health care for 6 months, even though we paid UK taxes until we were age 37 and will be claiming UK SS, whether or not we return and live there. (I'm absolutely fine with this arrangement, it just underlines the new reality of health costs )
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Old 02-15-2010, 04:07 PM   #13
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Last summer while I was in England I visited with my Aunt who was over from Australia and she was shocked that when she had gone down with the flu and visited the doctor that she had been charged 75 pounds. That is relatively a new practice. I remember once when we were visiting about 15 years ago and one of the children got sick so we took him to the doctors and we offered to pay as we had insurance and knew we could claim it back but were politely declined.

Since we have dual nationality we are eligible to return and live in England but are not eligible for health care for 6 months, even though we paid UK taxes until we were age 37 and will be claiming UK SS, whether or not we return and live there. (I'm absolutely fine with this arrangement, it just underlines the new reality of health costs )
I am surprised that your Aunt was shocked. The fact is, no health system can subsidize freebies any more. Loopholes are being tightened everywhere, including the UK's NHS, which has undergone a major "lean" exercise in recent years. Unpaid bills would have been eliminated as "waste".

A British friend of mine was visited in the US by his father, who promptly had a heart attack and needed a bypass. That was $50K (a decade ago) and the payment was courteously accepted. Luckily he had comprehensive insurance!

I can also tell you that daily hospital charges in Canada are higher for nonresidents. The provincial estimates for local citizens are based on historical funding patterns which do not reflect the true cost of providing care. The nonresident bills are not gouging, but reflect current costs. And when people come here for specialized care that is not available in their own countries (yes, it does happen!) they are obliged to pay for the services they receive. Sometimes a charitable foundation in their own country takes up the cause.
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Old 02-15-2010, 04:23 PM   #14
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I am surprised that your Aunt was shocked. The fact is, no health system can subsidize freebies any more. Loopholes are being tightened everywhere, including the UK's NHS, which has undergone a major "lean" exercise in recent years. Unpaid bills would have been eliminated as "waste".

A British friend of mine was visited in the US by his father, who promptly had a heart attack and needed a bypass. That was $50K (a decade ago) and the payment was courteously accepted. Luckily he had comprehensive insurance!

I can also tell you that daily hospital charges in Canada are higher for nonresidents. The provincial estimates for local citizens are based on historical funding patterns which do not reflect the true cost of providing care. The nonresident bills are not gouging, but reflect current costs. And when people come here for specialized care that is not available in their own countries (yes, it does happen!) they are obliged to pay for the services they receive. Sometimes a charitable foundation in their own country takes up the cause.
She was shocked because she was 78 years old and this was only the 2nd time she had ever left Australia since emigrating there in 1969. She had not realized that these days she needed health insurance when visiting England, which had not been the case the only other time she had come back to England for a visit.

I am completely in agreement with you that non-resident fees should be higher than resident fees and that they are not gouging - no arguments there
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Old 02-15-2010, 04:50 PM   #15
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Since we have dual nationality we are eligible to return and live in England but are not eligible for health care for 6 months, even though we paid UK taxes until we were age 37 and will be claiming UK SS, whether or not we return and live there. (I'm absolutely fine with this arrangement, it just underlines the new reality of health costs )
I also maintain citizenship in a European country (not England though). If I were to go back permanently, even as a citizen, I too would be ineligible for national health care coverage for the first 6 months. There is a way around that: I can pay full premiums right now and it would make me eligible for health coverage immediately upon return. It would however costs about 300 euros per month until I returned and I would have to pay a one-time penalty of around 8,000 euros just to get back into the system.
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Old 02-15-2010, 07:55 PM   #16
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But the problem is that this only "adds value" to the Canadian economy if they are sure you'll be a productive part of the economy and will not be a net drain on the social safety net.

This would presumably mean either a job waiting for you in an industry where they are looking to grow and increase the job base, or else being so independently wealthy that you will need neither a job nor any public assistance. And not just any job -- probably jobs for which there aren't enough skilled Canadians to fit the demand. I would be peeved if I was a citizen of a country which had a lot of unemployed people qualified for Job X and they let others in to take the jobs in X.

That is largely true with many national immigration policies. As long as there are social safety nets and existing citizens still looking for work, unrestricted immigration is not workable.
I would be retired so I wouldn't be taking anybody's job. I would however be spending all of my money there so that would help the economy. Perhaps not enough to pay for my health care though?
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Old 02-15-2010, 08:40 PM   #17
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Since we have dual nationality we are eligible to return and live in England but are not eligible for health care for 6 months, even though we paid UK taxes until we were age 37 and will be claiming UK SS, whether or not we return and live there. (I'm absolutely fine with this arrangement, it just underlines the new reality of health costs )
Actually, I think you would be eligible right away, providing you could show that you were resuming permanent residence, see http://tinyurl.com/qr5tby

(You need to click the link in the sidebar labeled "are you coming to the UK to live" to get to the specific ruling.)

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Old 02-15-2010, 09:27 PM   #18
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Actually, I think you would be eligible right away, providing you could show that you were resuming permanent residence, see http://tinyurl.com/qr5tby

(You need to click the link in the sidebar labeled "are you coming to the UK to live" to get to the specific ruling.)

Peter
Cool - thanks for the info. All being well we'd much prefer to stay here close to our kids but it's nice to know we have an escape route if disaster happens.
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Old 02-17-2010, 12:26 AM   #19
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Is moving to Canada an option for early retirement?
Short answer, No.
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Old 02-17-2010, 07:00 AM   #20
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What happens if you are an illegal from Mexico working in Canada?
I've never seen an illegal from Mexico in Canada and I've lived here for 40 years. If there were any illegals, they'd be from either China or east India. Come to think of it, I've only met 2 Mexican people here in Canada period.
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