Healthy aging Insurance

What to compare when looking at insurance options for retirement (+ printable checklist!)

Choosing your retirement insurance plan is one of the most important decisions you’ll make as you prepare for retirement. When you retire from the education sector in Canada, you’ll have different options for your insurance, including:

  • Group insurance coverage through RTOERO
  • Accessing your spouse’s employer group plan
  • Individual insurance plans
  • Taking no insurance and relying on provincial health coverage alone

We put together a checklist to help you evaluate insurance coverage options for retirement and decide which option is best for you.

Download a printable version of the checklist.

Retiree health insurance comparison shopping checklist

How to evaluate retirement insurance plans overall


  RTOERO Competitor Competitor
Are insurance services and claims totally delivered in Canada? yes
Is the insurance plan non-profit, meaning the premiums are 100% invested in service for members? Yes
Is there guaranteed acceptance for health coverage? Yes*
Does the plan offer single, couple and family coverage? Yes
Can you move freely between coverage options (single, couple, family)? Yes
Are dependent children covered until age 30? Yes
Can dependent children be re-added to the plan if they return to post-secondary education? Yes
Does the plan offer coverage for a surviving spouse for their lifetime? Yes
Can I live anywhere in Canada and retain my coverage? Yes
Do you offer an annual income tax expense letter? Yes


*Guaranteed acceptance within 60 days of termination from a group plan for extended health care and hospital coverage. Permanent guaranteed acceptance for dental.  If you are late in applying for dental coverage, you are limited to $500 per insured person for eligible dental services for the first 12 months. Learn more about our late application process.

Other overall questions

  • What is the member satisfaction rating?
    • RTOERO – 93% of members rate the service and coverage as excellent or very And 98% of members retain the insurance for life.
  • Is the insurance plan categorized as group insurance or individual?
    • RTOERO is group insurance, which is owned and operated by RTOERO members for the benefit of all members.
  • Do members of the insurance plan have a say in coverage?
    • RTOERO’s benefits committee is comprised of RTOERO members who make recommendations on plan changes based on member feedback and usage data.
  • Who owns the plans and what happens to any profits made through the insurance plans?
    • RTOERO is a non-profit organization. The plans are member-owned and run. Any revenue generated through the insurance plans is reinvested back into the organization to benefit members.

How to evaluate extended health care coverage for retirees

  RTOERO Competitor Competitor
Are all prescription drugs covered, including generic and brand names? Yes
Is prescription drug coverage limited to a formulary*, rather than covering all prescriptions? No
Do you require prior authorization or paperwork to be submitted for any prescription drugs? No
Are there maximums for specific categories of medication (e.g. lifestyle medications) No
Is there cataract coverage? Yes
Do you require a doctor’s authorization for paramedical benefits? No
Are there per-visit maximums? No
For aids and appliances, is there a lifetime maximum? No
Do you require prior authorization or paperwork to be submitted for medical aids & appliances? No
Is a medical questionnaire required for travel insurance coverage? No
Can you extend your travel coverage and is it provided by the plan itself? Yes
Is there flexibility for your travel extension, including variable lengths, ending it early, or last-minute extensions? Yes


*Formulary – predetermined list of prescription medications that an insurer will cover, rather than covering all medications with a Drug Identification Number, as RTOERO does.

Other extended health care questions:

  • If you take regularly prescribed medication, ask if the plan covers the Take an inventory of all medications you’re currently using and record the Drug Identification Numbers (DIN) for easy reference.
  • Does the plan include any other value-added services?
  • What is the stability clause for travel?
    • RTOERO requires you to be medically stable 90 days prior to travel.
  • What level of coverage is offered for travel medical emergencies?
    • RTOERO covers members for up to $10 million per person per trip.
  • What coverage is offered for trip cancellation or trip interruption?
    • RTOERO covers members for $6000 per person per trip for cancelled or interrupted trip.

Insurance is just one of the benefits of being an RTOERO member (although it is our most popular benefit!). We have many other perks and services for our members, including our magazine, and our advocacy work. If these things matter to you, make sure to look into what else is included with other plans you’re evaluating.

And of course, you’ll want to look at the total cost of the coverage and benefits you want.

After you’ve done your assessment of the coverage, be sure to ask your friends about their experience with different plans. Peer referrals are a good idea!

Remember, you can always talk to one of our specialists if you have more questions about any of our plans. Email us at [email protected] or call 1-800-361-9888.

Or, you can become a member (if you’re not already) and purchase your plan.