Health Care


Extended health and dental insurance is invaluable, but most professional artists do not have access to health benefits through an employer, which means that they are paying for essential health services out of pocket.

Medical services that many artists use on a regular basis to maintain their physical condition include pharmacology, massage therapy, chiropractics, osteopathy, naturopathy, physiotherapy and dentistry, and these services can be very expensive.


OHIP is Ontario’s health care plan. Through OHIP, the province pays for many of the health services you may need. You need to apply and, once you’re approved, you’ll get an Ontario health card. Your health card proves you’re covered by OHIP – that’s why you’ll need to show it every time you see your doctor, visit an emergency room, have a medical test or go for surgery.

What is covered?

OHIP covers many health services you may need, such as:

  • appointments with your family doctor
  • visits to walk-in clinics and some other health care providers
  • visits to an emergency room
  • medical tests and surgeries

To be covered by OHIP, you must have a medical reason to receive a service or treatment.

Visit the Ontario website for information on how to apply.

Extended Health Care

Many organizations offer private extended health and dental plans. Each organization provides slightly different services, with plans that can be tailored to meet your personal needs and budget. It is important to compare the options before selecting an insurance provider.

As an independant artist, these costs are often at your own expense, but may be eligible as tax deductible expenses.

What may be covered?

  • Prescription drugs: medication prescribed by a doctor
  • Vision care: eyeglasses and contact lenses
  • Paramedical services: chiropractors, naturopaths, podiatrists, etc.
  • Medical services and equipment: private duty nursing, ambulances, crutches, hearing aids, etc.
  • Hospital care: semi-private hospital room in the plan member's province
  • Medi-Passport: out-of-province emergency travel assistance

Organizations with Extended Health Care Programs as part of Membership

Several associations and unions in the arts provide plans, at your own expense, to their members. These organizations are using the buying power of the group of members to offset the costs.

  • Actra Fraternal Benefits Society - insurance benefits and investment services to Canadian performers and screenwriters.
  • Equity - all Equity members in good standing are eligible for some level of insurance benefits.
  • Arts & Entertainment Plan - as a member of over a list of many participating Organization (such as ACTRA Apprentice and Background Performers, Canadian Dance Assembly, Theatre Ontario) or meet the definition of an artist,

Private Health Care Programs

Should one of these plans not be a good fit for you, you can also go with other private plans such as those offered through:

Your bank, insurance agency or post-secondary alumni association may also have options.

Health Insurance when travelling to the USA or Internationally

{more to come}