Snowbird FAQs is a forum where we provide answers to some of the most common and interesting questions we receive from Snowbird Advisor members that we feel will be of interest to other members.
I’ve been wondering if I should get the flu shot in Florida rather than the Canadian one since I spend most of the winter down there. Is there a difference?
We consulted with several medical professionals and learned that the flu shot is the same throughout North America – and indeed, in most Western countries. The flu strains that are covered in the shot each year are generally the same everywhere and the efficacy rate varies from year to year depending on how accurate the prediction was as to which strains would be dominant.
There is also an extra strength flu shot now that is recommended for seniors over 65.
While our research indicated that the flu shot is the same across North America, we still suggest you consult with your doctor on this point in case things change.
My husband and I have both just retired and are beginning our snowbird lifestyle. I have heard that we could lose our provincial health insurance coverage if we spend too much time outside Canada.
My question is this: Is there a limit to how long we can be away and still retain our OHIP coverage in Ontario?
Yes, there is a limit in each province for how long you can be away without being at risk of losing your health coverage.
For Ontario residents, you are generally allowed to spend up to 212 days outside the province in any 12 month period and still maintain your provincial health care coverage (there may be exceptions in certain circumstances).
If you plan to spend more than 212 days outside Ontario in a 12 month period, it is best to check with Service Ontario to explain your circumstances and get clarity on whether you will be able to retain your coverage.
Every province has its own rules for how much time you can spend outside your home province and still retain your health care coverage, so snowbirds in other provinces should check with their provincial health ministry for clarification.
You can find a summary of how long you can spend outside each province and still retain your health care coverage here.
On a side note, Canadians snowbirds should also be aware of the limits for how long they can spend in the U.S. without violating U.S. tax and immigration rules.