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Travel Health Insurance for Canadians

Canada is an awesome place to live! Our healthcare system is fan-freakin-tastic!

As a nurse, I know full well the many flaws in our health care system.

I have worked as a Nurse in both rural and urban settings. I have worked with fantastic co-workers and not so fantastic co-workers but overall I would say that majority of them care immensely about their work and their patients and want the best for their patients!


In less than 90 days, my family is about to embark on a journey to see what the healthcare system looks like for those living in West Africa and what it looks like for a healthcare team on a ship filled with people from over 50 different countries. All collaborating together with their many different cultures and languages!



Now in order to be able to do this, we need health and travel insurance. We have done a bit of shopping around and there have been prices anywhere from $300-$600/month which includes coverage for COVID. Unfortunately, it is a necessity to get COVID health insurance at this point in time. Insurance is one of those things that we all hate to pay but when we need it, we are very thankful that it is available. Nobody plans to get sick or get injured and no matter how much we wash our hands, there are germs everywhere. I never really thought about this until COVID. I even learned that when you travel between provinces, there might be a requirement for extra travel and health insurance.

There will be fewer people travelling in the near future because of COVID and it's variants but we are all anxious to travel again soon. So, now is the time to plan for when we finally get to take those long awaited vacations again!


Here are some factors to consider when you are comparing different health insurance plans.

Do you want coverage for these factors?:


  • Pre-existing medical conditions: This could be “something that happened (or started to happen) before you were insured.” Check with your insurance provider before you travel because some policies may cover claims relating to pre-existing conditions that are “stable and controlled.” Don't try to hide your pre-existing condition, because you don't want the insurance company to have a reason to not cover your condition because you didn't disclose it ahead of time. One travel insurance company, may not cover your condition but there will be another company that likely will, although you may have to pay a higher premium for coverage.

  • Flight cancellation, trip interruption, lost luggage, and document replacement

  • Medical evacuation: Ensure the policy covers medical evacuation to the nearest hospital and/or to Canada, as well as the costs of a medical escort to accompany you to your final destination.

  • Coverage for ambulance fees or hospital transfer for when you’re travelling out-of-province in Canada

  • Repatriation in case of death: Not to be morbid but please ensure that your plan covers the preparation and return of your remains to Canada.

  • Coverage for Covid-19 (medical and trip cancellation expenses). Some companies will not cover COVID because it is considered a "known event."

  • Coverage for Virtual Medical Assistance: Some travel insurance companies provide a 24/7 emergency services number where phone appointments with doctors or virtual medical assistance services are available. This would mean not having to go into a hospital unnecessarily.

  • Coverage with a minimum of $1M payable: The recommended amount is at least 1 Million dollars.

(https://www.skyscanner.ca/tips-and-inspiration/travel-insurance-canada#:~:text=The%20key%20things%20you%20would,cancellation%20and%20missed%20departure%20coverage.)


Before you Travel, Remember:

To make sure that you are covered under your provincial government’s health insurance plan. It's good to know what is covered under Alberta Health Care and for how long. Double check if you are a snowbird or leaving for work or Mission purposes, to see what the timeframe is that you can be gone for and still have provincial coverage.








# 2.

And as always before any trip, make sure that your passport isn’t due for renewal. How many times have people checked their passport just before leaving on their trip, only to realize that it's up for renewal while they plan to be away! Scary stuff!





Other Insurance Options:


"Many Canadian airlines, including Air Canada, WestJet, and Air Transat, are currently offering complimentary travel medical insurance on eligible round-trip flights during the Covid-19 pandemic–most up to 21 days."

Another place to look, might be whether your credit card company already covers additional benefits when travelling. Read the fine print and find out! Maybe you already have coverage and don't need to pay for extra coverage.

Additional benefits may include:

  • Trip cancellation for non-refundable monetary losses

  • Trip interruption

  • Baggage loss, rental car damage, out-of-pocket expenses

  • Accidental death and dismemberment


Extras:

Every traveler has a different intention for their travel, whether that be seeking adventure, visiting family or desiring relaxation. If you are intending to be adventurous, you may need extra insurance to cover those extra activities like sky diving or para-sailing. Also, if there is an insurance company that covers those risks, do you want to pay the extra insurance premiums for those riskier activities?

"Every travel insurance policy is different and what’s covered depends on how much you’re willing to pay for coverage."

Can I extend travel insurance while abroad?

Make sure to check with your travel insurance provider before embarking on a trip. Not all companies allow you to extend your insurance policy after you’ve left the country so you may have to come back to your home country first within a certain time frame. Like for example, within a year. Also, if you are going on an extended trip, make sure that you inform your provincial health insurance what dates you intend to be away for.

A lot of companies will not cover you during the time period when you return back in your home province.(https://www.greedyrates.ca/blog/the-best-travel-insurance-in-canada/ )


Remember that you need travel insurance when travelling to the USA

“A simple day-trip to the United States without insurance could end up being very costly."

"According to a recent study by the Travel Health Insurance Association of Canada, 13% of Canadians aren’t sure if they have travel insurance before they go on vacation, and of those who have bought insurance, 17% don’t know what their policy covers."


In the book: Quit like a Millionaire, Kristy Shen and Bryce Leung mention that travelling to the the US requires the most health care coverage and travel insurance because it is significantly more costly to be sick or injured in the USA compared to other places in the world.


Reading about insurance policies is super boring so I like to make it more fun and make it more like a shopping experience. I like to ask myself,

"What kind of coverage do I need and who's offering the best deal?"

Now Go and Be Intentional!

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