Everyone I speak with is going somewhere in the next few months to get away from the cold and enjoy some R&R. There have been too many stories of people traveling out of Canada, or even out of province and having to deal with a medical issue while away. The Risk Getting medical care out of your home city is expensive. Hospital bills could run over $100,000- ouch! That can ruin any trip. Did you know…..
- OHIP will only cover a very small amount for emergency medical expenses abroad?
- Hospitals in some countries can refuse to treat patients who don’t have the travel coverage or the money to pay for their care?
This is why it is always recommended that you purchase emergency travel insurance. But securing the right kind of medical coverage can mean saving you thousands of dollars in the long run. Already have a group plan with travel coverage? Getting coverage through your credit card? Here are a few things to be aware of since travel insurance guidelines have changed dramatically in the last few years. If you have had any change in your medication, travel insurers are stricter than ever in what they will and will not cover. Here are 3 tips to make sure you have the coverage you need:
1. Secure the right type of travel insurance for your situation. It is best to call the insurer before you travel, ask them:
- what is covered
- what is not covered
- what is their stability clause, which means what is the time period they require you to have had no changes in your medical condition. (Some companies have a 7 day stability clause and some have a 90 day stability clause- that makes a big difference!)
Sometimes all you may need is a doctor’s note stating your medical condition is stable and you are approved for travel. Otherwise, you may need a specialized travel medical plan that covers higher risk situations, instead of relying on standard travel coverage that you get through your group plan or credit card
2. Carry your Travel Insurance Card with you and leave key information with family members at home. Should you need emergency medical attention while away, that is not the time to start looking for your coverage details! As well, make sure to leave a copy with family members not traveling with you, including your itinerary and contact information so they can locate you wherever you are in the world.
3. Set up a Power of Attorney (POA) for healthcare and finances naming at least 2 attorneys. This is a simple but important safeguard, especially if you travel often. It is important to name not only your partner, who usually is traveling with you, but also name another trusted friend or family member who is not traveling with you. Why? If you are abroad with your partner, and need assistance or medical records from home, it will be a lot easier to get the help you need if someone back home is also named POA.
Taking these few precautions doesn’t take a lot of time, but it can make a big difference when traveling abroad this winter season!
Aviva Abraham is a group benefits and insurance advisor at Creative Planning. She has been providing healthcare solutions for self employed and business owners since 2010. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 416-545-5310.