What Snowbirds Need to Consider when Purchasing Travel Medical Insurance?
Research as many TRAVEL MEDICAL PLANS as possible.
Many Canadian snowbirds travel to the US with only Provincial Canadian health Insurance coverage. Unfortunately it is ridiculously inadequate if you have a medical emergency. As an example a relatively healthy Snowbird went to Florida and had a heart attack. He needed emergency stent placements. The US Hospital and Doctors’ accounts exceeded over $150,000 US. OHIP reimbursed the gentleman less then $1,000 stating that was all they would pay should it have happened in Ontario. As ridiculous as it seems this is a true story which many a Snowbird can attest to.
Suffice it to say, every traveler, whether young or old, should purchase a supplementary Travel medical Insurance policy. It is available from a myriad of private Canadian companies (and some US insurance companies who offer International coverages). Some of the associations such as “The Canadian Snowbird Association” offer a package as does “Snowbird Advisor”. Unfortunately they only offer it from one insurer. Granted the policies are from good companies, but they are not necessarily the best, or the most cost efficient for what your travel goals are.
Here at SnowbirdTravelUSA, we strongly recommend you search the Canadian and US Market. As we have said before everything is fine at the time of purchase. The real battle is when you go to make a claim and suddenly the insurer does not know who you are.
If you do have a problem in collecting go to Snowbirdaccidents.com. There are lots and lots of lawyers on both sides of the border who are more then willing to enforce your contractual rights.
As a purchaser of Travel and Medical insurance there are some strict rules you need to adhere to:
- Every travel insurance company has a lengthly list of events and circumstances they do not cover – check the fine print; For example covid is a real misnomer. Some Insurers will provide coverage providing you are fully vaccinated, or alternatively limit the amount of coverage should you contract it, and or charge you dramatically more for a policy, or just not cover you for it.
- Each policy has strict time periods for when the coverage is available; Travel insurance is only for a specific time period. Claims can only be valid for the time the policy is in force.
- The policy has to be paid in full prior to your trip to be valid;
- All policies have exclusions, most of which surround pre-existing illnesses, injuries and diseases – don’t be fooled; If you have high blood pressure, diabetes, heart, kidney or a myriad of other ailments most Canadian policies exclude you.
- Insurance policies are based on risk – ie., your age and your health. Don’t hide anything. If you make a claim and you were not 100% truthful, your policy might not respond
- There is no such thing as a travel medical policy that provides coverage for everything;
- All policies have strict $ limits and in some instances pay less subject to certain events;
- If you do not fill out the questionnaire honestly, or even mistakenly leave out key facts, you may find you do not have coverage;
- Don’t rely on travel charge cards for travel health insurance. Most are close to useless unless you are trying to get your lost luggage returned.
- See what coverage you might have through your employer. Most companies offer employees some limited benefits that will cover hospitalizations or emergency travel. They are though somewhat restrictive subject to the location of an incident. For example they might cover you for medical incidents in Canada, or the USA, but not Mexico, or Europe.
So what is the moral of the Story? Buyer Beware. Medical and travel policies need to be carefully reviewed prior to purchasing. If a problem arises contact the snowbird helpline – snowbirdaccidents.com