The Travel Health Insurance Association of Canada (THIA) is warning Canadian snowbirds and winter vacationers to have proof of private travel health insurance in place before heading south for trips to anywhere in the United States, Mexico, Cuba, the Dominican Republic or elsewhere in the Caribbean this winter.
In an October 2010 press release, THIA reminded travellers that private insurance is essential for all winter destinations. This is particularly true in the U.S. where soaring health costs and uncertainty about health care reform is forcing many economically-stressed hospitals to demand up-front deposits or direct payment arrangements from patients who cannot prove they have insurance coverage.
David Hartman, president of THIA, stated: “The relentless increase in health care costs world-wide makes international travel insurance absolutely essential, even for one-day trips, as provincial health insurance reimbursements for out-of-country medical services don’t come close to covering foreign hospital bills that can total thousands of dollars per day.”
THIA’s suggested travel insurance shopping tips include:
• Don't buy on price alone. Insurance plans differ. All policies need to fit your health profile.
• Read your Policy. Discuss it with your advisor. Examine a plan’s exclusions and limitations: what it
doesn’t cover, as well as what it does.
• Many plans cover pre-existing conditions that are stable and controlled, but you have to understand what
“stable and controlled” means. If you must complete a medical application, do it completely and accurately
and get your doctor's help if you need to.
• Don’t wait to the last minute to buy your insurance. If you need to provide medical information you may want to
consult your doctor or your pharmacist or a family member who knows about your medical history. Leave time to
do this properly.
• If you buy early for a trip you’re taking later on in the year and your health changes in the interim, notify your
• For those with medical conditions, the best way to purchase travel insurance is to deal with a qualified advisor who
deals extensively in travel insurance.
Even with your travel insurance policy in hand, it’s important that before leaving, you understand your own obligations and what you’re required to do if a medical emergency strikes while out-of-country.
THIA is a national organization of travel insurance providers working together for the protection of the travelling Canadian. For more information, visit: www.thiaonline.com.
And to help ensure a worry-free vacation, click here to read the complete list of Sergeant Bob's Travel Safety Tips for CARP members.
The Travel Insurance Program for CARP Members is underwritten by The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company (Manulife Financial). Manulife Financial and the block design are registered service marks and trademarks of The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company and are used by it and its affiliates including Manulife Financial Corporation. Life and health plans offered by The McLennan Group Life Insurance Inc., except for Travel Insurance in Quebec, which is offered by CanAm Insurance Inc. Products may not be available in all provinces.