After being home-bound for two or more years as a result of COVID-19 restrictions, many Canadians are travelling again, as the restrictions are eased. However, COVID-19 is still prevalent around the world and is a significant factor in the long lineups at airports, flight delays, and flight cancellations. Now more than ever, travel medical insurance is essential, whenever you leave your home province.
Before you leave home, carefully read and understand your provincial health plan and any travel medical coverage you have, such as individual medical insurance policies, group plans, or insurance associated with a credit card. Understand your coverage, limitations, conditions, and exclusions. Wording in travel medical policies is constantly being updated and changed.
Travelling within Canada
Canadians travelling in Canada are not automatically covered under their home province’s medical plan. Historically, provinces have helped to pay for unexpected medical services for residents travelling within Canada, to the maximum paid for the same services received at home. That might no longer apply when you travel outside the province where you live.
We strongly advise that you purchase separate travel insurance, even if you are travelling within Canada. Equally important, you must purchase this insurance in the province where you reside. For example, if you live in BC and travel to Alberta, you must purchase your travel medical coverage in BC before you leave.
Do not rely on your provincial medical plan to pay for your medical costs when you are travelling outside your home province, even within Canada.
Travelling outside Canada
While you are travelling outside of Canada, your provincial medical plan coverage is extremely limited and pays very few medical expenses you may incur. On average, only five to ten percent of out-of-country health care expenses are paid by a provincial medical plan. In most cases, you must first pay the entire medical costs yourself and then submit a claim to your provincial medical plan for reimbursement of whatever portion is covered.
Always purchase additional travel medical insurance whenever you travel outside your province. Read the wording of the coverage not only in the insurance you purchase, but also in your provincial plan, and be fully aware of the coverage, limits, conditions, and exclusions.
COVID-19 medical insurance
Canada no longer issues many travel advisories because of COVID-19. Do your research well in advance of your scheduled travel date, because some countries require proof that you are fully immunized against COVID prior to entry.
Many insurers offer stand-alone COVID-19 policies and we strongly advise that you purchase this additional insurance that works in conjunction with a standard travel medical policy. This additional insurance provides coverage should you test positive for COVID-19 and cannot return home until after the required quarantine period. For example, if you test positive for COVID-19 at the airport and are required to quarantine at a hotel, resulting in your missing your flight, your COVID-19 insurance will cover the costs of quarantine and the next available flight home once you are able to travel again. However, please be sure you fully understand the limitations and exclusions of the policy. The COVID-19 coverage is very specific and covers losses arising from sudden and unforeseeable circumstances related only to COVID-19.
All-inclusive travel insurance that may cover expenses such as emergency medical and dental; trip cancellation, interruption, or delay; baggage delays and loss; and flight and travel accidents, may cover COVID-19 and airport delays. Again, read your policy and understand the coverage.
Your Murrick Group insurance agent can help you select the appropriate travel insurance for your specific needs. We offer a range of travel insurance including Super Visas, COVID-19 insurance, and all-inclusive plans. We can also help you with COVID-19 immunization documentation that is required by certain countries. Please call us before you travel.