Whether it’s a week-long trip to Dominican Republic or just a day’s jaunt across the border to the US for shopping, it is important for Canadians travelling outside of their home province to make sure they have travel medical insurance. That way you won’t have to worry about coverage, should you suffer from a medical emergency while abroad.
Check if the Benefits Plan Provided by Your Employer Includes Travel Insurance
Your first step should be to find out if your benefits plan includes travel medical insurance or “out of province” coverage. This is as simple as looking through your employee booklet or calling your benefits administrator (click here to contact The Benefits Trust).
Group Travel Insurance is Different from Personal Travel Insurance
You may hear stories in the news about people returning from vacation having incurred large medical bills abroad, only to find out that they’re not covered by their insurance because of a pre-existing condition. This is typically only a concern for individual or personal travel insurance.
The group travel insurance that you have through your employer’s benefit plan does not have the same kinds of pre-existing condition limitations. You should always access your group travel insurance if you are covered. With group travel insurance coverage under an employer’s plan, you are covered 24/7, and there’s no need to advise the insurer or The Benefits Trust before travelling.
Have Your Travel Assist Card with You – Even for Day Trips
If your group benefits plan includes travel insurance, you should have a travel assist card with phone numbers to call in case of emergency when travelling. If you don’t have a card, or can’t find it, ask your plan administrator for a new one. Then take it with you on every trip out of the province, no matter how brief. Take copies of the card to tuck into luggage, a purse, or a backpack, or snap a picture of the card with your smartphone, so you can always access the information.
Contact Your Benefits Provider Immediately if You Require Medical Attention While Abroad
If you need medical services when you’re out of province, do not wait until you’re back in the province to contact your insurance provider. Call the number on your travel assist card as soon as possible, particularly if you need extensive treatment or are admitted to hospital. Your travel insurance can guarantee payment to the hospital so that you won’t need to provide your credit card.
For Ontarians, OHIP covers you for out of province medical expenses up to the same amount that they would have paid for those services in Ontario. If you call your emergency medical travel insurance first, they will coordinate with OHIP to ensure that all costs are covered appropriately. Not to mention, calling your travel insurance first will save you a lot of paperwork!
Consult the Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Website for Travel Advisories
Your Canadian emergency medical travel insurance will cover you worldwide, except in countries where the Canadian government has issued travel advisories. These are typically issued for regions that are considered dangerous, such as areas that are experiencing wars or upheaval.
You can find the Canadian travel advice and advisories here.
Be prepared for medical emergencies while travelling, and travel stress-free knowing that you will be covered if you need it.
>> The Benefits Trust can help you understand your travel coverage, and provide you with your travel assist policy number if needed. Contact us if you have questions, before you go away!
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