Travel medical insurance continues to be very important for Canadians traveling outside of their home province. If you are traveling outside of your home province, consider these tips:
- Find out if your group benefits plan includes travel medical insurance.
Check your employee benefits booklet, ask your plan administrator, or call The Benefits Trust. If your group benefits plan does not include travel medical insurance, there are a lot of other resources available to Canadians. Contact an independent insurer like Expert Travel Financial Security (etfsinc.com) or Travel Underwriters (travelunderwriters.com); CAA and other member associations may offer this coverage; or ask your travel agent.
- Check the terms and conditions of your travel insurance plan.
Individual or personal travel insurance plans, and group travel insurance through an employer’s benefits plan, can be different. The duration of coverage can vary a lot, from just a few days, up to 60 days of travel or more. Individual plans may have restrictions for pre-existing conditions, while group travel insurance through an employer’s plan generally won’t have pre-existing condition limitations. Review the policy or booklet for your travel medical insurance, or contact the insurance company with questions.
- Make sure you have a travel assist card.
When your group benefits plan includes travel medical insurance, you should be given a travel assist card with toll free or collect call phone numbers. If you have a sudden, unexpected medical emergency while traveling, these emergency phone numbers give immediate access to the travel assist service provider. Ask your plan administrator for a card if you don’t have one, or can’t find it.
- Take your travel assist card with you.
When you travel outside your home province, it’s a good idea to make copies of the travel assist card. Put copies in suitcases, carry-on bags, backpacks, or purses. If one item is lost in transit, you still need to have a copy of these important phone numbers in case of a medical emergency. We also suggest emailing the information or a scan of the card to yourself. Use a web-based email so you can access it from anywhere.
- Don’t wait until you get home to open a claim.
If you have a sudden, unexpected illness or injury while traveling, all travel insurers recommend that you call at the time of incident, or as soon as possible. Travel assist services can help with a wide range of issues including translation of foreign language, emergency transportation home if medically required, and may even guarantee payment to a hospital or service provider. It’s best to call as soon as you can so you can access these services.
If you have any questions about the coverage included in your employee benefits plan, please contact us by phone, fax, or email.
(Photo Courtesy of: Paula Reedyk)
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