No matter where you go, take travel insurance with you.
With so much natural beauty and adventure to offer, travel within Canada is brimming with bucket-list-worthy vacation destinations and opportunities to make lifelong memories. Even though your holiday plans may not take you beyond Canadian borders, travel insurance is important to ensure peace of mind for a smooth and uncomplicated getaway.
Sometimes, despite careful planning and preparation before a vacation, it’s true that anything can happen while you are away, and it helps to have a safety net in place for when unexpected disturbances arise.
Understanding Inter-Provincial Health Care for Canadian Travellers.
A feature of Canada’s universal healthcare system is that everyone has access to primary medical care everywhere across the country. By showing their provincial health card, travelers seeking medical services outside their home province will have access to similar care covered in the visiting province. The Canada Health Act includes a portability criterion that ensures Canadians traveling within the country retain their provincial health insurance coverage without disruption. A bilateral reciprocal billing agreement between the provinces and territories means that health cards are accepted in lieu of payment for out-of-province health medical services.
While inter-provincial health care is a major benefit for Canadian travelers, there are some instances where a health or medical charge is not covered under provincial health care. Depending on the services required, the costs of uninsured care can be high and non-reimbursable, making travel insurance a very inviting solution.
Some services are only partially reimbursed by OHIP.
Provincial health insurance plans may only provide coverage for specific services when visiting a different province or territory. Services covered in part or in-full will vary depending on the particular provincial coverages. For instance, some provinces do not provide ambulance transportation coverage–even in emergencies. Once travelers return home, they will be expected to pay out-of-pocket for critical ambulance services rendered while traveling in other provinces.
Some areas that OHIP does not cover.
Travel insurance is an excellent tool for filling in the gaps in provincial healthcare coverage. The following services are not covered elsewhere in Canada under Ontario’s Health Insurance Plan:
- Prescription drugs provided in non-hospital settings.
- Dental services.
- Ambulance transportation.
- Home-care services.
- Private or semi-private hospital accommodation.
- Prescribed medical accessories or assistive devices.
Private travel insurance can protect you from incurring enormous, unforeseen healthcare costs in case of an accident or sudden illness. While provincial coverage is undoubtedly a benefit most Canadians are happy to have, the Travel Industry Council of Ontario (TICO) highly recommends that travelers purchase travel protection to handle any incidental, accidental, or emergency expenses.
Be a savvy traveller.
While no one plans a vacation with the expectation that accidents, disasters, or illness will be the determining factor, it helps to be a savvy traveler and make provisions for situations beyond your control. Travel insurance is a proactive measure you can take to put yourself in an excellent position to handle unexpected emergency costs. In the event of an accident or sudden illness, having access to a team of professionals ready to help you navigate a difficult situation can be very assuring.
Here are a few things worth considering this summer:
- Check the provisions and wording of your policy and ask your carrier the necessary questions before assuming you have complete coverage.
- Determine whether you have a maximum cap on medical coverage for emergencies through your plan.
- If you are hospitalized for any length of time, be aware of the transportation costs for bringing your loved ones to you or returning your children home to be cared for.
- It is imperative to keep your provincial health card with you when traveling – it is proof that you are insured by your provincial plan. Make sure it is valid and up to date with your current information.
Whether your travel plans take you to international or domestic destinations, travel insurance is an excellent way for you to hope for the best and prepare for the worst. You can have complete peace of mind during your vacation that you have done everything to ensure safe, smart, and secure travel for yourself and your loved ones.
Check out this blog about critically examining your coverage and ensuring you have the proper safety nets in place.