Health insurance question for Canadians

So while discussing some changes with our supplementary health insurance provider (Son graduated so he’s no longer covered) I discovered a gap in coverage that I had always assumed was taken care of.

We have travel health insurance included in our supplementary coverage but it’s only valid outside Canada. Not all services (although most emergency services) are covered by the inter provincial agreements so there is the potential for a bill for health services if I was travelling to another province.

So I’m curious - how many of you buy travel health insurance and under what circumstances.

I have travel insurance as part of my company’s package. I wouldn’t be surprised if it didn’t cover travel within Canada, but I assume that any differences in coverage from one province to another will be minimal (e.g. I’m not going to get fertility treatments done while I’m on vacation).

I always get travel insurance when going abroad. It’s pretty cheap.

I have travel insurance through work which covers me if I’m out of the country - the difference in coverage between provincial health coverage seems minimal enough that I don’t worry about it. I’m confident that I’m not going to want gender reassignment surgery while travelling to Manitoba, for instance, so the fact that it’s covered here and not there is of pretty limited concern.

I have no supplementary coverage, but I’ll always buy travel insurance if I’m going outside of the country. As has been said, it’s pretty cheap.

Differences in coverage between provinces are minimal, and I can’t think of a reason why I might require separate insurance to visit another province. A visit to the ER in case of accident would be covered in all provinces, as would the procedures within; but I’m not going to need, say, an Ontario doctor’s note stating that my child can attend summer camp (which, IIRC, is not covered under OHIP).

I get it from my (former) employer as part of their generous retirement package. A neighbor who was also a McGill professor had a heart attack while visiting the US. It was going to cost McGill (which acts as a self-insurer on supplementary health insurance) so much that they paid to med-evac him back to Montreal so he could be treated under the provincial plan. It cost about $25K, but I guess it was worth it to them.

Canadians: beware of travel insurance. It can out-horror the worst of U.S. health-insurance horror stories.

The CBC’s Marketplace did a take on it, available here. If you value your health, your bank account and your house, click the link. And hire a lawyer before signing the contract.

I JUST bought some yesterday, as a matter of fact. Going on a Holiday to Vegas this month. :cool:

I used to buy my travel insurance as a separate deal whether from the airlines, or the site I purchase my ticket from. But this year, a friend of mine was telling me all about credit card travel insurance and how most credit cards have travel insurance protection (even for cancellations, lost baggage!!) crazy!! so i started researching, and to my surprise my cc did have this kind of protection and ever since I buy all my tickets with it , earning points , and being insured!! great benefits could be part of your credit card, but the imp thing is to find the right one!

During my research I actually stumbled across this website whichh offers you a tool to compare credit cards (canadian) and to see benefits attached to yours! (

Great tool, try it and let me know what you think!!

Huh - my best friend had to spend 4 weeks in an intensive care unit in Philadelphia due to unexplained liver failure* - her husband had travel insurance through work and even though they made some noises about bringing her home for care, they backed right off when the physicians in Philly said that was a no go, and then promptly paid the entire bill which I think was over $100k.

So, um, yah. I imagine that it’s possible to get a crappy product, but I generally feel pretty confident with my supplemental insurance when I travel.

*It was finally ruled as Acute Fatty Liver of Pregnancy which is severe, and they had trouble nailing it down because her bilirubin level was about 16 which is ridiculously high, even with AFLP.

Canadians travelling inter-provincially are typically not covered for emergency or repatriation medical transportation via land ambulance or medevac aircraft.

So - if you’re going on a ski vacation and you become injured to the extent you can’t travel on commercial airline, and you don’t have a medical insurance policy to cover repatriation, you will be on the hook for the cost of specialty transportation to get you home.

An air ambulance jet with a nurse costs about 3,000 to 4,000 per flight hour.

4 weeks in an ICU in the US was most definitely over $100K. Hell, a same-day surgery is close to 10,000 or more (that’s before you look at the in-network rates, which can knock it down 50-80%). So the total was probably several times that (though hopefully they were able to negotiate it down some).

This is slightly OT, and bear in mind I’m from the US side of things: in general if you are travelling to the US, do you have any coverage for medical bills if you don’t buy this supplementary coverage?

My in-laws live in Florida, and their upstairs neighbors are snowbirds from Quebec (winter in Florida, summer in Quebec); they can spend something like 6 months minus a week down there but if they stay longer they lose their provincial coverage, or something like that. Could they reinstate that if something happened? Like, what if they had an accident a week before they were able to go back north?

Very true!! Again from a US perspective, but a fellow we knew was in France and was hit by a bicyclist - hard enough that he was knocked down, broke his femur, and was in traction for over a month. He was travelling on business so there were no worries about the bills - but he wanted to come home vs. spending a month or more in a hospital there. The alternative offered to him was to spend 20,000 dollars on 4 first-class airline seats; the airline would remove the seats to make room for his stretcher etc. Egad.

He wound up being able to take a military transport home (he worked for a Department of Defense agency), which was a pretty awful trip but at least didn’t cost him 3 months salary.

I always do if and when my coverage provided through work isn’t sufficient.

At my present job I’m covered.

My inlaws spend several months every year in Texas with to see their daughter and grandkids and there are really two separate issues.

  1. While they are in Texas they need to have purchased supplementary insurance in order to cover their medical expenses during their trip.
  2. Provincial medical coverage requires residency and residency is defined as 6 months + 1day. If they are outside the country longer than that they need to apply for reinstatement and that process is typically government and can be long and troublesome. These rules were put in place to deal with people who want to live elsewhere but continue to utilize the medical system in Canada. I’m not sure why it’s an issue since these are mostly retiree’s who aren’t contributing much at this point via taxes anyway but I don’t get to run the country. My daughter is attending a year long program outside the country and she’s filled out some forms in advance that will suspend her coverage and reinstate it immediately upon her return as she is clearly not intending to change her residency so there is at least a process in place if you know in advance.

It varies from from province to province. The feds supply the money but each province runs its own version.