As we approach year-end, many Canadians are planning for trips abroad to escape some of our winter weather and for holiday trips to other parts of Canada. So for the next couple of blogs, I am going to point out some issues and considerations of which people need to be aware. I will start with travel within Canada but outside your Province or Territory of residence.
Many people are under the very mistaken belief that they are fully covered for accidents and illness by their own Provincial/Territorial medical plans – nothing could be further than the truth! While not well publicised, your Provincial/Territorial plan ONLY covers what your home province would pay to their own healthcare providers – NOT what another jurisdication might pay to their providers.
Maybe an example would help here. In Province A, the fee paid to a hospital for admitting someone to an Emergency Ward is $800.00, the fee paid for taking x-rays of a broken arm and having the x-rays read by a radiologist is $400.00 and then applying a cast, using necessary anesthetic results in a payment of $500.00 – total amount paid to the healthcare facility is $1,700.00. If this is your home Province or Territory, you don’t pay anything (although some jurisdictions now have a user-fee for such visits).
But what happens in Province B for the same accident? If Province B’s fee payments are LESS than Province A, then no problem, the healthcare facility bills Province A’s plan and everyone is happy. If Province B’s payments are MORE than Province A’s – you have a problem! You will get a bill from Province B – and you may have to give them a credit card or cash payment while you are being treated!
While the differences in the example may be modest, if you require admitting to hospital – say in the Intensive Care or Cadiac Care Wards, payments can vary widely between Provinces and Territories and the last thing you want is a bill when you check out!
Some group and private extended health plans will reimburse a portion of such out-of-province costs – but there will be limits on such payments.
Most financial advisors, other groups such as CARP and the various branches of the Canadian Automobile Association, together with many travel agents and on-line ticket sellers, offer travel insurance at very modest cost – and it is needed when you travel outside your home province – as the old slogan goes “don’t leave home without it!”
Next blog will discuss the out-of-Canada issues and some tips to consider.