As nearly 3 million Canadians live abroad, many more spend part of the year traveling outside of the country. If you're not prepared to have coverage with health insurance for travel, you'll risk ending up in a bad situation.
Canadian expats and travelers alike need to have the right kind of insurance to meet their medical needs.
Here is everything you need to know about traveling as a Canadian in need of health care.
Standard Travel Insurance
While the Canadian health care system is heralded and powerful, innovative, and useful, it's less useful when you're traveling. If you're traveling, you'll find that your provincial insurance means very little in another province, let alone another country.
People get sick and injured all the time while traveling and if you're not covered, you'll be saddled with serious bills.
If you don't make an effort to ensure you're covered while away, whether it's for a week or a year, you're rolling the dice with your health. While you're abroad, anything could happen but for a small fee, you'll be covered.
If you're moving abroad for a longer period of time, there is insurance to help cover you. Your provincial travel plan could cover you for a year, but longer than that requires you to get a different type of plan.
Older people choose to retire abroad all the time, and if this is the case, be sure you've got the coverage you need.
For anyone leaving Canada for good or if you want to become a non-resident to save money on taxes, you'll have to give up your provincial plan. Doing this is risky without a backup plan so be sure you know what you're doing before you make a big decision like this.
International Health Plans
If you want to ensure that you travel without thinking twice about your health, an international health plan helps you travel with ease. Ask any former Canadian and they'll talk positively about what their health plan brings them.
If you're in a country like the U.S., with its high health care costs, a health plan is a must to maintain fiscal health.
Canadians out of the country for work should ask their employers about a health plan. Some companies provide an international or global health plan for their staff to ensure they remain healthy and productive.
While most employers are happy to add you to their domestic plan, if you're one of the few people at your company traveling regularly, you need something else.
Even if you're traveling just for a few days for work, your domestic plan probably won't cover you. If you have a chronic or pre-existing issue, having trouble arise when you're out of town is frightening.
If you're outside of the country, it's even scarier.
For anyone with serious medical needs, it's vital to have coverage wherever you go. If you're going to visit another branch of your international company or even on vacation, stay protected by budgeting for coverage.
It's often fairly inexpensive and ensures you don't have anything to worry about.
Why Some Canadians Skip It
Lots of young and healthy Canadians take their summers or a gap year before college backpacking and hiking around Europe or Asia. While this is a fun and enlightening way to adventure, it's a recipe for disaster when it comes to medical bills.
Thinking nothing will happen to you is the best way to court disaster, in a karmic sense.
Rather than gambling with your finances or your health, get coverage while you're out of the country. While many Canadian travelers think that health costs are similarly low across the world, this isn't always true.
Much like Canada's system, outside of emergency care, health care is provided at no cost or low cost to residents only.
Medical expenses, even in what would be considered the "third-world", are high everywhere you go. If you're injured in a place that can't appropriately treat you, you'll be flown off to get the care you need somewhere else.
If that's the case, expect a hefty bill for the cost of travel.
One of the reasons people fail to buy insurance when they travel, to be frank, is bald arrogance. If you're convinced you'll be fine or that your policy is enough to cover you, think again.
You never know what could happen, which is why you have insurance in the first place.
Finding a Policy
When it comes to finding a policy for your travels, there's no real one size fits all answer. Every traveler has their own needs when it comes to healthcare.
The high costs of getting care abroad need to be met with a policy that covers your specific health care needs.
Get one that offers a base level of coverage to ensure any hospital visits are taken care of. There are few travel plans that cover everything but you'll be surprised by what you can have covered.
There are plans to cover both inpatient and outpatient care, including visits to a doctor, to the pharmacy, or even paramedical procedures. If you're injured in an emergency, your travel plan ensures you're covered if you need emergency surgery or any special treatments.
Medical evacuation should be part of your coverage depending on where you go. This is vital in the treacherous and globalized world we live in.
Health Insurance For Travel Requires Research
If you're looking at health insurance for travel as a Canadian, make sure you do your research in advance. This ensures you're not hit with any surprises and get the chance to kick back and enjoy your adventure.
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