NWT Travel Insurance News
Tina McDonald learned the hard way that Canadians who travel out of province or territory are not covered for emergency flight when they get hurt. Her daughter, Kiera, was involved in an ATV accident when visiting the family in Norman Wells, NWT.
McDonald’s sister-in-law was with Kiera at the local nursing station and Tina was constantly in touch with them. A doctor in Yellowknife recommended having her daughter medevaced to the capital. When McDonald agreed to send her daughter, the nurse revealed that her plan does not cover them.
Northwest Territories bills dozens of people thousands of dollars for medevac trips every year. These include seasonal workers, tourists, and visiting families. Medevac provides emergency transportation to people within the province to the nearest hospital. However, people outside their home provinces are not covered by Medevac.
In 2016/2017, the government of Northwest Territories billed 45 people who did not have valid NWT health cards for medevac flights, the NWT Health, and Social Services reported. Air ambulance from Yellowknife to Edmonton or Inuvik to Yellowknife cost from $25,000 to $30,000.
An emergency room physician at Stanton Territorial Hospital in Yellowknife, Dr. David Pontin, said he often advises people who travel out of town that they need medevac and that it would cost them. According to Pontin, the conversation could be a fairly difficult one and people are usually shocked or surprised. You could be involved if you don’t have a valid NWT health care card. He said that most Canadians do not realize that they may have to pay these kinds of emergency costs when they travel out of their territories or provinces.
According to CBC, no province in Canada will reimburse residents for the cost of air ambulance they incurred when outside their jurisdiction. Pontin advised that there should be a campaign targeted at informing Canadians to get additional travel insurance when traveling out of their jurisdiction.
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