The facts about insurance

The following texts are articles written by Assurance Voyage G.B. which appeared in the Écho Vacances newspaper. (Note: the articles were originally published in French.) We have made them available here so you too can profit from them.

A few thoughts

Why do I need travel insurance offering extra health cover?

To cover the difference between the amounts paid by the RAMQ and the real cost of treatment for a medical emergency when you are outside the province.

What do I need to check when I want to buy travel insurance?

  1. Are you really eligible for the insurance plan that is offered to you?
    If you don’t meet the requirements for admissibility for a company (for example if you have had a heart bypass operation more than 8 years ago, or if you take Prednisone or Furosemide, etc.) and you try to make a claim, you could find that the company returns your premium, leaving you to pick up the medical bill.
  2. Are my pre-existing conditions covered?
    You’ll need to read the conditions of stability* of your insurance plan very carefully. Do you need 3 months, 6 months or a year of stability? You should note that for persons over 60 years of age, stability usually means for at least 6 months, or even 12 months for problems such as heart or lung disease, diabetes or cancer.

* Stability means: no new diagnosis, no new medication, no change in dosage – in short, your pre-existing condition must have shown no change during the specified period.

3. Does the plan I have been offered include any deductibles, and if so, what kind of deductibles?
If you accept any deductibles, make sure you understand them fully:

– Are they for the whole trip?

– Are they per claim?

– Are they in the case of hospitalization only?

* Often, deductibles can make you hesitate before consulting a physician, which could aggravate the situation.

4. Will my insurance company pay up front?
That’s to say, if you go see a physician or if you are hospitalized, will the insurance company pay the bills directly, or will you have to advance the funds then make a claim to be refunded?

These considerations for your travel insurance are rather limited, but I will have the chance to cover other subjects in our next newsletter.

See you soon

Angele Guimond

Assurance Voyage G.B.

 

Advice

Make sure your passport is in order

Your passport is your best proof of your Canadian citizenship. If you wish to travel abroad, make sure that your passport and those of your family are valid.

Make a photocopy of the identification page of your passport

Make a photocopy and keep it separate from the original throughout the trip. For greater security you can also leave a copy with a friend or family member in Canada. If you lose your passport, this will greatly simplify its replacement.

Do you have any special needs?

Many countries do not offer accessible equipment for persons who require a wheelchair, nor do they have any services in place to cope with the special needs of the hard of hearing, the blind or those with a physical handicap.

Get informed by consulting an organization for the handicapped in your region or by speaking to travelers who have already visited the country in question. There are also several travel guides available specially written to meet the needs of persons with special needs.

Get the advice of a doctor

It is strongly recommended that travelers have a full medical checkup and personal risk evaluation by a doctor or travel clinic. Based on the risks to your health that the doctor may discover, (s)he will be best placed to offer the appropriate vaccinations or precautions that you must take for your trip.

Vaccinations

Before leaving Canada, make sure well in advance whether you need any special vaccinations or any preventative treatment against illnesses such as yellow fever, typhoid, meningitis, Japanese encephalitis, hepatitis or malaria. If you need any clarifications regarding this matter, you should consult your physician, your local office of the Canadian Society for International Health, the FAXlink service from Health Canada or the Health Canada web site.

Medication

If you take any medication, make sure you take with you more than you need in case you stay longer than planned. It is highly recommended to take a copy of your prescription, especially if you are visiting a country with strict laws relating to narcotics.

You should also ask your physician for an extra prescription indicating the common name as well as the commercial name of your medication. You will need this if your original medication is lost or stolen.

Also, if you wear eye-glasses or contact lenses, it would be a good idea to take your prescription with you so you can replace them if necessary.

Never carry packages from one country to another for anyone.

Choose your travel companions carefully. Never cross a border with a hitch hiker, or as a hitch hiker. Even if you don’t have anything illegal on you, that may not always be the case for your fellow travelers.

Mail

If you are going on a long trip, you can make arrangements to have your mail sent either poste restante, or to the Canadian Mission closest to you. The Mission will keep any letter-mail (no parcels) until you collect it, but they can’t forward it.

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