# Wednesday, November 6, 2013
                 
Out of Province Travel
Canada is a great country to travel across. Thanks to our size there is an incredible diversity of habitats to visit. The west coast has a temperate rainforest and the Rocky Mountains. To the south we have huge deciduous forests and to the north we have the lowlands along with tundra (Nunavut is beautiful). And we cannot forget to mention eastern Canada with its warm, friendly people along with the Bay of Fundy.

A person could spend all their holiday time in Canada and experience something new and beautiful every time!

One thing that most Canadians don’t think about is getting travel insurance when traveling out of province. We assume that our provincial healthcare will cover all health and dental expenses resulting from an accident or emergency.

Unfortunately, this is only partially true. What expenses are covered depends upon three things:
  1. Your province of residence.
  2. The province (or territory including Nunavut) where the emergency occurred.
  3. The inter-provincial agreements that determine how the two healthcare departments adjudicate claims (e.g. figure out which province pays what part of claims).

Costs Not Covered by Provincial Healthcare

The following are just some of the things that are not covered by most provincial healthcare plans while traveling out of province inside of Canada.

Ambulance Costs

Air ambulance and ground ambulance costs resulting from a medical emergency are not covered by provincial healthcare plans such as OHIP (Ontario) and AHCIP (Alberta).

If you are in an accident and require ambulance transportation then you will have to pay this cost out of pocket. Typically a ground ambulance can cost up to $500 (or more) while air ambulance transportation can cost up to $3,000 per hour of travel time.

Note that an Emergency Medical travel insurance plan always offers ambulance coverage, with most plans offering 100% coverage. 

Accidental Dental

Provincial healthcare plans only cover "medically necessary" health and dental costs. If you fall and break some teeth then only the costs to alleviate the pain would be covered along with the hospital visit fees. (Note: what type of medical facility you visit due to an emergency will determine if you or your provincial healthcare plan is billed for the costs).

The repair of the damaged teeth would not be covered since this would be deemed a "cosmetic" procedure.

Medical Costs at Non-Hospital Facilities

But wait! There is another wrinkle to this confusing subject: the type of facility where you seek medical attention. This is heavily dependent upon your provincial healthcare plan.

Generally speaking, if you go to licensed hospital that has a transfer agreement with your provincial healthcare plan then your provincial healthcare plan will be billed for the incurred costs. However, if that hospital does not have a transfer agreement then you will be billed for the costs and it is up to you to seek re-imbursement for those incurred costs.

If you go to a medical facility instead of a hospital then chances are that you will be billed for all costs, and hopefully you can get reimbursed by your provincial healthcare plan (you must be able to prove that treatment was medically necessary).

Repatriation

Although not pleasant to think about, it is possible that you or a person you are with get into an accident and then expire.

Repatriation of the deceased’s body back home is not covered by provincial healthcare plans, and (dependent on the distance back home) can be extremely expensive.

Note that all Emergency Medical travel insurance plans offer repatriation coverage. Coverage amounts range from $5,000 to $15,000 for repatriation, burial and/or cremation costs.

Paramedical Practitioners

Paramedical practitioners such as massage therapists, chiropractors and naturopaths are not covered by provincial healthcare plans when traveling outside of one’s province unless you can prove that a visit to one of these practitioners was medically necessary.

This means if you throw your back out and are in pain then a visit to a local chiropractor may not be covered or may only be partially covered (depends on your province of residence and where the emergency occurred).

All Emergency Medical plans offer paramedical practitioner coverage as long as the visit to the practitioner is deemed medically necessary. Typically, care received from a licensed chiropractor, osteopath, physiotherapist, chiropodist or podiatrist is around $300 (per profession).

Travel Insurance Considerations

Another thing many Canadians are not aware is just how cheap travel insurance coverage is within Canada. In fact, the premium for a 25 year old person traveling out of province in Canada for 1 month ranges from $25 to $55. Coverage for a couple that are 55 years old and also traveling for a month ranges from $50 to $175.

There are also "all inclusive" travel insurance plans that cover emergency medical expenses as well as other things such as trip cancellation/interruption and baggage loss/damage/delay. On the one hand these plans are more expensive than Emergency Medical plans. On the other hand, lost luggage or missing an airline flight because of an emergency at home (e.g. a wasted airline ticket) can really put a damper on a planned vacation!

For links to various government websites please click here.

Conclusion

Given the potential costs that could arise from an accident it makes sense to at least consider getting affordable travel insurance protection while traveling out of province within Canada.

If you are interested in finding out more please call us toll-free at 1-800-474-4474. You can also get as many free travel insurance quotes as you want. Compare various plans and get the most affordable
coverage that suits you best.
  

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