3 things you should always tell your travel health insurer

3 things you should always tell your travel health insurer

The excerpted article was written by LISA FELEPCHUK | Calgary Herald 

Whether your next trip has you looking forward to a special restaurant experience or an epic cycling excursion, researching and planning a vacation is usually a fun task. But once the trip is booked and before you show up at the airport to board your flight, there’s one more thing you need to do: book travel insurance. Some credit cards come with a limited amount of coverage for things like cancellations or lost luggage, but keeping yourself protected against illness and injury abroad needs to be booked separately.

We get it, travel health insurance is boring, but it is important. All it takes is one clumsy move, like tripping on the curb of the sidewalk, to wind up with a broken bone, and adding to the stress of navigating an international hospital is knowing that you’re going to have to pay hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars out of pocket. For some people, unexpected medical bills can mount to more than the original vacation price tag. Sometimes a lot more.

According to the Government of Canada, your Canadian health insurance won’t cover most international medical fees and even if it does, it’s often just a small fraction of the total bill. Don’t ever rely on this alone.

“In some countries, hospitals and clinics will not treat you if you do not have enough insurance or money to pay your bills,” explains the Government of Canada website, which also notes that the Canadian government is never responsible for your medical bills abroad.

Here are three things you should always talk to your travel health insurance provider when booking a policy for your upcoming vacation.

Pre-existing medical conditions

A pre-existing condition is just that: any medical condition big or small (heart arrhythmias like atrial fibrillation, diabetes, cancer or even sleep apnea) that you have been diagnosed with by a medical practitioner. If you have a pre-existing condition, you may need to shop around to find the best rate, but many companies will still offer coverage as long as your diagnosis is considered stable before you travel.

But here’s the murky part: the definition of “stable” varies from provider to provider and the amount of time you need to be in this stability period also varies. Some providers will require you to be stable for 90 days before departure while others have shorter windows, like 60 or 30 days.

As with booking all travel health insurance, be honest and upfront with your broker before booking. If you don’t disclose a pre-existing condition, then drink a few too many margaritas and wind up in the ER with an abnormal heartbeat, chances are you’ll be paying for that doctor’s time on your own dime.

Outstanding or upcoming medical appointments

Another important piece of information to disclose to your travel insurance broker: pending medical tests and appointments. If, for example, you’re travelling to Mexico in March, but have a CT scan of your abdomen scheduled for April, any related health issues to your abdomen that arise while out of country could be void of coverage. Always be transparent and discuss upcoming medical tests that your doctor has requested with your broker.

The countries you’re planning on travelling to

Aside from your medical history, your travel insurance provider will also need to know the country or countries you’re going to visit. If the Government of Canada has issued a Travel Advisory for your destination, your provider might void your policy. Make sure to disclose all of the places you plan to travel to and be aware of all government-issued travel advisories and warnings.

Edited for ILSTV

What you should know about health care for international workers & students

Santiago Guzmán · for CBC N.L.

Picture this: you just finished grocery shopping for the week. Standing in front of the glass door that leads to a crowded parking lot in St. John’s, you see a not-so-scary snowstorm coming before you.

Luckily, you’re just a couple of metres away from the bus stop, so it shouldn’t be that bad. You don’t take the bus regularly because of its lack of efficiency — sometimes it’s easier and faster to walk, instead of waiting for an extra half hour.

This time, the bus is your best bet. Plus, the bus will leave you almost in front of your door. Sounds like a well-thought-out plan.

You’re trying to be positive. Although this is not your first winter in Newfoundland and you know how to deal with it, sometimes it’s hard to keep yourself positive. Kudos to you.

Now that you’ve made a plan, you put your groceries on the floor to prepare yourself to face this winter crusade: you pull out your mittens, put your warm hat on, cover your mouth and nose with your bulky scarf.

You walk through the glass door.

You can feel the immediate change in temperature and the wind. You start walking slowly, aware of the slippery street, balancing the grocery bags you’re carrying. It seems like there is enough salt on the floor to protect you from sliding, and the bus stop is barely 60 metres away.

Slip.

Your right boot swiftly slides on an icy spot that the salt didn’t cover. Miraculously, you juggle the grocery bags, as though you were on a tightrope above a hungry shark waiting for its prey to fall.

You find your balance and stand still for a second. That was close!

You let a laugh out, take a deep breath and try all over again.

Now you’re sitting on the barely cleared sidewalk with all your groceries around you. No laughs this time.

Instead, slow tears that freeze as they fall down your face. Your ankle. Despite the cold making your body feel numb, you can feel pain. Deep, sharp, acute pain. It’s broken, you know it.

In the distance, you see the bus arrive, its passengers get out while some others hop on, and you’re still on the ground in pain. No bus, no groceries, no laughs, but a broken ankle and the fear of having to go to the doctor.

No, you’re not afraid of needles, and prescriptions — you’re afraid to have to pay fully for the medical service in ER.

The answer I’ve always encountered is ‘you’re not eligible.’

You don’t have health coverage.

You really don’t know why you’re crying now: if it’s the pain of your broken ankle or of depleting your minimum wage savings to pay the medical bills.

READ MORE HERE from CBC News

 

 

Holiday Cookies: Recipe for peanut butter and jelly cookies

Peanut butter cookies — with that iconic crosshatch pattern pressed into their tops — are a holiday classic for many Canadians. But as good as they are, we decided to play with the tradition a bit. We spiked our peanut butter cookies with a “jelly” of finely chopped golden raisins. We also ditched the flour in favour of upping the peanut flavour.

The result is a slightly sweeter and delightfully chewy take on this holiday cookie. And of course we kept the crosshatch.

———

PEANUT BUTTER AND JELLY COOKIES

Start to finish: 30 minutes

Makes 3 dozen cookies

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 cup golden raisins

1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar

15-ounce jar natural peanut butter

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Heat the oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with kitchen parchment.

In a food processor, combine the granulated sugar and golden raisins, then pulse until chopped to small pieces, but not a puree.

In a medium bowl, beat together the brown sugar, peanut butter, eggs, vanilla and salt until thoroughly mixed. Mix in the sugar and raisins until evenly distributed.

Working in batches, scoop 1 tablespoon-sized balls of dough onto the prepared baking sheet, leaving 2 inches between cookies. Use a fork to make crosshatch design on the top of each cookie, slightly flattening them in the process. Bake for 11 to 13 minutes, or until light golden brown.

Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely. Allow the baking sheet to cool between batches. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Nutrition information per cookie: 130 calories; 60 calories from fat (46 per cent of total calories); 6 g fat (1 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 10 mg cholesterol; 17 g carbohydrate; 1 g fibre; 14 g sugar; 3 g protein; 35 mg sodium.

BY ALISON LADMAN, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Ice Cream Cone Caramel Date Bars
Photograph by: AP Photo, Matthew Mead

Holiday Cookies: Recipe for no-bake cranberry coconut bites

12 Days of Holiday Cookies: Recipe for no-bake cranberry coconut bites

For anyone who loves macaroons, these chewy, cranberry-speckled no-bake cookies should help you satisfy your coconut cravings.

Feel free to decorate these cookies however you like. We prefer to roll them in yet more shredded coconut (toasted is a nice touch), but you also could roll them in chopped pistachios, peanuts, hazelnuts; even pine nuts would be delicious. Or for a sweeter version, get colored decorating sugar from the baking supply shop and roll them in that.

———

NO-BAKE CRANBERRY COCONUT BITES

Start to finish: 1 hour (20 minutes active)

Makes 3 1/2 dozen cookies

14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk

4 cups shredded coconut, preferably unsweetened

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Pinch salt

1 cup chopped dried cranberries

1 cup toasted shredded coconut, finely chopped nuts or colored sugar

In a large skillet over medium heat, combine the sweetened condensed milk, 4 cups of shredded coconut, the water, brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves and salt. Cook, stirring constantly, until it forms a thick paste, about 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the cranberries, then set aside off the heat and allow to cool completely.

Once the mixture has cooled, set out a bowl of toasted coconut, finely chopped nuts or colored sugar. Form the mixture into 1-inch balls, then roll each ball in the coating of your choice. The cookies should be stored in an airtight container between layers of kitchen parchment or waxed paper.

Nutrition information per cookie: 110 calories; 60 calories from fat (55 per cent of total calories); 6 g fat (6 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 0 mg cholesterol; 13 g carbohydrate; 2 g fibre; 11 g sugar; 1 g protein; 15 mg sodium.

By Alison Ladman, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

No-Bake Cranberry Coconut Bites

Photograph by: AP Photo, Matthew Mead

Holiday Cookies: Recipe for strawberry pistachio icebox cookies

By Alison Ladman, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

12 Days of Holiday Cookies: Recipe for strawberry pistachio icebox cookies

Freeze-dried strawberries add a potent blast of flavour to these cookies without watering down the dough. You’ll find them in the grocer’s natural foods section, or sometimes in the toddler food aisle. To crush them, either pulse them in a food processor or place them in a plastic bag and run a rolling pin over them.

The dough for these cookies is easily prepped ahead of time. Follow the recipe up through forming the dough into logs. The logs can be refrigerated for up to a week, or frozen up to three months. If frozen, allow them to thaw at room temperature for 20 minutes before slicing and baking.

———

STRAWBERRY PISTACHIO ICEBOX COOKIES

Start to finish: 3 hours 45 minutes (30 minutes active)

Makes 5 dozen cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 egg yolks

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup crushed freeze-dried strawberries

1 cup chopped shelled pistachios

Sanding (coarse decorating) sugar

In a medium bowl, use an electric mixer to beat together the butter, sugar, vanilla, baking powder and salt. Add the egg yolks and beat to combine. Stir in the flour until a dough just comes together. Stir in the strawberries and pistachios until evenly distributed.

Divide the dough in half. Using a sheet of waxed paper to help you work with the dough, shape each half into a log 1 1/2 inches around and 12 inches long. Wrap tightly and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

When ready to bake, heat the oven to 375 F.

Place the sanding sugar in a dinner plate. Unwrap one of the logs and roll it in the sugar to coat the sides. Using a paring knife, slice the log into about 30 rounds. To prevent the log from losing its shape, turn the log a little with each slice. Working in batches, arrange the slices on a baking sheet, leaving 1 inch between them.

Bake for 15 to 17 minutes, or until golden brown around the edges. Transfer to a rack to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining log.

Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature.

Nutrition information per cookie: 70 calories; 35 calories from fat (50 per cent of total calories); 4 g fat (2 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 15 mg cholesterol; 7 g carbohydrate; 0 g fibre; 4 g sugar; 1 g protein; 15 mg sodium.

By Alison Ladman, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

No-Bake Cranberry Coconut Bites

Photograph by: AP Photo, Matthew Mead

Holiday Cookies: Recipe for apple-orange spice drops

These drop cookies may be fast and easy to make, but they deliver big, bold flavour just right for the holidays.

We take a basic brown sugar and butter-based drop cookie dough, then add tons of deliciousness with a blend of cloves, allspice, nutmeg and orange zest. We also tinker with the texture, adding the delightful chew of tender dried apples. Top it all off with an orange glaze and you have a cookie that begs for an eggnog accompaniment.

———

APPLE-ORANGE SPICE DROPS

Start to finish: 30 minutes

Makes 4 dozen cookies

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 egg

Zest of 1 orange

2 tablespoons orange juice

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups chopped dried apple

3/4 cup toasted slivered almonds (optional)

For the glaze:

1 tablespoon orange juice

2/3 cup powdered sugar

Heat the oven to 400 F. Line a baking sheet with kitchen parchment.

In a medium bowl, use an electric mixer to beat together the butter, brown sugar, almond extract, vanilla extract, baking powder, salt, cloves, allspice and nutmeg until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg. Stir in the orange zest and orange juice, then the flour. Stir in the apples and the almonds, if using.

Working in batches, scoop tablespoon-sized balls of dough onto the prepared baking sheet, leaving 1 inch between cookies. Bake for 10 minutes, or until just pale golden brown on the bottoms. Allow to cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet before moving to a rack to cool completely. Allow the baking sheet to cool slightly between batches.

To make the glaze, whisk together the orange juice and powdered sugar. Use a spoon to drizzle the glaze over each cookie. Once the glaze sets, store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature.

Nutrition information per cookie: 70 calories; 20 calories from fat (29 per cent of total calories); 2 g fat (1.5 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 10 mg cholesterol; 12 g carbohydrate; 0 g fibre; 7 g sugar; 1 g protein; 40 mg sodium.

BY ALISON LADMAN, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Apple-orange Spice Drops
Photograph by: AP Photo , Matthew Mead

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