Health concerns and global instability are causing Canadians to rethink their travel plans, according to a new survey.
According to the survey released by the Travel Health Insurance Association (THIA), 13% or respondents had altered their travel plans due to civil unrest or violence and 14% had changed plans due to Zika concerns. The survey also noted these reasons are also leading Canadians to buy more travel health insurance.
According to a Conference Board of Canada study, 78% of Canadians bought travel health insurance in 2015, up from 74% in 2014.
Alex Bittner, the former president of the Travel Health Insurance Association said in an email to Postmedia Network that despite the hike, misconceptions still exist when it comes to health insurance coverage.
“A common misconception is that our government will contribute a lot for us if we have an emergency outside of the country,” said Bittner. “This is wrong; our provincial healthcare plans contribute only roughly 6% of the bill. Another misconception is that travel insurance does not cover pre-existing medical conditions. This is also wrong. As long as the traveller is stable (as per policy definitions) then they will be covered even if they have an emergency for an illness that existed before they travelled.”
The survey also highlighted concerns for pregnant travellers. It’s interesting to point out that 90% of respondents to the survey didn’t know that travelling in the last nine-weeks of pregnancy does not cover the person insured and that a pre-term infant is also not covered, only the mother would be, according to THIA.
THIA president Will McAleer says “everyone deserves a carefree vacation” which is why the study’s findings are especially significant in today’s changing global climate.
“Canadians need to know their policies, know their health and know their trip before departing,” said McAleer. “An increase in cancelled trips highlights the importance of understanding one’s policy.”
The THIA has tips and recommendations about travel health insurance and concerns on its website, at thiaonline.com.