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