Changes to Out-of-Country Medical Coverage Now in Effect

As of January 1, 2020, OHIP no longer covers any portion of out-of-country medical expenses

THORNHILL, ON, Jan. 2, 2020 /CNW/ – CAA South Central Ontario (CAA SCO) is reminding travellers that changes to out-of-country medical coverage in Ontario are now in effect, prompting the need to review travel insurance coverage.

“We are working to educate travellers to make sure they know what they are buying. We are an organization founded to help keep our members safe, and coverage while travelling abroad is a big part of that,” said Elliott Silverstein, director, government relations, CAA Insurance. “Travel insurance protects from unexpected and costly emergencies and it’s important to evaluate available coverage, based on personal needs, to determine how to best safeguard you and your family. This is even more important now that there is no coverage through OHIP.”

Some of the key things to consider when it comes to buying travel insurance are how many trips you are taking a year; if you want comprehensive coverage or medical-only insurance; and whether or not the insurance provider offers additional assistance such as interpreters, hospital recommendations and other coordination services.

Additional tips to consider when buying travel insurance

  • Ask questions. Speak to a knowledgeable travel insurance advisor that understands your needs.
  • Be honest. It is important that you answer any questionnaire accurately to disclose any pre-existing conditions, and ensure you have the proper coverage suited specifically for you, so you can travel with peace of mind.
  • Build travel insurance into your travel plans. Purchasing travel insurance must be done in your home province. As you begin to consider your next destination, add travel insurance to your “to do” list.
  • Don’t base your decision on price alone. Look at what coverage is most appropriate for your circumstances and consider all different types of plans and levels of protection.

Questions to ask:

  • What are the eligibility and exclusions?
  • What is the pre-existing and stability clause?
  • What are the benefit limits?
  • How many days am I covered?
  • Is there a deductible?
  • Do they offer upfront payment if a claim occurs?

It’s important to remember that the intent of travel medical insurance is to treat emergency conditions, and return you to your home province for ongoing treatment once your medical condition is stabilized.

Emergency travel medical insurance may require completion of a medical health questionnaire depending on age. Medical questionnaires determine premium, NOT coverage.

    • Always answer questions related to your health accurately
    • If you aren’t sure how to answer, ask your physician to help you.

For more information resources on travel insurance and what you need to know before you travel, go to:

About CAA South Central Ontario
For over a hundred years, CAA has been helping Canadians stay mobile, safe and protected. CAA South Central Ontario is one of nine auto clubs across Canada providing roadside assistance, travel, insurance services and Member savings for our over 2 million Members.

SOURCE CAA South Central Ontario

For further information: Nadia Matos, Media & PR Consultant, P: (905) 771 3058, C: (416) 523-0663, E:; Kaitlynn Furse, Director of Communications, P: (905) 771-3194, C: (647) 227-7559, E:

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Changes Coming to Out-of-Country Medical Coverage in 2020

Ontarians encouraged to take a closer look at their travel insurance

THORNHILL, ON, Dec. 16, 2019 /CNW/ – As the busy holiday travel season approaches, Orion Travel Insurance, a CAA-owned company, is urging Ontario travellers to take a closer look at their travel and medical insurance coverage. As of January 1st, OHIP will no longer cover any portion of out of country medical expenses.

“We know that 25 per cent of Ontarians travel without insurance and that’s the reason for concern. Medical emergencies can happen anytime, anywhere,” says Kellee Irwin, vice president, Orion Travel Insurance Company. “It’s critical that people are aware of the upcoming changes to OHIP. Knowing that they have coverage that meets their needs, whether it’s for a long international trip or a quick cross border trip, will give them peace of mind.”

Currently, OHIP offers a maximum of $400 a day for emergency in-patient services outside of Canada and an additional $50 a day for emergency outpatient services as well as doctor’s services, but this will end on December 31st.

Going forward, the provincial government will continue to cover $210 per treatment for kidney dialysis patients abroad, which can cost up to $750 a day in the United States. Any other medical coverage outside of the country will need to be paid by the traveller.

“Depending on the situation, medical bills and any associated emergency travel can be very costly for travellers, and can often cost more than the trip itself,” says Elliott Silverstein, director, government relations, CAA Insurance. “Even if you think you are covered under your credit card or your private insurance, now is the time to take a closer look at the fine print. Travelling protected means understanding what you are covered for.”

Questions to ask before you buy travel insurance

  • What are the eligibility and exclusions?
  • What is the pre-existing and stability clause?
  • What are the benefit limits?
  • How many days am I covered?
  • Is there a deductible?
  • Do they offer upfront payment if a claim occurs?

Orion Travel Insurance is urging travellers to be aware of their up-to-date medical history and to be honest about any pre-existing conditions.

“Many people are under the false impression that they won’t have insurance coverage due to pre-existing conditions,” says Silverstein. “Medical conditions won’t disqualify you, they will just help to ensure you have the right coverage, so be clear and honest when shopping around for insurance.”

To learn more about the basics of travel insurance coverage go to:

About Orion Travel Insurance Company

Orion Travel Insurance, a CAA company, protects over 500 000 Canadians a year. Orion was incorporated in 2013 and underwrites in Ontario, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Quebec and the Atlantic provinces. Orion is known for its exceptional claims service and strives to protect travellers and their loved ones wherever their travels may take them.

SOURCE Orion Travel Insurance

Canadian diagnosed with brain tumour in Thailand has travel insurance declined

The excerpted article was written by Sean Davidson CTV News Toronto

TORONTO — A Canadian man diagnosed with a massive brain tumour while travelling in Thailand is fighting to get home after his travel insurance was declined because he told doctors he had a headache while suffering from the flu over a month ago.

Kitchener resident Alex Witmer and his wife Jennifer Witmer, who had been living in Moncton for the last five years, quit their jobs earlier this year and went on a six-week trip to Thailand before planning to relocate to Toronto.

The couple was about a month into their trip when the 30-year-old began suffering from a severe migraine.

“He got a migraine that didn’t go away,” Jennifer Witmer told CTV News Toronto from a hospital in the southern Thailand island of Koh Samui on Monday. “It just got bad.”

Jennifer Witmer said they went to the hospital and were expecting to be given pain medication for the migraine. But after doctors completed scans they were told he had “massive tumour deep inside his brain” that was cancerous.

“My husband was extremely healthy, he was an international athlete. He has never had any issues.”

Alex Witmer was immediately given medication to reduce the pressure inside his brain that was causing the severe headache, but was told he needs to have brain surgery, chemotherapy and radiation as soon as possible.

The couple was then told the medication to reduce the pressure inside Alex’s head will only work for a few days and it would only be safe for him to fly home during that time.

“We have travel insurance, so we opened a claim and there was no issue we just got the go ahead yesterday. They were sending an air ambulance,” she said.

“A few hours later they called back and said they received his medical records and it showed he checked into an emergency room in Moncton a month ago and had symptoms of the flu. He reported a mild headache and because he said that they cancelled our claim based off having a pre-existing condition.”

“I don’t even remember him reporting a headache. I thought he just said he was vomiting, it didn’t even register to me. When the insurance company told me about the emergency room visit I said ‘Oh, well that was for the flu’ but they said ‘he reported a headache.'”

“They offered to still send an air ambulance service and quoted me $265,000 but that’s obviously not an option.”

“We are right now waiting for them to call and give the final word on our claim but they have been telling me it doesn’t look good.”

“The longer we wait, the higher the risk becomes.”

The couple is now searching for other safe options to get Alex home, including flying on a commercial flight accompanied by a medical team. If they can’t find a better option before the pressure in his head returns, he’ll be forced to have the surgery in Bangkok.

“It’s just cruel. Our neurosurgeon here said his flu symptoms are not pre-existing conditions. It’s insane they are flagging this.”

“Right now we are trying to find private companies that can transfer him home for less money,” she said . “We have amazing friends and family that are doing everything they can to get us home.”

She said her husband is awake but has been mostly sleeping because of the medication he is taking.

CTV News Toronto has reached out to the insurance company, Allianz, and is awaiting their response.

On their website, Allianz defines a pre-existing condition as “an injury, illness or medical condition that caused someone to seek treatment, presented symptoms, or required medication.”

“This may have taken place anytime within 120 days prior to and including the plan’s purchase date.”

“Note that you don’t even need an official medical diagnosis from a physician for something to be considered a pre-existing condition.”

A GoFundMe page has been organized to help raise funds for Alex Witmer’s care and has received more than $50,000 in one day.


Workplace Safety and Insurance Board

MARSHA MOWERS | Travel Pulse Canada

Manulife held their annual partner appreciation event in Toronto last week, where attendees gathered to hear from Millennial expert and marketing research leader Dave Coletto, CEO of research firm Abacus who delivered strategic advice to many of Canada’s top companies.

“Tonight is a reflection of getting our great partners into the room to celebrate the year, but it’s also an educational opportunity where we bring in a guest speaker that really addresses the issues and trends in the market place that everyone as a business owner wants to be made aware of,” Rob Lafrate VP, Client Relationships and Business Development told TravelPulse Canada.

We’re here to recognize our top customers, to thank them it’s our client appreciation day,” said AVP & GM Travel Insurance Jacques Gilbert.

“It’s a way for us to thank them for business over the year, timing before holidays, it’s always a lot of fun. It’s to make it more than just about having a cocktail with us.”

Manulife is launching a number of programs this coming year, include the re-launch of their popular protection plan.

The need to understand travel health insurance coverage

The need to understand travel health insurance coverage

As 54 per cent of Canadians prepare to travel this already frigid winter, the Travel Health Insurance Association (THiA) is releasing the results of its most recent traveller survey that reveals that 26 per cent of Canadians are unsure of their coverage when they travel.

Ninety per cent of respondents make mobile phones a part of life even on holiday, but these modern conveniences are increasingly a source of injury with 13 per cent overall (and 18 per cent of millennials) reporting that they’ve been injured while posing precariously for selfies.

“Everyone deserves a carefree vacation and travel health insurance is designed to pay for unexpected medical emergencies,” said Will McAleer, Travel Health Insurance Association. “Understanding what activities might impact coverage, whether it be climbing a mountain or consuming more alcohol than usual, is part of what’s required for a good getaway. With Ontario being the first province to eliminate coverage for out-of-country medical expenses, it’s more important than ever to know what is and isn’t covered by insurance policies.”

Starting on January 1, 2020, OHIP is changing its out of country travel health coverage for Ontarians and will no longer provide any coverage for travellers (aside from kidney dialysis). According to the survey, 45 per cent of Canadians believe provincial health insurance covers some medical expenses incurred while travelling abroad. These changes underscore the importance of consumer awareness and understanding of their travel health insurance coverage.

Being aware of what is or isn’t covered under a policy, or federal regulations related to marijuana, will go a long way in ensuring that hard-earned holidays aren’t jeopardized either by unexpected medical expenses or criminal changes.

Twenty per cent of survey respondents admit to having consumed more than five drinks in two hours on holiday while 31 per cent of millennial males have climbed mountains while travelling. And, 21 per cent of respondents believe it’s acceptable to travel with marijuana packed in their luggage.

The survey also revealed that Canadians are more likely to travel domestically this year and less likely to travel to the US due to the exchange rate (58 per cent) and current political climate (48 per cent).

Wherever Canadians plan to travel this winter, they are more likely to have a carefree holiday and navigate unexpected medical issues with appropriate travel health insurance. Will McAleer recommends that all travellers familiarize themselves with the following key elements of travel health insurance:

  1. Understand your travel insurance policy – Insurance providers have staff available to answer any questions related to policies.
  2. Know your health and consult a health care provider if you have any questions.
  3. Know your trip – How long will you be gone? Are you a snowbird? Will you be travelling many times during the year? Do you plan to scuba dive? Find a policy that is specifically tailored to your trip.
  4. Know your rights – The Bill of Rights and Responsibilities will help provide all travelling Canadians with additional confidence in their travel insurance purchase knowing their company is supporting their rights as a consumer and making them aware of their responsibilities.

About the Survey
The online survey, conducted in October 2019, polled 1,053 respondents, ranging from ages 18 to 60+ across Canada.

About the Travel Health Insurance Association of Canada (THiA)
Founded in 1998, the Travel Health Insurance Association (THiA) is the national organization representing travel insurers, brokers, underwriters, re-insurers, emergency assistance companies, air ambulance companies and allied services in the travel insurance field. THiA is the leading voice of the travel insurance industry in Canada and is engaged in public education and issues relating to regulatory affairs and member communications.

SOURCE Travel Health Insurance Association of Canada (THiA)

Travel Health Insurance Association of Canada (THiA)

Blink’s proactive travel insurance moves to Canada

By GlobalData Financial Services

Canada Insurance Giant Manulife has turned to Irish travel insurtech Blink to help it connect to younger, digitally-savvy customers. Blink has established itself through offering proactive travel insurance to customers as it automatically rebooks cancelled flights. It has a staggered system where customers delayed for three hours gain access to an airport lounge, then a hotel room if it’s over six hours and a new flight if it is cancelled or a flight connection is missed.

This is an emerging trend within the travel insurance sector, with competitor Fizzy offering a similar product to customers flying to the USA, though that only covers rebooking flights for severe delays or cancellations.

The Canada market represents a good opportunity for Blink, as only 28% of the population currently holds an annual travel insurance policy, according to GlobalData statistics. This compares to 35% in the UK and 38% in Ireland, where Blink originates, which suggests that there is room for growth within the Canadian market.

Manulife turning to Blink shows the interest from top insurers in real-time flight insurance continues to be strong, following Axa’s launching a partnership with Fizzy in 2017. With travel insurance penetration rates low around the world (an average of 27% of consumers globally hold an annual travel insurance policy) – especially among younger customers – convenient and digital policies like these should help to engage customers. It is also a continuation on the trend of leading insurers turning to start-ups to help them with innovation, and specifically in connecting to younger customers.

Our survey data showing that 72% of Canadians travel without an annual insurance policy suggests that this is a real opportunity for Blink to expand its global reach. The start-up has already been backed by European Insurance giant, Zurich, and it looks well set to continue disrupting the travel market.

Source: Verdict

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