Travel health insurance: Don't leave without it

You need coverage of at least $1 million, advisor says.

Gail Bebee 9 June, 2017 | 5:00PM
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If you had a heart attack while on vacation in Florida, and spent five days in hospital for emergency bypass surgery and an aortic-valve replacement, would you be able to pay the bill, which Healthcare Bluebook, a fair-pricing website for health care, estimates at US$46,000?

Your provincial health plan is unlikely to cover more than a small fraction of the cost. For example, the above bill includes charges of US$1,800 per day for hospital services. The Ontario Health Insurance Plan caps payment for out-of-country hospital services at $400 per day (in Canadian dollars); Quebec's Régie de l'assurance maladie reimburses a maximum of $100 per day for hospitalization.

You can avoid the financial burden imposed by an unexpected medical emergency while travelling outside Canada, or even outside your home province, if you are covered by travel health insurance, also known as travel medical insurance. This type of insurance is intended to pay the expenses that your provincial health insurance plan does not cover.

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About Author

Gail Bebee

Gail Bebee  Gail Bebee is an independent personal finance speaker, teacher and the author of No Hype--The Straight Goods on Investing Your Money. She can be reached at gbebee@gailbebee.com; her website is www.gailbebee.com.

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