We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
Calgary
Level Contributor
23 posts
13 reviews
Save Topic
Health Insurance for Canadians

I just want to give people a heads up on this. It applies to any trip you are taking, not just Cuba, but it works for Cuba as well.

People keep spending a small fortune on health insurance when they travel. In fact when you book a trip, the default is to add it, you have to specifically tell them not to add it, and you have to repeat yourself and discard their dire lectures.

Why would you do that? Well because you are likely already more than covered for any medical emergency that may befall you during your trip.

Moreover, your chances of collecting on a policy that you purchased specifically for a trip are highly questionable as they like to use the term "pre-existing condition therefore doesn't qualify" a lot ... and fyi a common cold is a "pre-existing condition."

The truth is that if you have extended health coverage, then you should have plenty of coverage already. Check with your extended health care provider before you spend a fortune on a policy that you don't need.

As well as your extended health coverage, if you are taking a non-US-based credit card of any sort with you to Cuba, then you also have emergency travel insurance coverage connected to your card whether you pay a fee for that card or not. Again check with your card provider for the details.

The whole travel insurance industry is designed to play on people's fears, they lead you to question whether you'll be covered, in fact most of you are more than covered. We discovered this ourselves on a recent trip to the US, wish we could go back in time and recover all the wasted cash from falling for the fear-mongering.

When going to Cuba, all the dire warnings about coverage caused me more concern than usual, so I contacted our extended health care provider, only to find out that we were covered for 2 million each. We do not have any kind of deluxe plan or anything, just your typical basic extended health care plan. Two million.

Besides, if you do have a medical emergency, it is your own extended coverage that you will have to prove you used anyways before the emergency travel insurer will even contemplate your claim, so it's not like you're benefiting in any way by double-covering yourself, all you're actually doing is flushing a lot of money down the drain.

Hope this helps folks make more informed choices when it comes to emergency travel insurance. I'm not saying don't buy it, I'm saying do your homework on that front it could save you a lot of money which will give you more to spend on your vacation.

I have no idea how the extended coverage works in other countries, this heads up is aimed at Canadians :-)

Edited: 12 January 2013, 04:37
Keswick, Canada
Level Contributor
363 posts
29 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Health Insurance for Canadians

Bravo!

Ontario, Canada
Level Contributor
75 posts
1 review
Save Reply
2. Re: Health Insurance for Canadians

I buy the insurance for every trip anywhere and I have to be honest with you. I had to use it on one our holidays. The care I received from the Hospital and Doctors was incredible. The Bill, was huge. However, the insurance I bought took care of it with out any questions. The $50.00 dollars for the week, was some of the best money I have ever spent. It saved Thousands.

montreal
Level Contributor
10,887 posts
107 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Health Insurance for Canadians

As well as your extended health coverage, if you are taking a non-US-based credit card of any sort with you to Cuba, then you also have emergency travel insurance coverage connected to your card whether you pay a fee for that card or not. Again check with your card provider for the details.

Most credit cards with no fee will only give you a protection of a •3-Day Travel Insurance at no charge and we all know most people will travel 7 or 14 days so i guess people with these cards should skip this .

As for a card that you pay a fee thay will give you all the protection you need as with a Visa Odyssey GOLD they charge you $110 per year but you also have a great protection if something ever happens as the amount they charge you is way cheaper then buying insurance ...

Ontario
Level Contributor
8,544 posts
16 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Health Insurance for Canadians

You had better read the fine print on "extended coverage". Not all policies cover things like medivac if it is necessary. Also, credit card policies may have age limitations.

Nova Scotia, Canada
Level Contributor
14,814 posts
Save Reply
5. Re: Health Insurance for Canadians

“The whole travel insurance industry is designed to play on people's fears, they lead you to question whether you'll be covered, in fact most of you are more than covered.”

*******

While some of what you wrote may reflect your situation it certainly isn’t the reality for everyone.

Far too many people have no understanding of the coverage that they require, and (perhaps especially Canadians) are under a false sense of security that they are covered by their provincial medical insurance.

Edited: 12 January 2013, 12:34
Alberta
Level Contributor
3,640 posts
38 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Health Insurance for Canadians

Amanda S, that is an excellent post.

I will add that your provincial health care insurance is still on the hook to provide the coverage they normally provide, even though you are out of the country, up to the limits they would pay in your home province. No, it probably does not include medivac, and it can be a moot point if you have the misfortune to get sick in the USA where medical costs can be 10 times higher than what they are covered for in Canada. See this link for Alberta, and I suspect other provinces are similar. And no, I would never go to the US with only provincial health care coverage.

…alberta.ca/AHCIP/coverage-outside-Canada.ht…

And the real big issue is pre-existing conditions and full disclosure. The companies that provide vacation coverage at a fee, invest huge amounts of money in lawyers and investigators whose sole purpose is to disallow claims. They have no ongoing relationship with you other than you may buy their insurance again sometime. Their objective is to NOT PAY claims.

While you can understand that if someone who has been diagnosed with heart disease goes to the US for a "vacation" and then gets a heart transplant, that is probably not a valid claim. Pre-existing conditions are rightfully intended to disallow that.

But these insurance companies take it far beyond that. At the extreme, you could fail to disclose you have taken a blood pressure pill. Then when traveling you get pneumonia which needs treatment. They often disallow the claim for pneumonia because you did not tell them about the blood pressure pill. Unrelated items, but their lawyers use it to justify no claim.

The point is that there is probably some benefit in sticking with the company that does your extended benefits rather than a company that is only in it for the one week fee. They have more at stake. They have also been paying for those blood pressure pills, so can't claim they didn't know.

Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
6,395 posts
12 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Health Insurance for Canadians

Hola

I have the credit card insurance also, would never trust it, we have blue cross year around coverage found it much much cheaper if you are taking more than 3 trips a year....

cheers.

Bear River, Canada
Level Contributor
3,764 posts
8 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Health Insurance for Canadians

Our Nova Scotia Health card will cover emergency services only outside of the country. You would have to pay and then try to get your money back when you return home. My private insurance covers me for everything if i become ill while in Cuba. I contact them, they pay, no worries. Would not trust credit card insurance, but know people who have bought and used their Travel Insurance without any problems and were glad they had it. Not everyone has private insurance, Provincial health Insurance rates would not cover you and the rest would be out of pocket, so Travel Insurance makes sense. Whether you have adequate coverage already or have to purchase it with your trip, don't leave home without it.

Ottawa
Level Contributor
61 posts
7 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Health Insurance for Canadians

Coverage for pre-existing conditions can vary and should be looked into and well understood.

There are many chronic 'conditions', that so long as they are well controlled/treated/in remission will in fact be covered, especially under plans where there are not any questionnaires.

Ontario
Level Contributor
8,544 posts
16 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Health Insurance for Canadians

"Coverage for pre-existing conditions can vary and should be looked into and well understood. "

You also need to be careful, as the insurance company may deem your condition "unstable" if there is any change in your meds, and decline your claim on that basis. Many people who think they are covered in reality are not. Some find this out the hard way. (many insurers will not cover you if the accident or whatever is considered to be your fault, e.g. drunk and fell off the balcony) :-)