When it comes to purchasing travel insurance in Canada, there is a lot we take for granted! But for pregnant travellers, this is a special time that can have special risks.
Whether it’s a cross-border shopping trip, a visit with a friend on the other side of Canada, or a week at the beach, travelling mothers-to-be need to check their travel insurance coverage before taking off.
Let’s start with why you need travel medical insurance
If you are covered by your provincial health plan and you are travelling in your home province then you are covered under that plan. Simply present your health card to receive medical benefits.
If you are travelling out of your home province but inside Canada, you may want to buy travel insurance. The Canada Health Act requires your home province to extend emergency hospital or doctor coverage to you. However, the services covered and the amount you will be reimbursed varies depending on your home province’s health plan and its agreement with the province where you are travelling. In other words, you could end up with a large medical bill. You can find out exactly what your provincial health plan will cover when you are out of the province (but inside Canada) on your province’s official healthcare services website. Multi-trip travel insurance plan is what you need to have in place to cover excess healthcare costs while travelling inside Canada.
If you are travelling out of the country, it’s a whole different story. The Canada Health Act does not entitle you to coverage for health services outside of Canada. At best, your health plan will cover a small portion of your bill, so you should definitely buy travel health insurance to ensure adequate coverage.
Travel insurance while you are pregnant has some limitations
Travel medical insurance is intended for unexpected medical emergencies. So even though pregnancy is not an illness (and usually not an accident), being pregnant does affect your health. That’s why insurers place limitations on your coverage.
Most travel insurance providers will insure you up to nine weeks before your due date.
If you’ve had no complications during your pregnancy and your doctor confirms your pregnancy is stable, go ahead and make your travel plans. Just be sure to purchase travel insurance in case an unexpected emergency occurs.
If you’ve had any issues during your pregnancy or your doctor advises you not to travel for any reason, you should stay home. Even travel medical insurance may not protect your finances against the unexpected in that case.
What travel medical insurance does not cover during a pregnancy
Your travel medical insurance will not cover these things:
Routine pre-natal care and high-risk pregnancy needs or complications
Childbirth or complications, when they happen in the nine (9) weeks before or after your expected date of delivery
Your child’s needs if they’re born during your trip, because your travel insurance covers you and not your baby).
No insurer will cover the cost of delivering your baby if he or she is born near your expected delivery date. Any costs for the baby’s healthcare – such as incubators, drugs or surgery – are not covered (your baby is not a named insured on your policy).
Some pregnancy travel tips
Here are some other things to keep in mind when you travel while you are pregnant:
Time your travel plans
While most people are aware that you should try to avoid travel after the 8-month mark, the safest time to travel is between the 18th and 24th weeks of pregnancy, during the second trimester. During the first trimester there is a great risk of morning sickness and miscarriage. During the third trimester, there is a higher risk of premature labour.
Consult your doctor before you decide to travel
Tell your doctor when you plan to travel, where you will be going, and how long you will be away. Being aware of the potential medical issues that could arise will set your mind at ease. Depending on your current health, your doctor may recommend that you refrain from travelling, regardless of how far along you are in your pregnancy.
Carry your travel insurance policy with you.
Make sure someone besides you knows how to contact your insurer.
Ready to pack your bags? (For your trip, not the hospital!)
Give us a call. We are happy to help you get the travel insurance coverage you need during this special time.