Now your friends and family may drop by more frequently thanks to more relaxed visa requirements and more direct flights to Canada. If they hadn’t had Canada on their bucket list before, travel publications like the Lonely Planet Guide may have sparked their interest when it declared Canada to be a top tourist destination. Today more and more visitors from Mexico, Brazil and India (as well as other countries), are enjoying everything Canada has to offer.
Why do all of these visitors need to buy travel health insurance?
Visitors may think that Canada’s universal healthcare system will cover them when they visit, but it does not. Unlike Canadian residents with healthcare coverage for physician care and hospital care, visitors to Canada will receive a bill for any medical services they need.
The cost for medical care in Canada can be high. A stay at a Canadian hospital can cost up to $4,000 a day, for example. Or an emergency room visit can leave a visitor to Canada up to $1,000 out of pocket.
Whether these visitors are coming from a visa exempt country (like the over 14 million U.S. citizens who visited last year) or they require a visitor visa like over one million individuals applied for and had issued, insurance is a key component of their trip.
Travel health insurance helps to financially protect your visitors in case a health emergency occurs when they visit Canada, so make sure coverage is in place.
As the host, can you arrange the insurance?
Visitors insurance may be arranged by the visitor or their host. It can be purchased on-line or by email or fax. If the host arranges coverage on behalf of visiting family or friends, the visitor themselves will receive the policy.
Being able to help with the insurance arrangements on your visitors’ behalf can be very beneficial. You can make it easier for them if they encounter a language barrier, or have difficulty calling a broker from abroad.
It is important to ensure that your visitors are aware of standard policy language around exclusions for pre-existing medical conditions.
Generally, an individual may be eligible to be covered for a pre-existing medical condition based on the type of condition, severity and if it is considered stable. The term ‘stable’ may require the following in relation to a pre-existing medical condition:
- No new diagnosis, treatment or prescribed medication
- No change in treatment or medication, including the amount taken or frequency
- No new symptoms or more frequent or severe symptoms
- No test results showing deterioration
- Not awaiting test results investigating the condition
- Not been hospitalized or referred to a specialist
What will the travel health insurance cover?
Visitors to Canada insurance is intended to cover unforeseen or unexpected medical costs. Coverage could be for something as minor as an ear infection or a walk-in clinic visit, up to more serious conditions such as appendicitis, a hip fracture, or something requiring hospital admission as an inpatient for a couple of days.
Depending on the policy purchased, sometimes Your visitor will receive a card they can show at the healthcare facility. It is important that the patient call their insurance provider before seeking treatment, unless the health situation is an emergency.
If called in advance, the insurer may be able to contact the hospital or clinic before the visit and arrange direct billing, so the patient doesn’t have to pay anything out of pocket.
Does it matter how long the visitor stays?
Whether your visitors plan on staying one week with family, one month for an adventure, or for a year-long tour, they should all have travel health insurance. If a visitor is coming to work, study or stay for an extended period of time, having travel health insurance in place is vital.
Parents and grandparents of Canadian citizens and Canadian permanent residents may be eligible for a super visa that is valid for up to 10 years, and allows the visitor multiple entries into Canada, for up to two years at a time. Visitors applying for the super visa will require emergency medical insurance from a Canadian insurance provider in order to be accepted. To learn more about the super visa, and its requirements and conditions, visit Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s website at https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship.html
Speak to our experts today, before your visitors arrive
There are a variety of plans available to meet the emergency medical insurance needs of visitors to Canada. Insurance option amounts have both large and small sum insureds and extended or short policy periods. Talk to one of our experts for help planning the coverage that will meet your visitors’ needs.