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The Great-West Life Assurance Company, London Life Insurance Company and The Canada Life Assurance Company have become one company – The Canada Life Assurance Company. Discover the new Canada Life

The Great-West Life Assurance Company, London Life Insurance Company and The Canada Life Assurance Company have become one company – The Canada Life Assurance Company. Discover the new Canada Life

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Freedom 55 Financial is a division of The Canada Life Assurance Company and the information you requested can be found here.

Travel medical insurance

Key takeaways

  • Your usual health insurance may not cover you while you’re travelling.
  • Travel medical insurance can help cover medical emergencies while you’re away.
  • Travel medical insurance can be purchased as part of your other health coverage.

What is travel medical insurance?

When you travel outside of province or outside of Canada, the health insurance coverage you rely on when you’re at home (whether government or individual) may not cover you for accident or illness – and if you are covered, the amount may be much smaller.

This means that if you get hurt or become ill while you’re travelling, you’ll be responsible for any medical bills you incur. This can become very costly, very quickly, and some hospitals may even require upfront payment before they’ll treat you.

That’s where travel medical insurance comes in.

Travel medical insurance is different than trip cancellation insurance, which can cover the cost of your flight or hotel if you have to cancel.

When do you need travel medical insurance?

Anytime you’re leaving your province – even if it’s just for a day trip – you should consider getting travel medical insurance. This is because the second you cross that provincial border, you may no longer have the same coverage as you did at home.

This means you need it when:

  • You’re travelling outside your home province or territory 
  • You’re travelling to the USA 
  • You’re travelling internationally 

What do government health plans cover?

Canada has 13 provincial and territorial health plans that provide basic health coverage to residents. What’s covered by these when you travel will depend on both where you live and where you’re travelling.

Travelling within Canada

In accordance with the Canada Health ActOpens a new website in a new window provinces and territories must extend medically necessary hospital and physician coverage to eligible residents when they travel outside that province or territory.

While specific cases may vary, this generally means that you can present an eligible health card when you receive treatment at a hospital or doctor’s office, and costs will be billed directly to your provincial or territorial plan.

This is to prevent Canadians potentially not being able to access medical care due to upfront costs, although in some cases, you may need to pay upfront for services and then claim reimbursement from your home provincial or territorial plan when you return.

Some health services, known as “additional benefits”, are usually not covered outside your home province or territory. Examples include:

If you’re planning to travel to a different province or territory, check your applicable Ministry of Health websiteOpens a new website in a new window to confirm what is and isn’t covered, and make sure to always carry your health card with you. Even if you’re travelling within the country, you may find it still makes sense to have some additional coverage in place.

Travelling outside of Canada

It is strongly recommended that when travelling outside of Canada, residents have travel insurance prior to leavingOpens a new website in a new window.

This is because your provincial or territorial health insurance may not cover your medical bills while you’re outside Canada, or only cover a small portion of the total.

The Government never pays for medical bills outside of Canada upfront, meaning you’d need to pay for services at the time of treatment and then claim reimbursement.

Depending on where you’re travelling to and the type of medical assistance you need, this could potentially amount to hundreds if not thousands of dollars.

Travel health insurance can help give you access to medical care in some countries where, if you’re unable to pay upfront, you may be denied treatment.

Whether you’re a frequent flyer, a snowbird or planning a special once-in-a-lifetime trip, buying travel insurance can help ensure that should something unexpected happen, you and your loved ones are able to receive the necessary medical treatment.

If you’re part of a Canada Life workplace benefit plan, sign into your account or speak to a health and wealth consultant to add travel medical insurance to your existing coverage. If you have personal health and dental coverage such as Freedom to Choose, learn more about adding travel insurance to your plan.

What does travel medical insurance cover?

It can vary between plans, but these are usually covered:

  • Emergency care, like an injury or a sudden illness like heart attack or appendicitis
  • Medical evacuation, either home to Canada or the nearest place with the right level of medical care
  • Repatriation if you pass away
  • Medical costs up to a maximum amount, which can vary depending on your plan 
  • Pre-existing conditions, although pre-travel stability periods may apply

What doesn’t travel medical insurance cover?

Again, it varies but these are pretty standard exclusions:

  • Injuries or death caused by high-risk activities, like skydiving or scuba diving
  • Routine or elective care
  • COVID-19, although some plans – like Canada Life’s Freedom to Choose™ health and dental insurance – may provide coverage 
  • Certain destinations, particularly if the government has issued a travel advisory  

How do you get travel medical insurance?

There are a few different ways to get travel insurance:

  • Your workplace or group benefits plan
  • Your individual health and dental insurance plan, where it may be offered as additional coverage (For example, Freedom to Choose health and dental insurance allows you to purchase it as an add-on to your health insurance, often for just a few extra dollars a month)
  • A credit card that includes travel insurance coverage
  • A company offering single trip travel policies

What kinds of travel insurance can you get?

Annual or multi-trip medical insurance

This can cover any trips you take over an entire year, and is a great choice for a frequent traveller

Single trip travel medical insurance

This is a plan that you buy for a specific time period, which means you’re only covered for the days on your policy

What's next?

  • When you’re planning your next trip, make sure you’re covered for any health emergencies that aren’t covered by your usual insurance.
  • If you have or are considering an individual health insurance plan, think about adding travel medical insurance as optional extra coverage.

Want to learn more about Freedom to Choose™ health and dental insurance?

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