Do I need private health insurance to go South?


Canadian health care coverage such as OHIP, is ridiculously inadequate if you are involved in an emergency medical and hospital situation in the US. Snowbird Accidents always recommends you purchase, affordable private medical and hospital coverage when travelling outside of Canada.

Sounds great but there are two elephants in the room .

  1. The Covid dilemma”: The majority of the insurance policies “advisories and associations” are trying to sell to you, are only available to those fully vaccinated. If your not vaccinated finding a policy that covers you for covid related illnesses will be nigh impossible and if it does the premium, limitations and exclusions might make it almost worthless. Regardless check the fine print. Your broker should discuss the premium with you and the exclusions and limitations: A) what is the financial limit the insurer will cover for Covid medical/hospital related expenses. Being sick in the US is insanely expensive; B) does the policy limit cover you if your only vaccinated – what happens if your partially vaccinated – what is the definition of “full” and “partial”; C) does the policy cover you if your going to a high risk area which Florida and most other southern states now fall into; and D) how long is the policy good for – most have short finite travel times of coverage – ie 15 +- days. The longer your away the more it costs.
  2. Most Canadian Private Health Care travel policies exclude claims arising from pre-existing illnesses, injuries, or diseases. As we get older and have various aches and ailments the policies become very expensive. Remember insurers only want healthy people – so as we age and accumulate health conditions – the exclusions become more onerous with the policy eventually falling into the category as “totally useless”.

As always speak to your broker and read the fine print. Sometimes even a little coverage is better then no coverage.

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