Originally Published by: ReFined Kingston

With the summer behind us, kids back at school and the leaves changing colour, plans to get away from our cold winters are soon to be in full swing.

If you’re crossing the border to the U.S. or another destination, it is important to ensure you have the proper Out-of-Country (OOC) emergency medical insurance.

This coverage protects you from the high medical costs of having an unexpected or unforeseen medical emergency while outside your home province or country. There may also be some coordination services included your coverage (ie: returning rental cars, childcare for children of a parent who is hospitalized, flying a loved one to be with an insured person who is hospitalized for a number of days, etc.

Typically, there are two ways to secure this coverage:

Group Insurance:
If you are covered by an employee benefits plan with your employer, you likely have OOC insurance within the healthcare coverage*. Standard OOC coverage within a group insurance plan will cover the employee and their dependents year-round with a maximum per trip limitation of 60 days and an overall coverage maximum (generally from $1,000,000 to Unlimited).

Individual Travel Plans:
If you are self-employed, do not have access to group insurance coverage through your employer or are retired, you will need to  investigate your options for a personalized emergency out of country insurance plan. These types of coverage can be tailored to your travel plans. Do you need coverage for a single trip, an annual plan that allows you to take a number of trips with certain per trip duration limitations, or maybe a combination of both? Meeting with an insurance advisor can help you determine the type of coverage that is right for you.

Pre-existing Conditions:

As mentioned at the beginning of this article, OOC insurance provides coverage for expenses arising from unexpected and unforeseen medical emergencies. If you have a medical condition that you are being treated for or have recently been treated for, a medical emergency arising from that condition may not be eligible for coverage if it is considered unstable. Generally, the stability clause states any new condition for which an individual is treated for or a change in treatment for an ongoing condition within 90 days of departure would not be eligible for coverage.

Examples of an unstable condition could be one where you have received treatment from a medical professional or simply changed the dosage or frequency of an ongoing medication. It is important to note if you have an unstable condition, it would only be emergencies as a result of this condition that would not be covered; other unrelated medical emergencies would be eligible.

*Disclaimer: Every insurance policy is different. If you have questions about your coverage, talk to your insurer prior to traveling outside of Canada

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