Vacation season is here and with vaccine roll outs continuing, out of province travel is once again a regular occurrence. Lots of people will be considering their options so now is the perfect chance to address the topic of travel insurance for domestic trips. Only 21% of Canadians are very likely to purchase travel insurance. Even within Canada, skipping on travel insurance is unwise.
Travel Insurance Myths
There are some very common misconceptions amongst Canadians regarding travel insurance.
You don’t need travel insurance if you are travelling within Canada. Every province is different and may not cover all emergency expenses.
Travel insurance is expensive. Rates do vary from provider to provider however you will pay much less than you would if you had to fork out thousands for an expensive claim.
I’m on vacation relaxing so I won’t get sick or injured. Injuries and sickness occur regardless of how relaxed employees plan to be. If such a situation occurs, the small upfront cost of travel insurance is much preferable to being in a hospital realizing that you aren’t covered.
To avoid something like this from happening to your employees, they should be prepared. You don’t want them to be stuck with a bill for $25k due to lack of awareness.
Provincial Coverage isn’t all the same
Provincial health plans and what they cover can vary. Depending on the province in which your employees live and where they intend to visit, the costs for items beyond physician visits and in-hospital treatments associated with an accident or unforeseen event can be completely different. For example if they require an ambulance somewhere, the province may stick your employee with a hefty bill.
Organizational Employee Benefit Plans
Most employers nowadays provide employee benefits plans. Within these plans one may already have some component of travel insurance. It is a good idea for employees to check with their employer or plan administrator to confirm what the plan can cover when travelling.
Plan administrators can obtain this information from their benefits advisor or insurance company.
What to do in case of an emergency
If an emergency occurs on vacation, employees need to know what to do. If the situation is relatively routine such as a doctor’s visit for an eye infection, chances are their workplace plan or private travel plan will request that they pay for the expense out of pocket if it is not fully covered by the inter-provincial healthcare agreement. Upon return from vacation, employees are able to submit covered out-of-pocket expenses for reimbursement.
However, if something major occurs you need to contact your travel insurance or group benefits provider to help successfully manage the situation. They can handle all the procedures that go along with an emergency like locating a doctor/hospital, contacting loved ones, paperwork, payment process etc
Healthcare is provided through the Provincial health care plan in the province in which your employees normally reside. If they have relocated, their old provincial plan will cover them for the first 90 days in the new province. Under the Canada Health Act, provinces must provide equivalent coverage for items specified in the Act, however, there are interprovincial differences with respect to things such as prescription medications and most provinces do not cover certain items such as transportation by ambulance. The latter is something commonly covered under private or group travel insurance. Encourage employees to check what their province covers, do their homework as to whether or not they have coverage under their employee benefits plan and, if necessary, purchase travel coverage.
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