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Why you need medical travel insurance for trips within Canada

Why you need medical travel insurance for trips within Canada

The experience of a mother from Alberta provided Canadians with a valuable lesson about the need for travel insurance even for travel between provinces.

According to Angela Mulholland of CTV News: “Amy Savill, from High Prairie, Alta., went into labour two months early while vacationing in Ontario last month. The hospital where she gave birth was not equipped to handle an infant as premature as Savill’s, so they were airlifted to a larger facility in Sudbury.”

The second surprise, after giving birth to her daughter, was a hefty medical bill for the cost of the air ambulance.

Like many Canadians, she was not aware that she would need travel insurance while travelling within the country.

“Didn’t even dawn on me. My family is in Nova Scotia, so I travel the country quite often and I’ve never purchased insurance,” she said.

Most Canadians are not aware that not all of their medical expenses are covered by their provincial health insurance plans, which is why getting travel insurance is a good idea every time you travel out of province.

“I don’t think a lot of Canadians understand there are gaps in a lot of areas. Air evacuations are one, land ambulances are another – anything outside of core services may not be covered,” states Robin Ingle, travel insurance expert and CEO of Ingle International.

Many Canadians assume that they will be fine as long as they are travelling within the country. This is true to some extent. Many medical costs are covered through reciprocal agreements between the provinces. If you get sick or need to see a doctor, your fees may be covered. However, the extent of the coverage varies from province to province.

According to Ontario’s Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, there are two cases when an Ontario resident’s medical services would be covered by OHIP while outside Ontario but within Canada:

  1. Emergency/immediate medical care required unexpectedly while travelling, working or attending school outside of Ontario but within Canada.
  2. Non-emergency planned medical care required outside Ontario but within Canada. These services are requested or recommended by either a licensed or practicing Ontario physician or a licensed and practicing physician who will be providing the services in another province or territory. The ministry requires that certain insured services must be approved prior to the health services being provided.

As Amy Savill found out, services like air ambulances and other expensive medical costs are not covered. Before you travel, look into what medical costs are covered by your home province in the province you will be visiting.

To make sure there are no gaps in coverage, your best bet is investing in travel insurance. With travel insurance, you won’t have to worry about a costly medical bill if you require medical attention outside your home province.

If you are planning a vacation or have a work trip coming up that is in a different province, explore your travel insurance options with Blue Cross. We have travel insurance for all travellers, allowing you to travel worry-free, knowing you are covered should you require medical assistance during your trip.