If you are Canadian and you travel within Canada, do you need extra travel insurance coverage?
It is a good idea to purchase additional insurance while travelling within Canada in order to avoid unexpected and costly health care expenses.
My parents live in Ontario and would like to travel to Vancouver, British Columbia to visit their grandchildren. What happens if one of my parents requires hospitalization in Vancouver? Who will pay for their health care expenses? Are health care costs covered from one province to another or do they need extra health insurance when travelling within Canada?
Some medical expenses are covered when you are in another province. For example, if your parents need to visit a hospital emergency department or visit a physician while travelling in Canada, their home province would pay for those services.
However, if your parents require an air ambulance trip back to their home province, then this service would not be covered. More information can be found on the FAQ page for the Canada Health Act.
The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care recommends that you purchase private supplementary insurance when travelling and this includes travelling within your home country.
Each province has its own health care plan
Many people think that our health care system is a national program however in Canada, health care is governed by each individual province. This means that each province has a separate health care plan.
It is a good idea to purchase additional insurance while travelling within Canada in order to avoid unexpected and costly health care expenses. Preparing for a trip should always include research on supplemental travel insurance options like those offered by the Canadian Association of Blue Cross.
Coverage through employee benefits program
If your parents are employed they should contact their employee benefits program before travelling to determine if they qualify for existing travel insurance. They should ask for a list of the services that are covered under a pre-existing plan, as they may need to purchase additional travel insurance coverage.
After travel insurance has been purchased, or your parents have been enrolled in a pre-existing plan, it is a good idea to keep a copy of the telephone number for the insurance company in a wallet or purse. This will ensure that it is easily accessible if and when it is needed.
While travelling within Canada, it is the patient’s responsibility to ask the hospital/medical facility whether they accept his/her provincial health care coverage before the medical services are provided. If the health care plan from the home province will not cover the medical services, the travel insurance company should be contacted.
The travel insurance company will provide details about the coverage of the medical services that are required and how to proceed.
Paying for medical services
If the provincial health care plan will cover the medical services, the physician has the option of billing the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care or they can request that you pay them directly.
If you are required to pay the physician directly, the physician should provide you with a detailed statement listing the services that were provided. You can submit the statement to the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care for reimbursement within 12 months of receiving the medical services along with the required supporting documents. Visit the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care’s website for more information on out-of-province medical services.
It is a good idea to keep a copy of the statement in the event that additional information is required.
Having your parents travel can be stressful but with a little preparation, and supplemental travel insurance, the visit can be enjoyed by all.
At Elizz, we provide caregiver support for you and home care services for those who depend on you. Elizz is a Canadian company powered by Saint Elizabeth, a national not-for-profit health care organization that has been caring for Canadians since 1908.
You might also like our Elizz article on Tips for Travelling with Mobility Issues.