You may as well ask how much a car or a pair of shoes cost. If you’re healthy, young, traveling for only a couple of weeks and need no pre-existing coverage you might be able to buy insurance for less than $3 a day. If you’re 65, traveling for 90 days and in reasonable health for your age (perhaps taking medication for high blood pressure or some chronic condition that is under control) you might pay twice that. Still not bad, when you consider how much Americans pay for their private health insurance. If, on the other hand, you’re 82, have a medical history, are being treated for an existing condition and are about to leave on a 186-day winter snowbird vacation in Florida, you could pay $20 a day—or more. The bigger the risk, the more you pay. Your neighbour may be the same age as you, but because of the number and types of medications he takes, he might pay 50 percent more than you for a policy of the same duration.
Shop around. The more estimates you get (but make sure all your estimates are based on the same facts) the better price you may get. Comparing one plan that offers first dollar coverage with another that has a $500 deductible doesn’t make much sense. Some plans do charge less than others. Some insurers concentrate their products on snowbirds. others on short term, frequent, or business travelers. Find the plan that fits you best, but don’t try to cut corners by buying a plan that doesn’t fit your age, or health profile. It’s not worth saving a few dollars now only to have your claim denied later because you “forgot” to disclose a pre-existing condition, or neglected to list all of your medications on your application. Check out the section on How To Find Savings to help lower your premiums.
Thanks to the strengthening loonie, Canadian insurers have more purchasing power in paying for healthcare services in the United States. This has helped keep premium prices quite stable over the past three or four years and the 2007-2008 winter travel season should be no exception.