Now that Christmas holidays are over, Canadians of all ages will be planning for winter and spring break vacations. We have no concerns about boomers and elderly travellers getting out-of-country health insurance. The usually do. It’s the younger travellers who don’t seem to get the message, and they need to.
We have dozens of studies showing that most people under 35 rarely or never get travel insurance, and as some researchers have noted: “they think they are invincible.” But records from hospital emergency rooms show that during the winter or spring-break periods, young people are their most frequent patients—from accidents, falls, stepping on glass on the beach or sting rays in the surf, as well as pre-existing physical conditions they have failed to factor into their travel plans.
Unfortunately, hospitals do not offer children or teen or student rates. And hospital emergency rooms are the most expensive access points for treatment of a medical emergency. Even a few hours in an emergency room, treating a broken leg or diagnosing a chest or abdominal pain (that may have been generated by bad food or too much drink) can cost thousands.
And who must end up paying if the travellers have no insurance? Mom or Dad. Which is something Mom and Dad should pay attention to and make sure their offspring either have travel insurance as part of their spring break package, or pay for the insurance themselves. It’s a lot cheaper than the alternative.
The irony is that young people and pre-boomers are usually the healthiest segment of the population and their insurance premiums are the cheapest of any demographic group. For most of them, insurance for a week in Cancun is less than the cost of several drinks at a beachside pub. Which brings up another point:
As good as travel insurance benefits are, they do not cover accidents or illnesses resulting from alcohol or other drug misuse. Ask the parents of some spring breakers whose sons or daughters tried jumping from hotel balconies into the pool after having a few beers.
Travel insurance is great protection: but it is premised on the purchaser being a partner in a contract and upholding his or her end of the deal, whether the traveller is an octogenarian snowbird or a teenage student.