The Naked Truth: Too Many Canadians Travel Uncovered

Six per cent of Canadians travel without underwear, according to a revealing national survey. Far more dare to go without travel health insurance, though. A third of us leave the country completely uncovered.

The naked truth, according to John Thain, president of the Travel Health Insurance Association of Canada, is that “travel health insurance should be as essential to a vacation as underwear.”

The cost of treating an ordinary fracture in the United States––an average of $10,000­­––would be a “financial crisis” to many. About a third of poll respondents rated a $1,000 or $5,000 bill as a financial crisis.

Other revealing findings were these:

  • Six per cent realize that provincial health plans cover only about 9 per cent of out-of-country medical expenses.
  • Twenty-one per cent of travellers have required medical attention during one trip or another.
  • Only 60 per cent of those had insurance to pay for the associated expenses.
  • Thirty per cent admitted to binge drinking while on vacation. (If they were injured due to excessive drinking, they would not have full travel health coverage.)
  • The top three reasons for needing care were:
    • Gastrointestinal issues (21.8 per cent)
    • Infection (16.2 per cent)
    • Fractures (10.7 per cent)

“Many people will already have some coverage through employers or credit cards,” Thain noted in a news release. “It’s important,” he cautioned, “to understand [your] existing coverage and ensure you have the necessary supplemental coverage.”

THIA recommends that you:

  • Know your health status, and consult a health care provider if you have any questions about your eligibility for coverage.
  • Understand your travel insurance policy; insurance companies have staff available to answer any questions related to their policies.

It’s important to cover your assets. So don’t join the 40 per cent of Canadians who risk leaving without out-of-country medical coverage. When you buy coverage, be sure you qualify by answering the questions on your application truthfully and accurately. Beware that any changes to your health status before travelling, and your behaviour and activities during your travels, could strip away your eligibility for coverage.

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