Travel to Canada Surges, So Does the Need for Medical Protection

Canada remains an increasingly attractive country to visit. Recent data from Statistics Canada verifies that in the first 8 months of 2016, the number of visitors from Europe, Asia Pacific, Central and South America, and to a lesser degree the United States ( due to a poorly performing loonie) have been breaking records.

According to Statistics Canada’s August 2016 Tourism Snapshot:

Canada welcomed 12.4 million overnight visits from international travelers from its 11 most popular overseas destinations in the first 8 months of 2016. That is up 10.4 percent over the comparable period in 2015—14.4 percent if travel from the US is discounted. And where are all of these visitors coming from? China is comes in first with 428,000 visitors, followed by Europe’s 3 main markets (UK, France, Germany), Japan, South Korea, Australia, India and increasingly from South America as well.

Analysis of the numbers indicate that many come to Canada to visit family, relatives and friends, which puts those of you who may host visitors responsible to make sure they are protected from the potentially damaging costs of emergency medical care should they have a serious accident or unexpected illness.


Medical Care in Canada is Expensive

Though you may not ordinarily be presented with a bill for hospital or medical services when dealing with a health emergency in Canada, your visitor will. And if he or she doesn’t have appropriate health insurance specifically designed for foreign travel (their own national health insurance will not do), they will be expected to pay, right then and there, by cash, credit card, or some other legally-promissory device.

And, be warned, Canadian hospitals are very expensive—among the most expensive in the world.

For Canadians, who are shielded from those costs, this sometimes comes as a surprise.

A stay in a Canadian hospital ward can easily cost $5,000 a day or more: multiply that if the stay involves intensive care, surgery, specialist care, or additional medically-necessary services. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)—a data-sharing organization of the world’s most developed nations– Canada is among the world’s top 6 most expensive nations in respect to health care spending.


Visitors to Canada Travel Insurance

Fortunately, travel health insurance for visitors to Canada (even long-term family visitors) is easily available. There is no excuse for not ensuring that your visitors are aware of the need for it. You don’t want to be put in the position of having to “vouch” for them if they unexpectedly need hospitalization while in Canada and can’t pay for it.

Many visitors will be able to obtain insurance for foreign travel in their home countries. But they must make sure that coverage is adequate to comprehensively cover the high bills they might encounter in Canada, and that it covers them the moment they set foot on Canadian soil.

If there is any doubt about the comprehensiveness of that coverage, Visitors to Canada travel insurance is easily available from the same sources that provide Canadians the out-of-country insurance they purchase when they travel internationally, and is specifically designed to cover your visiting family and friends in Canadian hospitals for services provided by Canadian doctors and technologies. It is tailor-made for that purpose.

Most travel insurance providers—agents, brokerages, many associations such as the Canadian Association of Retired Persons, the Canadian Snowbird Association, banks and financial organizations, and all of the travel insurance providers represented on this website, offer good quality plans for this purpose.


Rules You Need to Know:

Immediate Coverage

Make sure that the policy being purchased covers applicants from the moment they land in Canada. That means it must be pre-purchased prior to travel.

Insurance purchased in Canada after your visitors arrive will be subject to a waiting period—perhaps 2 or even 3 days before benefits kick in. During that time, your visitors remain vulnerable.  The waiting period is quite deliberate and it’s intended to prevent people who are already ill from flying to Canada, buying coverage immediately after landing, and heading directly to a hospital for “free care”. It happens.


Be Aware of Pre-existing Conditions

Also, warn your prospective visitors that when applying, whether they do it directly or you do it on their behalf, that pre-existing conditions exclusions might apply. So they, or you, must understand the exclusions rules and requirements. For this reason, it is wise, when assisting family or friends planning to visit you from abroad, to deal with professionals who know the products and can guide the applicants through them.


Deal with Professionals

It’s not hard. It’s not confusing or very time-consuming when dealing with appropriately-trained personnel. And it’s a lot less stressful than being confronted by a hospital administrator demanding to know how the bill is going to be paid.


Planning a visit to Canada? Check out our visitors to Canada insurance.

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