January is here and during these cold, gloomy times we all long to get on a plane and head south to a beach for some vitamin D and vitamin “sea”.
Travel insurance has long been a thorn in our side. The insurer asks you in the application to complete a long list of every ailment you ever suffered from in a set period of time and if you fail to disclose one thing, the insurer can use this as a basis to deny insurance! They refund your policy fee and leave you to deal with the high medical bills you incurred on vacation. If your travel was to the USA, this can be steep!
The reason the insurance company can do this is that they do not actually ‘approve’ insurance coverage until you make a claim. Many, many Canadians have fallen victim to this because they have suffered an injury or illness while on vacation onto to be denied insurance coverage because they forgot to disclose a visit to their doctor a year ago to check for a sore back, high blood pressure, or diabetes.
Thankfully, BC has now introduced the BC Service Card App. Once you go through the rigorous registration process, you have access on the App to every medical appointment, x-ray, lab result, and a hospital visit. You can use this list to complete your travel insurance application, or better yet, print off the list and attach it to your travel insurance application! Then the insurer can never say you missed disclosing something and you can rest easy that your insurance will be approved if you become injured or ill while on vacation outside Canada and need to make a claim.
Also important to remember, if your insurance is denied, MSP will pay a small portion of the medical bill (the amount they would have paid if you used services in BC) and the American hospitals will negotiate the amount owing with you because you are now ‘un-insured’ and therefore fall under a different pay rate. You can also ask the foreign hospital for an ‘itemized invoice’ which will usually reduce the total as well because the hospital will reduce things like the cost of band-aids and other common items to avoid looking like they are price gouging.