Travel insurance is undoubtedly a good idea when vacationing, either as a stand-alone policy or part of a comprehensive one. But what about those with pre-existing conditions? Can they still obtain protection from insurance providers? Read on to find out in our article today!
Why should I buy travel insurance?
There are some reasons why you should purchase travel insurance when you travel outside of Canada, even for a day in the United States, according to The Government of Canada:
- Your Canadian Health Insurance might not pay your medical fees while you are outside of the country.
- Your provincial or territorial health plan never pays your bills upfront. It covers neither or only an insignificant amount of your medical care overseas.
- Hospitals in foreign countries can be expensive with the requirement of immediate cash payments.
- Hospitals and clinics can even refuse to provide treatments in some nations if you do not have adequate insurance or money to pay your bills.
- The Government of Canada will not take care of your medical bills.
What is a pre-existing condition?
Basically, any medical condition that exists and is known about prior to the trip is regarded as “pre-existing.” Additionally, suppose you have any illness or injury that is given medical advice, diagnosis, medication, and further consultation or treatment is recommended before the departure date. In that case, they will fall in this category.
Pre-existing conditions are divided into two sub-categories, namely mild and serious conditions. These two types might receive different treatments from insurers.
Mild pre-existing conditions
Many Canadian citizens experience some forms of mild and manageable pre-existing conditions, such as diabetes or asthma. As long as these conditions do not have a debilitating effect on your daily lives, travel insurance is certainly available for you.
In this case, you will likely be given a “rated” policy with a slightly higher premium. It will also require medical exams to grant you coverage in the form of a blood or urine test to ensure that you do not suffer from any other conditions.
Serious pre-existing conditions
Even if you are survivors of severe conditions, such as heart disease, stroke, or cancer, you can have peace of mind knowing that you will be covered by insurance providers.
However, it is noteworthy that these policies can only be purchased after a certain number of years after the date of confirmed recovery by your physician. Coverage is also offered as rated policies.
What is considered “stable”?
Travel insurance rates are calculated based on relatively good or stable health. For this reason, you could risk receiving partial coverage or no coverage whatsoever if you have a medical condition that has not been declared pre-existing.
In the travel insurance world, having “stable conditions” means you have not experienced medical issues, or they have not gotten worse for a specified period depending on your age. This stable period of health, decided by the insurers, can vary from 30 days to a year.
To illustrate, pre-existing conditions must be stable for three months before departure for 69-year-olds and under. On the other hand, for customers over 70, the stable period of health is six months prior to departure.
Some changes that will render your case “unstable” include:
- a medical procedure or intervention
- a change in medication or medical treatment
- new or more frequent symptoms
- a required investigative test into complications or new symptoms (other than a routine check-up)
- A change in referral to a specialist
What should my policy cover?
It is incredibly crucial that you clarify with the insurance brokers/ agents/ advisors carefully the definition of, and the limitations and restrictions on, any pre-existing conditions and medical treatments you may have had.
Make sure you receive a written agreement that your insurance policy covers your pre-existing medical condition. Otherwise, your claims could be deemed “null and void” under a pre-existing condition clause.
This agreement should include:
- a compassion clause stating that an inaccurate statement may not invalidate the entire policy, and
- a change of health clause.
Moreover, a stability clause needs to be stated in the agreement saying if you are to be covered for any pre-existing conditions for a certain period of time (stability period):
- you must have no changes to your medical condition
- you must have no new medical conditions, symptoms, or medications during the stability period prior to departure.
The Bottom Line
Even a minor mishap, like a sprained ankle, can ruin the trip you have been dreaming about and planning for months. It can tear a hole in your pocket. And, if you or a family member requires airlifts or hospitalization because of a more serious medical incident, the financial hit will be even more considerable. Therefore, buying travel insurance can be helpful on your trips, even if you have pre-existing conditions. If you need some assistance, want to avoid insurance mistakes, or want to find out the quotes for certain travel insurance companies, you can always visit Insurance Direct Canada, our go-to option for insurance brokerage service in Canada!