Do I need travel medical insurance while travelling within Canada?

By viola wallace | September 27, 2018

One of the many benefits that comes with living in Canada is the government-funded healthcare we enjoy. Without it the cost of healthcare would be too much for most people. As great as this is it does have some limitations. For one healthcare programs are run at a provincial level meaning each province provides healthcare for its residents. So what happens when we travel out of province? Would Alberta Health Care Insurance Program (AHCIP) cover me in Manitoba for instance? The short answer is: “It depends.”

Like most provincial health programs AHCIP would cover you for emergency or immediate medical care but does not cover all medical expenses when you’re outside of Alberta. And this is true for other provinces too. Some provinces require a person to have lived in the province for up to three months before they can access health care or revoke coverage if you’ve been out of the province for a period of time (usually 6 months to a year). Others have reciprocal agreements to provide health care to each other’s residents.

If you plan on traveling outside of your home province but within Canada your best bet would be to secure travel medical insurance before your trip so you don’t have to worry in the event a medical issue arises. This coverage is generally very affordable and will provide coverage where provincial health care may not. This includes:

1. Access to Ambulance Services 

Ambulance services are not covered by your provincial insurance even when you’re in your home province. In Alberta for instance residents pay $250 for an ambulance if they are treated at the scene but not transported to a hospital or $385 if transported to a hospital. The costs will likely be higher when traveling in another province but such costs can be covered by travel medical insurance policy.

2. Prescription Medications 

Coverage for prescription medications varies by province. Often newer or more experimental drugs may not be covered by all provinces. Either situation could leave you out of pocket for expensive drugs. If prescribed to treat an unexpected sickness or injury then your travel insurance can provide cover you for these prescriptions or fly you home at no cost to receive the medication you need.

3. Additional Medical Expenses and Extra Travel Benefits 

Unlike provincial medical insurance travel insurance would cover any costs like dental emergencies and can cover cancellation or changes to your trip due to medical reasons. In extreme cases like death during travel you benefit from travel insurance policy’s accidental death insurance and the cost’s associated with repatriating your body will be covered.

Check out this story of a time when one of our employees landed in the emergency room while travelling due to an allergic reaction. 

Fortunately obtaining  travel medical insurance is easy to do especially if you’re healthy and under the age of 65 – but if you’re not don’t worry. Your broker can help you find coverage and navigate any medical questionnaires if necessary. Generally this coverage is a very affordable peace of mind. Whatever your travel plans make sure that both your health and finances are protected.