Traveling can produce some of the most enlightening experiences. Seeing how other people around the world carry on their day to day life humbles the mind while exotic locations calm the soul. We live busy lives and it’s cold in winter.
Plus, there’s a lot to see out there
We’re fortunate as Canadians in that we have the means not only to travel but to travel safely. Those of us who do travel should travel safely. We’re used to having at least basic public healthcare as a right here in Ontario but it’s not like that everywhere. While abroad, it’s important you understand how to deal with medical emergencies and healthcare. Have the means.
If you have valid Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) coverage and you leave the country, you have some coverage but it limited. They will reimburse $50 per day for outpatient healthcare billing (the doctor) and a maximum of $400 per day of inpatient care (hospitalization), regardless of the severity of the situation and only for a limited period of time. It certainly would not have the authority of either private health insurance or a wad of cash in a foreign hospital. Some places are generous, others aren’t.
It’s not advisable to rely on OHIP while abroad
If you have valid OHIP, travel health insurance is generally less expensive because you can always be taken back home for care. It’s also easier to get pre-existing medical conditions covered. If you don’t have valid OHIP and are staying abroad, you would need expatriate health insurance. If you’re emigrating then you would also have public and private health insurance options in your country of immigration.
It’s advisable to try to keep your OHIP coverage if you’re not emigrating and if you can. Pre-existing health conditions are more easily covered and prices are generally lower with traditional travel health insurance.
Get a Travel Insurance Quotes
In order to maintain your OHIP coverage, you can’t leave the province for more than 212 days in any 365 day period unless you have lived in the province for at least 153 days the two years prior. In the event that you have, OHIP validity will maintain for two years. You should start looking at expat health insurance only when you are in your second year abroad.
Get Expat Health Insurance Quotes
If your returning to your home province from expatriation to make Ontario your residence again, and you have lost your OHIP coverage, you will be required to wait 3 months to regain coverage. The same applies if you are immigrating to Ontario. You can get private health insurance to bridge that 3 months. Private health insurance will cover you for emergency care, hospitalization, paramedical coverage, prescription care and some dental treatment. It’s typically referred to as visitors to Canada health insurance but it’s not just for visitors.
Get Visitors to Canada Health Insurance Quotes
It’s important that when looking at private health insurance that do business with a provincially licensed broker. You should also look at plans from many different companies. A good broker will typically be able to send you price quotes from many different insurance companies all at once at no extra charge. Ask about exclusion clauses in the policy to consider how they may apply to you. If concerned, examine policy wording as again, a good broker should be able to provide.
In order for traveling to be a positive experience, it’s wise to cover the important bases prior to leaving. No traveler wants to deal with anything as serious as finances in a health emergency. Take care of yourself.
Skip calling all the insurance companies for rates and plan summaries. We’ll send you a menu of all the health benefit plans from all the providers with price quotes tailored to you and your family. We’re skipping all the baloney.
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What happens next?
After requesting price listings, you’ll get an email within 30 minutes providing your broker’s name and contact information. There will be a disclosure in the email for the purpose of transparency, a link to their provincial license as well as their social media. You can get to know your broker as much or as little as you want.
If you request your quote during business hours, you’ll get a
menu of options from your broker within 2 hours. If your request is after
business hours, you can expect it the early the next business day. You will get
a phone call from your broker introducing themselves. If you prefer to only
communicate electronically, that’s okay, let your broker know.
Your broker will further simplify things for you by making a recommendation, but we don’t care which provider you use. We just want your business and to keep it. Let us know how we can do that.
All the plans are numbered, and the summaries are presented in a standardized way which really helps in comparing what the plans cover. If you’re looking for good massage therapy coverage, then plan #1102 can be a good option. If you need affordable major dental coverage that starts quick, plan #6005 is a good one. It can often save you money on the dental alone. To add, our service doesn’t cost you anything extra. You could go to all the insurance companies directly and it would cost you the same amount.
If you want coverage on existing medical conditions or prescription, that’s fine. We’ll send all the plans that available that don’t require a medical questionnaire. If you recently left a group benefits plan, you can get decent prescription coverage that covers existing medication. Plan #2024 is no doubt a high-end plan, but it can cover $200 a month of existing prescription expenses.
End of story.
As Canadians, we’re fortunate to have access to a public healthcare system. We hear these horror stories of people getting 4, 5 and even 6 figure medical bills in the US, dismissing that poor health can cost us our livelihood, even here in Ontario. We have good critical care but chronic illness is treated as an afterthought. Unless your condition is acute, degenerative or deadly, you have to push for public resources to engage healing. You need a referral for diagnostic tests or specialists and waiting in queues can be long.
Having a proper health benefits plan is a game changer in managing your health because it removes the main reason to delay treatment. It’s expensive to pay for medical specialists and diagnostics out of pocket. They’re not a fun expense either. I call it defensive spending because it’s to maintain your quality of life rather than improving it. If it’s the other way around then you’re likely waiting too long to deal with health issues. Kind of like a gym pass, the psychological effect of paying for preventative health services in a health plan will push you to use them which inevitably makes you healthier. People with health benefits are healthier.
Get a Health Benefits Plan Quote
In looking at health benefit plans; you want to get as much as you can for the money. To do that, you should get a plan before you need it. Health plans are way more accessible when you don’t have existing health conditions and medications that need to be covered. If you already have an issue to deal with you can still save money with a health plan but you have to choose the right one. Blue Cross health benefit plans come with a discount program called the Blue Advantage. Using a discount program is the easiest way to reduce your health spending if you’re already dealing with health issues. Blue Cross is the only insurance company offering an extensive discount program with their health benefit plans making them an ideal option.
With Blue Cross, Blue Advantage offers discounts up to 60% on lenses and frames for vision care related spending. If you choose one of their dental hygenist partners, you can access a 20% discount which can be used on top of the dental benefit you have purchased on your Blue Cross plan. Because all discounts can be used on top of existing benefits that the plan provides, the depth of savings is higher than any other plan. You just have to be flexible. There are also discounts at gyms, for physiotherapy, acupuncture, chiropractic care, spinal decompression, nutritional counseling, smoking cessation programs, senior services and a multitude of medical devices. There are more discounts than I can reasonably list.
If you already have a health issue, the Express Plan by Blue Cross will offer you a higher level of coverage for the cost than counterparts because of the Blue Advantage discount program that comes as part of the plan. Not only can the discounts be used for existing medical issues but the coverage can too (with minor exceptions). By stacking Bluecross Express Plan coverage and BlueAdvantage discounts, you can save money on health expenses over the short and long term.
Being proactive in the process of healing is the key to good health. You need to understand your ailments and have the resources to harmonize your health before issues turn into real problems. While awaiting the next OHIP covered step in your healing plan, you should educate yourself by meeting with alternative specialists. See a naturopath, speak with an osteopath, try acupuncture, speak with a psychologist, see a dietician, dive into meditation, try massage therapy, aromatherapy or lose yourself in the jungle. It’s surprising what stress can do and one person won’t have all the answers.
Remove the biggest barrier (which is money) today by getting a quote for a health benefits plan.