Finding the right travel medical insurance for seniors isn’t easy, but the trick is understanding what you need and the options that are out there. In this handy guide, I go over pre-existing medical conditions, stability clauses, and how long you can be insured for.
Travel insurance for pre-existing medical conditions
If you’re unfamiliar with what your insurance considers a pre-existing condition, it’s generally defined as:
a) a dental or medical condition, illness or injury that has been diagnosed, and for which you have consulted, or received dental or medical treatment before the date you leave for your trip; or,
b) a dental or medical condition, illness or injury that has not yet been diagnosed, and for which you were experiencing symptoms before the date you leave for your trip; or,
c) A medically recognized complication or recurrence of a medical or dental condition, illness or injury, whether or not the condition was diagnosed before the date you leave for your trip.
Every insurance provider has a different definition of “pre-existing condition”, so find out the details before purchasing any insurance.
Some insurance providers may ask you to complete a Medical Health Questionnaire. This will help the insurance provider determine if you’re eligible for coverage, and the cost of insurance.
The Medical Health Questionnaires assess medical risk; the healthier you are, the lower your premium. In the event that you do need to make a claim, the insurer will look into your medical history, so it is important to answer the questions in the Medical Health Questionnaire correctly.
If you have any questions about how to answer your Medical Health Questionnaire, you should consult with your doctor. Although your insurance provider and/or travel agent can answer questions about the questionnaire itself, they are not qualified to comment about and/or advise you on your medical history. Here are some tips for answering your Medical Health Questionnaire properly.
Can I still be insured?
Just because you have a pre-existing condition doesn’t mean you won’t be able to get coverage. If your medical condition has remained stable for a certain length of time (e.g. 3, 6, 12 months) prior to the start of your trip, you can be covered for your pre-existing conditions. It’s important to note that the stability requirement is usually based on your age and trip length.
The length of stability differs with each insurance provider; some even offer policies that do not have any stability requirements. It’s important to be aware that even something minor like a change to your prescription medication could affect the stability of your condition, so check with your doctor if you’re unsure about anything.
There’s no doubt about it; answering a Medical Health Questionnaire can make us nervous. It seems like we all know a friend of a friend who’s been stuck with a medical bill after their insurer denied them their claim due to an error made when completing their questionnaire, but there is a way to foolproof yourself. Some travel insurance policies offer what’s called a Medical Health Questionnaire deductible, and one of these is TuGo’s Traveller policy.
What makes this policy great is that if you made an unintentional mistake on your medical questionnaire, a deductible will be applied so you don’t get stuck with a massive medical bill in the event something happens on your trip. Make no mistake, the deductible is not cheap coming in at $10,000, but considering how expensive medical treatment can be outside of Canada, I’d still call it a bargain especially if you have complicated health issues.
Other insurance companies may void coverage, so regardless of which insurance provider you decide to go with, reading your policy is a must.
What travel insurance benefits do I get?
It will vary from policy to policy, but to give you a better idea of what you should be looking for, here are a few of the benefits TuGo’s Traveller Travel Medical Insurance provides:
1. Emergency medical treatment which includes:
- Hospitalization or medical treatment as a result of a medical emergency, up to $5,000,000 CAD
- Ambulance services
- Medicines and/or drugs
2. Emergency air transportation
3. Dental services
Note: All pre-existing conditions are covered when travel is within Canada
How long can I be insured for?
Most provinces will require you to be in your home province for 6 months each year. If you’re 60 or older, most travel insurance policies should cover you for the 6 month period you’re out of province. There are some exceptions however; if your province allows you to stay out of province for more than 6 months, TuGo policies can cover you for 212 days, provided you live in BC, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, New Brunswick or Nova Scotia. Read on to see whether you need provincial health coverage to be able to buy travel medical insurance for seniors.
It is possible to extend your coverage if you’re already on vacation and decide to stay a bit longer, but you would need to contact your insurer for the details.
Travelling without the proper travel medical insurance for seniors, especially if you have medical conditions, is a huge mistake.
Regardless of which insurer you decide to go with, be sure to consult with your doctor if you have any health concerns, and read your policy in detail to make sure you have the coverage that you need.