While Canada has a comprehensive Medicare system, it protects permanent residents of Canada, not foreign visitors. If you break a leg in Whistler, British Columbia, or get the flu in Witless Bay, Newfoundland, you pay the full price for any medical treatment you need. Before you leave for Canada, be sure to purchase trip insurance.
Travel medical insurance for visitors to Canada is designed to protect visitors to Canada in case they experience an unexpected medical emergency. Plans may also cover short visits from Canada to neighboring countries such as the United States and St. Pierre and Miquelon. Without coverage, you could face an expensive bill for medical services such as doctors and medications. A travel insurance policy is definitely worth the cost.
Visitors to Canada include new immigrants. Until their residencies are finalized and they complete a waiting period, they are not covered by government health plans. Temporary workers also need coverage. They must determine whether their Canadian employers have covered them for health care during their employment in Canada. Foreign students are another group of visitors who need coverage. They may, however, be able to obtain it through their educational institutions.
If you already have a travel insurance plan from an insurer in your home country, say through your employer or your credit card, determine what it covers. Most likely the policy contains exclusions or limits based on pre-existing medical conditions. To be covered while traveling, you may need to prove to your insurer that your medical condition has been stable during a prescribed period before your departure. Your insurer will provide an emergency telephone number for you to call in case of a medical emergency while in Canada.
However, buying a Canada travel insurance policy from a Canadian provider has one big advantage: The insurer knows how to work with the Canadian medical system. In addition, a Canadian-based insurer may be easier to contact for local service. Those factors may make a critical difference when time is a prime consideration in your treatment.
Canada is a safe and clean country. it’s not home to deadly diseases or high risks of contaminated food or water. But accidents can happen anywhere; illness can strike at any moment. If they affect you while you’re in Canada, even the costs for simple medical exams and medications add up quickly. Make sure you’re properly protected. Purchase travel insurance or make sure your current health insurance policy adequately protects you while outside your home country.