Medi-Quote Blog

 

Wondering about Pre-existing conditions?

Pre-existing conditions are medical conditions that exist before departure, most of which have been discussed, diagnosed, or treated by a doctor. The plan and rate category you are eligible for is determined by your pre-existing conditions.

How do pre-existing conditions affect your travel insurance policy?
When you have pre-existing conditions, getting travel insurance is often based on whether or not your condition is stable. Generally, to be considered stable your condition must meet these conditions:

•There is no new diagnosis, treatment or prescribed medication
•There is no change in treatment or change in medication, including the amount taken or frequency
•There are no new symptoms or more frequent or severe symptoms
•There have been no test results showing deterioration
•There has been no hospitalization or referral to a specialist (made or recommended) and you are not awaiting results of further investigations for that medical condition

You will most likely be covered if your condition is stable. Some medical conditions may require a longer stability period in order to be covered. In these cases you also have some options.

•    Some plans offer the option to shorten the stability period for a higher premium or reduced coverage, allowing you to travel with at least some coverage.

•    Some companies will even insure a condition that does not meet the stability requirements, usually at significantly higher rates.

•    You may also be eligible for a policy that excludes the pre-existing condition but offers you other coverages, such as coverage for accidents.

Another alternative to consider is having your application reviewed by the medical underwriting team, who will individually asses your application and create customized coverage uniquely for you. Watch our video on medical underwriting for more information about this process.

There are many options, and we realize they can be a bit complicated – so talk to us about what will best suit your situation. We are here to help.

It’s also important to realize that if you have travel insurance through your employer or a credit card, you have to review the policy carefully before travelling – many credit card or group coverages do not cover pre-existing conditions.

As you can see, having a pre-existing condition doesn’t mean you can’t get travel insurance. And even if you aren’t eligible for coverage for a pre-existing condition, you can still benefit from coverage for other medical emergencies as well as the other policy benefits like trip cancellation and lost baggage.

Our goal is to get you covered - we will discuss your options with you and help you understand your policy. We are here to help make sure your vacation is worry free.
For more information on pre-existing conditions or our other travel insurance topics, please visit our website at www.mediquote.ca

 
 

We often hear from clients who want good coverage and peace of mind knowing they won't have any surprises in the event of a claim while on holidays. In Canada, where the health care system is funded through taxes,  health care is not something we are used to spending money on. So when it comes time to purchase travel medical insurance, and prices are high, people look for ways to save money. However, comparing costs between various companies becomes a tricky endeavour because the price alone does not tell the whole story. When you encounter a low low price, it is time to start asking questions about why the price is so low.

Here are some things to consider:

1.    Administration fees - A low up-front price may include hidden administrative fees along the way. Some companies charge to make changes to your policy, cancel your policy, or to top-up or extend your policy. Once you buy that  plan, you will be stuck paying fees. Please consider these extra fees into the overall price. At Medi-Quote Insurance Brokers we will never charge you extra for these services.

2.    Apples to apples quote - If you have a quote from one provider with a $200 deductible, and the other has a $0 deductible, that is not a fair comparison, since a deductible can save you 10 to 50 percent of your premium! We can offer you a variety of deductible options to lower the price of an initial quote.

3.    Rates have gone up - If your company's rates have gone up in the last year, that normally means that the company PAYS CLAIMS. It likely means they don't deny as many claims as the companies where the prices have not gone up.

4.    Cheap, fast and quality - In our experience, you can’t have all three things at the same time. Usually it's the quality that suffers when only considering price, or convenience.

5.    Comparing plans on your own - If you call five companies and get five quotes, it's kind of like being your own broker, rather than using a professional broker. The price you pay is no different whether you buy your policy directly from the insurance company, or through a qualified broker. Ask yourself whether you are really qualified to interpret the fine print of a many different travel insurance policies. Using a broker that specializes in travel insurance could make the difference between whether your claim gets paid or not.

6.    Up-front underwriting – The buzz phase this year seems to be ‘purchase from a company that will do their underwriting up-front’.  At Medi-Quote, we have been doing that for years for our clients.  We track all of your medical history so that we can advise you on how each condition will be considered by your policy wording.  No surprises!  All you have to do is be sure to list all of your medical conditions for us during our phone call or on our Client Portal in the Medical History tab.  It is our job to let you know UP FRONT how those conditions will be treated by your policy.

7.    Does their value proposition stand up to our TEAM value proposition? http://www.mediquote.ca/article/our-value-proposition

We just want the best for our clients, and hope you understand how important it is to consider all the facts when comparing one quote to another.

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Your medical history determines your eligibility for travel medical plans, especially when over the age of 55.  An up-to-date medical history allows our brokers to assess how a change to your medical history effects your travel insurance. This change could be starting, stopping, or changing the dosage of a medication. It could be a diagnosis or being sent for testing or a to see a specialist.

Whether you want clarification about how the change affects your current plan, or you are shopping around for a new plan, we'll be able to advise you on the best course of action or plan options.

Our Client Portal allows you to record when a change happens to your medical and to make a note of what changed and at what date for future reference. After you enter new information you will be asked if you would like us to review the information and contact you in regard to how it pertains to your travel health insurance situation.

Click Here to start tracking your medical history on our Client Portal

 

Screenshot of medical history page

We are running a contest this summer to celebrate our 20th Anniversary selling travel insurance. To enter, go to our contest page on Facebook here. Click like to see the contest entry form. Get one entry by entering your address, and then gain an additional entries for each of your Facebook friends who enters the contest after you.

  • 1st prize: 16GB Apple iPad Air
  • 2nd prize: A free night in a hotel room in a major North American City (See contest page for full restrictions)
  • 3rd prize: A $50 credit towards your next travel insurance purchase with us.

Link: Medi-Quote 20th Anniversary Facebook Contest

Medical Underwriting for Travel Insurance from Medi-Quote Insurance Brokers on Vimeo.

Wondering about medical underwriting?

The medical underwriting process gives travellers who may not be eligible for standard travel insurance products, the option to be individually assessed and priced for a policy.

Offered by some travel insurance companies, it's the perfect option for anyone who is unsure of their medical conditions, or has received a medical diagnosis from their doctor.

This is how it works: You would have your family physician fill out an application form and include any supporting documents. Your application would then be forwarded to the insurance company and their medical underwriting team to review. They will then provide us with their assessment and confirmation of coverage prior to your purchase. Depending on your situation, your condition may be covered under the policy for an agreed to premium. It may be subject to certain limitations or it could be excluded from your policy. We would discuss your options with you so you could make the best decision for your situation.

While the medical underwriting process can take a little while to complete, the greatest benefit to you is the additional piece of mind knowing your personal medical situation has been reviewed by a medical underwriter. You will have a clear indication of will and will not be covered in the event of a claim, before you travel.

Here are a few things to consider if you decide the medical underwriting process is for you:

- It can take a little while so be sure to allow as much lead time as possible.

- If your medical condition changes between the time of your initial application and the day you travel, you'll have to submit updated information to your insurer.

- Your doctor may charge you to fill out the necessary forms, be sure to ask up front if there are any fees for this service.

- Lastly, because the policy takes your medical situation into account, it can be more costly.

Throughout the process, we'll discuss your options with you, and we'll review the policy with you so that you can better understand any limits or exclusions, and to make sure you can enjoy a worry free trip.

For more information on medical underwriting or our other travel insurance topics please visit our website: www.mediquote.ca

July 1st marked the start of the Canadian Anti-Spam Law often referred to as CASL. This new law changed the way Canadian companies would need to keep track of how people subscribed to email lists. To stay compliant with the law, we sent out a request asking our email subscribers to resubscribe, and thereby confirm that they continued to want to receive our emails. As part of this request we offered to give away five $100 Visa gift cards to people who signed up. Here are the contest winners.

  1. R. Smiley of Barrie, ON
  2. L. Keetbaas of Calgary, AB
  3. A. Clement of Leduc, AB
  4. C. Hugh of Cardinal, ON
  5. D. Bell of High River, AB

 

Click here to subscribe to our email list.

This year, Snowbirds must be prudent about tracking how many days they stay in the United States. Rules already in place limit the amount of days you can spend in the US before you become subject to US tax laws. June 30, 2014 marks the date in which the US and Canada will be working together to strictly monitor the number of days a person spends outside of Canada, or inside the US. If the allowed number of 183 days is exceeded, people could face some serious penalties.

The changes are part of the Entry-Exit Initiative and the Perimeter Security and Competitiveness Action Plan, a cooperative plan between Canada and the US that was announced in February 2011. 

Travellers will be tracked in both directions across the Canada/US border. Both countries will share the information in real-time. Previously, travellers were allowed to self-report changes in residency, and were only tracked when entering a country. 

Here is a summary of some of the consequences of being outside Canada, or in the US, for too long.

1. US Travel Bans - If found to be unlawfully present in the US between 183 and 365 days, you could face a 3-year travel ban. If found to be unlawfully present in the US more than 365 days, you could face a 10 year travel ban.

2. Liability for U.S. income tax on world wide income -  If present inside the US for too long, you could become subject to US tax laws, and be taxed on your worldwide income. 

3. Liability of U.S. estate tax on fair market value of world wide assets - Once subject to US tax laws, a person who dies in the US would have their estate taxed based on the value of their worldwide assets. 

4. Liability of Canadian departure tax - A Canadian who is no longer a resident may be subject to a Canadian departure tax. This means once you lose your Canadian resident status, you would be deemed to have disposed of your assets, and pay tax on the gains. 

5. Loss of provincial healthcare coverage - Once a Canadian is no longer a resident of a particular province, they lose the right to provincial healthcare coverage. The rules governing residency are different than those covered by previously mentioned tax laws. Consult your provincial healthcare body for specific rules and exceptions.

For more details check out this article about keeping track of days spent in the US by clicking here. We also recommend consulting a tax specialist for guidance as we are not experts on such matters ourselves. We want our clients to be aware of such matters, even if we can't give specific advice.

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Almost all travel insurance policies include an alcohol, drug or other intoxicant exclusion of some kind. In most cases of accidents and injuries where intoxication from alcohol or drugs is a contributing factor, the insurance policy will not cover the associated healthcare costs.

The  phrasing of the drug and alcohol exclusions differ slightly depending on the insurance company. For alcohol, some companies specify an amount of 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood as the point coverage is excluded, while others are more vague in their exclusion when alcohol is a factor.

Some companies exclude coverage related to the use of prohibited drugs as well as the misuse of prescribed drugs.

We recommend that everyone who is travelling and considering consuming drugs or alcohol read and understand their policy's exclusions.

The summer camping season is finally here, and many Canadians will be taking advantage of the warm weather by heading to the great outdoors. While you are planning your camping trip, don't forget travel insurance if you will be leaving your home province. While your provincial healthcare will cover you in another province, not all services will be covered, and this could leave open the possibility of large medical bills if illness or accident sends someone in your family to the hospital.

People should be more diligent in general about getting travel insurance when leaving the province. When leaving for a camping trip, people should be even more concerned with having adequate coverage, given the higher risk for injury coupled with being far away from major hospitals, thus increasing chances of needing air ambulance services.

The good news is that travel insurance for use within Canada only can be very inexpensive. And if you have an existing annual travel insurance policy, you will be automatically covered outside your province for the number of days specified by the policy. Some forms of annual travel insurance allow for an unlimited number of days covered while travelling inside Canada but outside your province of residence. Check your travel insurance policy before leaving, and give us a call if you have questions.

Make travel insurance part of your camping checklist. Give us a call at 1-800-661-3098 to discuss options.

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