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.
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.
Our offices will be closed for the Monday, May 19, for the Victoria Day long weekend.
Please note that we will be closed Friday, April 18 2014 for Easter Friday. We will reopen for regular business hours on Monday April 21.
Health care spending has doubled in the last decade.
• Aging population
• Decreasing population coverage
• Increased use of services
• Introduction of new services and treatments
Source: Canadian Institute for Health Information
Canada’s aging population
• Health care costs increase with age
• More than half of Canadian employers considering eliminating post-retirement benefits
• 75% of private sector employees have no plan for retirement
In 2011, the average Canadian spent:
• Over $1725 on health care costs
• Up over 30% from 2006
• $1.1B is spent each week on health care in the private sector
Source: Canadian Institute for Health Information
Drugs are the fastest growing health care expenditure
• Canadian households paid $4.6B out-of-pocket for prescription medicine
• Drug costs vary significantly by age:
• A 25 year old = $360 per year
• A 50 year old = $857 per year
Inadequate drug coverage impacts self-employed and unemployed the most
24% of Canadians have NO drug coverage
8% of Canadians Did not fill a prescription
24% Delayed or stopped buying a prescription due to financial concerns
Source: Statistics Canada
In 2011, Canadians spent over $13B on professional dental care, $5B (38%) out-of-pocket
32% of Canadians have no dental insurance
Source: Canadian Health Measures Survey (CHMS)
Although health costs are increasing, there is something you can do about it. If you are not on a group plan, or are about to come off a group plan, you should consider an individual or family health and dental plan to bridge the gap between what the government will cover, and what they won’t. As insurance brokers we shop the market for you to find good coverage for your needs.
Get a quote for health and dental insurance by filling out the form on the right side of this page.
We highly recommend this recent article from Lifestyles 55 to all our clients and to anyone who travels. Travel insurance can be confusing and there is a lot of misconceptions going around about issues like claims not being paid and other issues. This article helps clear up a lot of the confusion.
“One of the biggest mistakes travellers make when buying insurance is focusing on price,” says THIA of Canada vice president Alex Bittner. “Although we’re all looking for great value when shopping for travel insurance, we need to consider coverage before price. Once a traveller has satisfied their needs, price becomes secondary to responsible coverage.”
The experience began with Lori's arrival in Palm Springs at 5:30 am on February 8, at the College of The Desert Marketplace.
Then Shirley and Sandy joined Lori in Mesa Arizona on Friday February 14th. We set up at the Mesa Marketplace at 8am and were greeting clients by 9:05 that same morning.
Many of you are fortunate to live in either Calgary or Winnipeg where we meet with you in our office. Many more of you were special voices for which we had a name but no face. What a pleasure it was for us to finally to put a face to the voice we hear year after year.
The next experience brought us to the Yuma marketplace on the following Thursday morning. Where we had the pleasure to meet and greet more of our clients once again. Some of you came to see us just to say hello. Some of you came with questions regarding policy coverage, but most of you were just as curious as we were as to what we looked like. The general consensus was that we looked just like we sounded. The one exception was a client that thought Shirley should have been tall with long black hair and be of Italian descent. Shirley was quick to respond that they’d have to be satisfied with a short curly haired woman of French/Irish descent.
It was very much a treat to meet with those of you that live outside Winnipeg and Calgary. We also had the pleasure of meeting many Canadians that we have not yet had a chance to offer the high level of customer service we strive to extend to all our clients. We hope to be hearing from them in the future as well.
The weather was a hot topic of conversation down south with Canada having unseasonably cold weather, while Arizona was experiencing record high winter temperatures. We can certainly see why you choose to spend your winters in a considerably warmer climate. We can't wait to retire and spend our winters with you, but then we wouldn't be there for your travel insurance needs. I guess we continue to stay in Canada for a while yet!
In the end, we were very proud to represent the Medi-Quote Insurance Brokers administrative and broker teams. With great regret, our Arizona experience came to a close much too soon. We wish to thank each and every one of you that made the effort and took the time to come out and meet with us.
Sincerely, from your brokers,
Sandy, Shirley and Lori
About the photos: From top to bottom
1st photo: Lori with A Hollicky of Calgary, AB won the draw for a dinner for two from Applebee's in Palm Springs/Palm Desert
2nd photo: Our booth protected us from sunburns in the markets.
3rd photo: Sandy and Shirley with our Mesa draw winners, G & D Ayotte of Winnipeg, MB
Last photo: Sandy and Shirley with our Yuma draw winner B Robideau of Grande Prairie, AB
A trip to the hospital could cost Canadian travellers big money, even in Canada. It doesn’t have to be from an attack by a polar bear, or a moose, grizzly bear or wolves. It could be from any accident, injury or illness that could lead to expensive medical bills when travelling outside of one’s home province.
The woman in the polar bear story assumed that being a Canadian travelling in Canada; she had no use for travel insurance. While some services are still covered by your provincial health care in other provinces, not all services such as air ambulance service will be covered outside your home province. In addition to her physical injuries she was left with medical charges adding up to $13,000 for the air ambulance, and ground ambulance to worry about.
Sometimes it takes something out of the ordinary such as a polar bear attack to focus the public’s attention on a subject. We want to make as many people as we can aware of Canada only travel insurance so that when tragedy strikes, they are not left with hefty medical bills on top of an already traumatic experience.
The good news is that compared to international travel insurance, Canada only travel insurance is very inexpensive. Keep our phone number handy and make sure to get your travel insurance the next time you travel out of province, the short term cost is low and it could save you thousands.
Call 1-800-661-3098 to get travel insurance anytime you plan on travelling in Canada outside your home province.