Medi-Quote Blog

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.”

http://lifestyles55.net/2014/02/21/make-sure-your-travel-health-insurance-properly-protects-you/

Palm springs draw winner

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

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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.

We have a booth at the College of the Desert Street Fair in Palm Desert today and tomorrow (Feb 8 & 9). If you'd like to come visit us we'll be at spot #288, however the spot number may change tomorrow, so check back, and we'll update if there are changes for sunday.

For a map and more location information for the College of the Desert Street Fair in Palm Desert Click Here

THiA survey shows vacations aren't always carefree: 21% of Canadian travelers have required medical attention while abroad

Toronto, ON (Oct. 22, 2013) – The Travel Health Insurance Association of Canada conducted a national survey of Canadians about their travel habits and their understanding of provincial health coverage. The survey revealed that 35 per cent of Canadian travellers do not buy travel health insurance.

"Only six per cent of Canadians realize that provincial health plans cover approximately nine per cent of medical expenses when travelling outside of Canada," said THiA President, John Thain. "Travel health insurance is designed to protect against unforeseen medical expenses."

Of respondents:

  • Twenty-one per cent indicated that they have received medical treatment while travelling;
  • The most common reasons for seeking medical care include gastrointestinal issues (21.8 per cent), infection (16.2 per cent) and fractures (10.7 per cent);
  • 60 per cent of those who received medical attention while away had extended medical insurance to pay for the associated expenses;
  • Most (59.3 per cent) would pay whatever necessary for medical treatment;
  • Associated medical expenses of more than $1,000 would represent a financial crisis for 33.6 per cent of respondents and 32 per cent indicated that unforeseen medical expenses of $5,000 or more would represent a financial crisis;
  • Only 28.5 per cent correctly identified the average cost of treating a fracture in the US ($10,000).

Other interesting survey findings include:

  • 30 per cent of Canadians plan to travel this winter;
  • 31 per cent consider themselves risk takers;
  • 30 per cent report binge drinking on vacation;
  • 94 per cent of travelers pack underwear.

"Travel health insurance should be as essential to a vacation as underwear," said Thain. "Many people will already have some coverage through employers or credit cards and it's important to understand existing coverage and ensure you have the necessary supplemental coverage."

THiA recommends that Canadians do the following to have carefree vacations:

  • Know your health and consult a health care provider if you have any questions;
  • Know your trip – How long will you be gone? Are you a snowbird? Will you be travelling many times during the year? Do you plan to scuba dive?
  • Understand your travel insurance policy – insurance companies have staff available to answer any questions related to policies.

The THiA website has a guide available to help Canadians understand their travel insurance needs before they investigate policies.

Notes

 National online survey of 1,025 Canadians, conducted October 1-2, 2013.

About the Travel Health Insurance Association (THiA)

Founded in 1998, the Travel Health Insurance Association is the national organization representing travel insurers, brokers, underwriters, re-insurers, emergency assistance companies, air ambulance companies and allied services in the travel insurance field. THiA is the leading voice of the travel insurance industry in Canada and is engaged in public education and issues relating to regulatory affairs and member communications.

Source: Travel Health Insurance Association (THiA)

Two common assumptions about travel insurance are made by many people that are false. There are many many more out there, but we are highlighting two examples that have been discussed in the news recently.

1) They assume that going to a non-US destination like Mexico doesn't require having travel insurance because your provincial healthcare will cover the costs.

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/travel/extra-health-insurance-well-worth-price-238687281.html

The article above discusses the ways that provincial health care does provide some coverage for Canadians who are traveling abroad. Provincial healthcare will pay for services at predefined levels, which will often not cover your entire medical bill. There is also no provision in provincial healthcare plans that would pay for you to back to Canada in the event of an accident or illness.

Private travel health insurance is necessary in this situation because you will need the extra coverage in the event of a severe illness or accident.

2) They assume that the travel insurance that comes with their credit card is sufficient without looking into the details.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/expert-urges-extra-travel-insurance-in-wake-of-boat-crash-1.2477008

A woman from Headingly, MB was recently injured in a boat accident in South Africa. She was travelling with the understanding that the coverage provided by her BMO Mastercard would be enough protection in the event of an accident. She and her family were horrified to find that the coverage was not sufficient and they were left on the hook for tens of thousands of dollars in medical costs.

If they had read their policy details the travel insurance on their credit card, they would have known the limitations and could have purchased additional insurance to top-up their credit card insurance. Many cards will cover only a tiny fraction of what private travel health insurance would. Most travel insurance policies obtained from a travel insurance brokerage like Medi-Quote, would cover in the range of two to five million dollars, while many credit card companies cover in the range of 20 to 50 thousand dollars, and sometimes the coverage is only valid if the trip was purchased on the card.

The bottom line is that we all need to read our insurance policies to understand the coverage that we have. And getting additional insurance above and beyond what may be provided from credit card or work benefits is most often the right decision.

 

From The Canadian Press via Winnipeg Free Press

Snowbirds should review the details of their travel medical insurance policy to see if there is a time limit for out-of-the-country coverage and what they need to know about pre-existing conditions and limitations.

"If a snowbird has visited a hospital or switched medications in the past 12 months this information needs to be disclosed to their insurance provider because failure to do so may impact coverage should they make a claim," says David Minor, vice president at TD Insurance.

Read the rest of the article here.

From The Canadian Press via Winnipeg Free Press

Or at least that's what they should be thinking, say experts in the field. The problem is many Canadians don't want to think about the unthinkable — that they may face a catastrophic medical emergency while on vacation and will need to be treated in a U.S. hospital.

According to a recent survey conducted for TD Insurance, only about half of Canadians aged 50 and over bother to check their coverage before leaving for vacation, and only 16 per cent call their insurance provider to determine if they need to update their policy.

Read the rest of the article here.

Medi Quote Insurance Calgary Staff spread their Christmas Cheer to others in the way of volunteering their time to Calgary Food Bank.The experience was touching, rewarding and without a doubt extremely eye opening.

They arrived to the volunteer area to begin their 2 ½ hour shift. They were told that the area that needed help was with client assistance, where the people who standing in line for their food hamper would come to pack their food received and take it out to their car.

The lines were long, really long. There was every age, race and lots of various aged kids in tow. Some were in dress clothes looking like they just came from work, other looking like perhaps they weren’t so fortunate. But all shared one thing, the look of desperation and even disappointment in their eyes.

As Tera, Wanda and Katie arrived at their station they didn’t know what to expect.   They were given quick instruction and got to work. There they were for 2 ½ hours talking to the people, trying to bring a smile to their face and saying they were here just to help them. They received smiles, good wishes and also tears, hugs and confessions of the embarrassment they felt being in the situation to receive this food.

They worked tirelessly- packing, lifting, carrying and pushing carts through the parking lot filled with snow to get the items to the client’s cars. After getting through the line of approximately 200 people, they were tired, exhausted in fact both physically, emotionally.

They left their area and the now empty building, that moments before were bustling, had a certain hush to it. They didn’t take photos;  they didn’t say much, but they all shared the same thought, and that was, no matter how hard their life had seemed at times, or how many complaints they had, they were grateful that providing the basic necessity of food was never a struggle for them.

We wanted to share this story with all of you, to remind you that there are others in your community that share this struggle, they can be of any age, any race, and may even work at a store you visit or an business you go to.  Donate if you can and if you can’t give money or items remember that the donation of your time by volunteering goes a long way too.

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2013 was a very busy year here at Medi-Quote Insurance Brokers. This was our first full year as Medi-Quote Insurance Brokers after changing our name in 2012 to reflect our expanded range of insurance products beyond travel insurance.

2013 saw us adding four new brokers to our sales team, who all came from our administrative team. In turn we added four administrators and a travel agent. We also expanded our management structure to catch up with the last few years of growth. 

Core Values and Value Proposition

We spent some time defining what we value most as a company and as a group.  We also came up with what we call our “Value Proposition” where we came up with the acronym TEAM to explain the type of relationship we have with our clients. We work with clients to Track (medical history), Educate (clients about issues that affect them), Advocate (on your behalf) and Mitigate (risk). Read about our value proposition here.

Travel Agency

This year we began offering travel agency services in partnership with Travel Professionals International, TPI. We are new, but we have added some very experienced travel agents to our team and combined with our understanding of travel insurance, we think it’s a natural fit that will be a big benefit to our clients.

This year we used our travel agency resources to plan an Alaskan cruise to celebrate our 20th anniversary in 2014. We are excited for the cruise and to meet all of our clients who will be joining us.

Arizona Trip

Lori made her annual trek down to Arizona to visit our clients who spend their time down there. As a Senior Broker at Medi-Quote Insurance Brokers, she really goes out of her way to reach Snowbirds in their winter habitat. She was so happy to see so many old and new faces come by the booth at the marketplaces in Yuma and Mesa.
In 2014, Lori will be joined by fellow senior brokers Sandy and Shirley who will both be making the trip down for the first time.

 

Webinars

We embraced our commitment to educate clients more than ever this year. We have held a number of online training sessions for clients as well as our broker partners.  We understand that travel insurance can be complicated, and feel like our knowledge and expertise needs to be shared with others. We will have more webinars in 2014, so keep your eyes open for announcements in our monthly email newsletters.
 
Volunteer work and Charity Fundraising

2013 wasn’t all good news. Floods caused massive destruction to the homes of many Albertans. Our Calgary staff spent a day in High River volunteering and saw the devastation first hand. You can read about that here.
Recently we have been collecting food in our Winnipeg office for Winnipeg Harvest, and the Calgary team spent some time volunteering for the Calgary food bank, which you can read about here.

In August, Lori rode her bike from Stonewall to Gimli and back to raise money for the MS Society of Canada. That is 84 km’s each way.  We were all very proud of Lori’s accomplishment and made donations to the cause.

Refer-a-Friend contest

If our attention to detail and great customer service wasn’t enough, when someone refers a friend to us, both the referrer and the referee are entered into a contest. This year’s winning entrant, B. Trotter of Belmont, MB won a trip to anywhere in North America that Air Canada flies.
New Partners and New Markets
This year we were happy to begin a relationship with Industrial Alliance Insurance and Financial Services, adding one more parter to our roster of insurance providers.
For years we have been licensed to sell insurance from BC to Ontario, now we are licensed to do business in Nunavut, too. The north tends to be an underserved market, so we look forward to hearing more from potential customers in the North.

 

Highlights for the coming year, 2014

2014 will mark our 20th anniversary as a company and we will be celebrating this milestone all year long. Stay tuned to our website and email newsletters for updates.

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