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Do government health plans provide travel coverage?

One of the best features of living in Canada is our healthcare system. When you get sick at home, as long as you have a government health insurance plan (GHIP, or OHIP if you reside in Ontario), you can go to the doctor, show your health card and get treated.

Allianz Global Assistance - Medical evacuation in progress with patient being transferred by paramedic from air ambulance helicopter to an ambulance.

As encompassing as the Canadian healthcare system is, it still has its limits. In fact, provincial and territorial government health insurance plans provide little to no coverage while you’re travelling outside Canada. For example, when you leave the country, your government health insurance plan will only cover a very small amount of out-of-country medical expenses (generally less than 10%.) In places such as the US, treatment costs could climb from $10,000 USD to as much as $100,000 USD or more, depending on the severity of your unexpected injury or illness – a sum most people don’t factor into their travel budget.

But what if you happen to suddenly become ill or injured within Canada, but outside of your province of residence? What surprises many Canadians is that the situation is not much different when they stay within Canadian borders. Because the government takes care of our medical bills in our own province, we don’t see how much it costs for their services or stop to consider that the amount is more than we might think, or can reasonably afford.

Even if you’re a Canadian resident who’s just going to another province or territory, our provincial government health insurance plans don’t cover incidentals, such as ambulance or medical air evacuation outside your home province. If you’re not prepared for the unexpected expense, you could be left out-of-pocket for more than you, your health or your finances can handle.

How travel insurance can help

Just because your government health care might not travel with you when you’re leaving Canada or trekking from province to province, it doesn’t mean you’re stuck taking trips within your provincial or territorial borders. That’s not very realistic or much fun. When you have travel medical insurance, it’s also less of a limitation or concern.

Travel medical insurance is similar to government health care coverage, except that it’s designed for travellers and provides coverage for unforeseen medical emergencies only (i.e. versus for continuing care of medical conditions you have before you leave.) It may provide up to $10 million in emergency medical and hospital protection as well as 24/7 emergency travel assistance from a knowledgeable and helpful assistance team, if you get sick or injured and need emergency medical treatment. And when you present your travel insurance information (much like when you show your GHIP/OHIP card at home in Canada) your access to necessary emergency treatment and care is facilitated on your behalf by Allianz Global Assistance, which will arrange for direct billing with medical providers whenever possible so that you’re not stuck paying for treatment out of pocket.

Learn more or get a quote now.

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Or call us at1-844-310-1578 to speak with one of our agents.
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Travel insurance does not cover everything. Please refer to the policy wording for full terms and conditions, including limitations and exclusions. Travel insurance is underwritten by CUMIS General Insurance Company, a member of The Co-operators Group of Companies and administered by Allianz Global Assistance. Allianz Global Assistance is a registered business name of AZGA Service Canada Inc. and AZGA Insurance Agency Canada Ltd. Please note that remuneration may be payable to the distributor of this insurance.