Who isn’t ready for a trip to a beach? Or a visit with the grand kids? If you are over 60 and you are thinking about ending pandemic cabin fever, here are a few things you need to know before travelling.
- You need Seniors Travel Medical Insurance
Credit card travel insurance is not adequate. Read the fine print and consider the types of coverage you might require, and you will recognize you will need additional coverage. Even if you are travelling within Canada, your provincial health care isn’t adequate if you are in another province. There are many travel insurance providers, and some have a higher deductible for seniors. Shop around and make sure you understand all the policy details.
- Pre-existing Conditions
Before you plan your trip, make sure you understand some important terms. Every insurer has their own definition of “pre-existing medical condition,” so you need to talk to your insurance provider to determine if any of your medical conditions fit their descriptions. Consult with your doctor as well and make sure you are clear on whether you have been diagnosed with a “condition” or whether you are just under preventative care for that condition. For example, if you haven’t been diagnosed with a heart condition, but your doctor has prescribed aspirin as a preventative medication, then you don’t have a heart condition.
UNDERSTAND your policy!! UNDERSTAND the relevant definitions of coverage, the pre-existing conditions, definitions of alteration and treatment, and most importantly the Stability period.
- Stability Period
Do you have a medical condition which may affect your travel plans? “Unstable” pre-existing conditions are a major reason that travel insurance claims are not paid out. Medical travel insurance coverage for seniors with pre-existing conditions is influenced by 3 factors: age, trip length, and stability. Being designated as having “stability” is essential to qualify for adequate coverage. “Stability” of a medical condition is recognized if the following have NOT occurred:
- Deterioration of the medical condition as determined by a doctor or other registered medical practitioner
- New symptoms or findings or more frequent or severe symptoms or findings
- Change in treatment by a doctor or other registered medical practitioner, or alteration in any medication related to the medical condition
- New treatment received, prescribed, or recommended by a medical professional.
It is your responsibility to understand your travel medical insurance policy, including all the relevant definitions. Discuss these with your doctor if you need clarity.
If you are over 60, you will be required to complete a Medical Questionnaire which will determine your rate for your travel insurance. However, it does not impact pre-existing medical condition coverage. Policies also vary regarding required “stability periods” prior to departure. Some insurers have a “7 Day Exclusion” which might be required for the 7 days leading up to the departure date if your pre-existing condition flairs up, gets worse, requires medical treatment, or develops but remains undiagnosed before departure. Depending upon the condition and age of the insured, many insurers may have up to 6-month Stability Period rules. Again, check the details of your travel insurance policy to see if routine tests you may receive regarding your condition will impact your coverage.
- COVID Vaccinations and Tests before travel
Seniors are in a higher risk bracket when it comes to COVID-19 and therefore, you should have received 2 vaccinations before attempting to travel, and have proof of those vaccinations. Regardless of whether you have had the COVID-19 vaccinations or not, when you are travelling to the United States, you will also be required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 viral test done within 72 hours of your flight. If you have had COVID and you recovered, you will need to provide documentation of recovery from COVID-19 in the past 2 month before you can board a flight to the US. Land travel to the US is currently banned for non-essential travellers. Your safety and the safety of all those around you as you travel depends upon your full protection and a negative test as well as a commitment to abide by all other measures such as mandatory masks and social distancing.
Upon returning to Canada, you should get a COVID-19 viral test 3-5 days after your return and self-monitor for COVIC-19 symptoms. Isolate if you develop any symptoms.
- Stay informed
Current Canadian government travel advisories are to avoid all non-essential travel outside of Canada until further notice. This includes cruise ship travel. Keep an eye on the Canadian government Travel Information and Advisories at these links:
Also, take advantage of the free service, Registration of Canadians Abroad, if you plan to travel or live outside of Canada for any period of time.
Health Risk Services has trusted partner agreements with Travel Insurance providers through whom we can arrange customized travel insurance coverage for you and your family journeys. Call us first before you travel – We are Here to Help!
Health Risk Services
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