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Before you travel outside of Canada purchase travel health insurance.  Because if you get sick and end up in hospital without travel health insurance, it could bankrupt your family.

I am not kidding.

Here Is A Case Study:

Mr and Mrs S. are snowbirds who have a home in Florida. Mr S. is 81. His wife is 72. They were eager to escape the winter.

Unfortunately, Mr S. could not purchase travel health insurance because of an illness the year before.   The wife purchased travel health insurance. They rolled the dice and went to Florida.

Unfortunately, Mr S. ended up in the surgical intensive care unit (ICU) of a Florida hospital. He had a gallbladder infection that required surgery. Post-operatively, he did poorly and was in the ICU for 2 weeks.  Without being aware, the medical bills started to become a financial threat .

Here Is What Happened:

Rupert Case Management Inc. (RCM) was retained to help. We asked the finance department at the hospital for a sub-total. When Mrs S. was informed that the hospital bill totalled about US$250,000, we were able to convince her to pay for a jet ambulance ride back to Ontario. The ride cost CDN$24,000.  Before the jet could take off, we had to find a bed in Ontario. She wanted a hospital close to her home. We were able to get a bed with a 3 hour window. The patient arrived back in Ontario. The bills stopped.

Then it became RCM’s job to negotiate with the finance staff at the hospital, the doctor’s group, the radiology group, the anaesthesia group and the Florida ambulance company. Each bill required many phone calls and faxes in order to get closure.

RCM’s staff was able to negotiate significant discounts on each bill. The family did not have to sell their home.

If you rely on travel ticket purchases on VISA for travel health insurance, you may only be covered for 7 days out of country.   On day 8, you are responsible for the bills.

The key lesson learned was that you should never leave Canada without having travel health insurance in place for you and your family members.