Experts Say Important to Understand Medical Coverage When Traveling

Credit card coverage won’t always help in all situations

The president of the Toronto-based RECAP Investments Inc., Roni Bushari, likes to travel regularly to Central America (specifically Costa Rica and Honduras) where he has multiple real estate projects underway. He relies on his premium credit card that holds on it emergency medical insurance to help him in the event of unforeseen trouble. For Bushari, it is about peace of mind and knowing he can get good health insurance.

“I collect lots of points because I travel so much, so every year we have a family trip,” he says. “And it covers my car insurance as well if I have an accident.”

While Bushari’s card is a good cover for more basic concerns, it may not help if he needs to be airlifted or taken home for surgery, or it may, he is not exactly sure. He also wouldn’t know whether or not it covers employees if he foots the bill for their travel.

Spokesperson for Flight Center, Allison Wallace, stated that Bushari is not without company by not knowing, and says that many take only glancing looks over their insurance policies. “Smaller organizations don’t usually have a dedicated travel planner,” she says. “And it is true of most travellers that the assumptions they have about what they’re covered for are usually wrong.”

The problem, of course, is that knowing the ins and outs of the system is important to ensure that one is not left stranded or without for any reason. Wendy Hope, vice-president of external relations for Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association said. That is why it is so important for individuals to make sure their insurance, card-insurance, and travelers insurance are all well organized and fit their specific needs. Without knowing if it covers one’s specific possible needs, unfortunate outcomes could occur after crossing borders. That could mean less than perfect care when it is needed most.

“People don’t realize their medical insurance might not cover them for certain things because it’s provincial.”

One has to keep in mind that in order to qualify for coverage for credit card travel medical, one has to book the trip directly with the card that would be used. “If you happen to use your personal credit card as opposed to your corporate card, or if a client is paying your expenses you may not be covered,” Wallace says.

Again, the entire problem can be avoided with quality travel insurance, that can handle such medical concerns without worry of how or what will pay for it.

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