Thursday, September 3, 2015

Medical expenses at Sun Destinations - Mexico, Bermuda, Florida and California



Dear Canadian Snowbirds,


Are you heading down to Florida this winter?  If yes, please take a look at this case profile. According to RSA Travel Insurance, medical expenses in sun destinations could be thousands of dollars. Below is an example. 


Richard is an active 72 years old. Since his dignosis of high blood pressure and cholesterol, he still finds ways to balance his health all while enjoying the foods he loves.
Richard and his wife Elizabeth were already aware of the importance of travel insurance, but when Richard was caught off guard by his first ever stroke while between sailing outings, it just confirmed what they already knew - they could not afford to leave home without it.

 
by the courtesy of our partner RSA http://www.rsatravelpartners.com/article/2015-08-13/infographic-claims-profile-sun-seeker-edition



 First step to take out the right travel insurance plan is to know your health and ask questions. We are here to help.  Contact info@biis.ca or call us at 1-888-298-6526(Toronto)/1-888-267-4461(Vancouver)












 

 






Tips for US-bound Canadian Snowbirds.




Summer is over but that's all right. Let's get ready for your winter vacation.

Here are some tips from CBC US-bound Canadian Snowbirds. 
Q.How long can Canadians stay in the U.S.? 
A. Maximum 182 days during a 12 month period.

Q. How long can a Canadian stay in the U.S. without paying U.S. taxes?
A.  The America Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has a form that may allow you to spend the full 182 days in the U.S. without paying U.S. income tax.  Please refer to Substantial Presence Test of IRS to see if you're deemed to be a U.S. resident for tax purposes.

Q. How long can snowbirds be away from Canada and keep their provincial health insurance?
A. B.C., Manitoba, Ontario and Nova Scotia require at least five months of residence in the province to maintain your eligibility. Newfoundland and Labrador requires four months. Some provinces allow longer absence when pre-approved.


Q. What are the rules for snowbirds buying supplemental travel health insurance?
A. The key is to know your health and understand the exclusions of coverage including limitations on pre-existing conditions.

Q. How can snowbirds maintain their home insurance coverage in Canada while they are away?
A. It depends the individual policy. Some insurers require policy holders to have someone competent to regularly check the property.


Shopping for travel insurance is tiring.  Let us help you in choosing the right plan for you insurance needs.
 To inquire about travel insurance, contact info@biis.ca or call us at 1-888-298-6526(Toronto) /1-888-267-4461(Vancouver).

 To access to the full story, please visit CBC website.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Canada does not pay for hospital or medical services for visitors.



Cost Sample-Two days hospitalization for severe food poisoning
Do you have a friend or a family member coming to visit you in Canada?
Cost Sample-Two days hospitalization for severe food poisoning
If "YES", you may want to look for Travel Insurance for them.  "Canada does not pay for hospital or medical services for visitors"(1).
Many Canadians are unaware of real medical costs in Canada as publicly funded healthcare system covers essential care for individuals who are enroll in.
The following chart is an example of medical cost(2).
Yes, it is expensive.  If you're a visitor to Canada, total cost will be $8,769(Canada Average).  Even if you're enrolled in Provincial Health Care, you still are responsible for some costs. 
 The choice is yours.  We hope you make a good decision to protect your financial security. 
 Need more information? Contact info@biis.ca
See for visitors plan details: http://www.biis.ca/visitors-to-canada-insurance/


(1) Government of Canada
 http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/helpcentre/answer.asp?q=424&t=16 
(2) By courtesy of our partner RSA Travel Insurance. Based on the past industry research.
http://www.rsatravelpartners.com/article/2015-06-16/infographic-claims-profile-visitors-canada-edition



Monday, June 8, 2015

Emergency Evacuation Benefit




Today's topic is "Emergency Evacuation Benefit", which differs from "Emergency Transportation" you can find in most Travel Insurance products.

"Emergency Transportation" benefit in Travel Insurance is for emergencies from covered sickensss or injuries.  The insurer will pay the cost of transportation to the nearest appropriate medical facility or to a Canadian hospital, when medically necessary and pre-approved by the insurer.
The costs includes land/sea/air ambulance, stretcher, and/or medical attendant(benefits varies by insurer).

Meanwhile, "Emergency Evacuation Benefit" responds when the Government(*) issues a travel warning to your destination for natural disaster or civil emergency.  The cost of transportation to the nearest county of safety or to policy holder's Home Country will be on the insurer's shoulders. The most important thing here is this is only the case when the warning issued after your departure.  Moreover, pre-approval by the insurer is required, the amount paid is limited and determination of the country to be evacuated to be determined by the insurer.
(*) Please refer to your policy wording to clarify with whom the insurance company complies.  
 
On April 25, 2015, a strong magnitude earthquake shook Nepal.  Our partner Allianz Global Assistance(formerly TIC) organized the evacuation and repatriation of 55 travelers, including 14 Canadians, from Kathmandu.(1)  Although a lot of conditions apply to "Emergency Evacuation Benefit", it's worth to consider if you travel for a long period or to the area of safety concern.

Lastly, please note that not every travel insurance lists this kind of benefit. If you're interested in, please contact: info@biis.ca





(1) Travel Agent Central
http://www.travelagentcentral.com/nepal/allianz-global-assistance-sends-relief-team-nepal-51234

Friday, May 1, 2015

Questions to ask about credit card coverage.


We often hear our clients say, "I need travel insurance from fourth month of my trip.  My credit card insurance will cover me for the first three month.

Do you really have "proper protection"?  Here are some questions to ask credit card company.


- Is Emergency Hospital & Medical coverage included? If so, how much 
  coverage does my plan offer?
- How many days am I covered for?
- Does my age, medical history, medication, or pre-existing condition 
  affect the coverage?
- Am I covered fro trip cancellation and interruption benefits before 
  and after departure? What else am I covered for? What is the dollar 
  limit for each benefit?
- What reasons can I cancel for?
- Do I have to purchase my trip on my credit card to activate the 
  insurance coverage?              (By courtesy of our partner TIC)


Also, credit card insurance often exclude seniors to cover.   Thestar points out that credit card insurance still have limit in covered age and duration although more credit cards with travel insurance are now extending its coverage to seniors. According to InsurEye's research, the eligibility provisions of Top five cards for 2013 are as below:

1. Desjardins Visa Odyssey Gold
   Age 59 or under:48 days, age60-64:23 days, age65-75:15days,
    age 79 or older:no coverage.
2. National Platinum MasterCard and National World Master Card:
   Age54 or under:60days, age55-64:31days, age65-74:15days.

3. Desjardins Visa Platinum
   Age59 or under:48days, age60-64:23 days, age65-75:15days, 3
   age76- or older:no coverage.
4. Scotiabank Gold Amex
    Under age 65:Up to 25 consecutive days, age65 and older:Up to 10  
   consecutive days.
5. RBC Rewards Visa Preferred
   Under age 65:Up to 31 consecutive days, age 65 & older:Up to 7 consecutive  
   days.

And each card has limitations for pre-existing medical conditions.


Beware of limitations. Ask lots of questions to your credit card company and read through insurance policy.  You can purchase additional or more tailored coverage from travel insurance broker.  Contact us info@biis.ca
 

Source:
- TIC, Travel Insurance Coordinators  
-Thestar.com ,"Read the fine print if you're travelling with credit-card insurance" 2014. http://www.thestar.com/business/personal_finance/2014/01/05/read_the_fine_print_if_youre_travelling_with_creditcard_insurance.html

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Trip Cancellation and/or Interruption Insurance



Our thoughts and prayers are with those who suffer from the erthquake in Nepal.

One of the things we can do as an insurance broker is to improve people's awareness of travel insurance. 

"Trip Cancellation and/or Interruption Insurance" cover many new and unforeseen risks, such as traveler's health issue, legal duty and external events including natural disasters.  Insured risks are different in each plan. Please read policy's benefits and exclusions.  Any questions? Contact us info@biis.ca.


Finally, before taking out any insurance, please make sure to register with "Canadians Abroad".  This is a free service offered by Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada(DFATD) that keeps you connected to Canada in case of an emergency.  The service is intended for Canadian citizens. If you're not  Canadian citizen, please contact your country's nearest consular office to check if they have a similar registration system.


 



Friday, April 24, 2015

Travel Information for Canadians



Have you booked your summer vacation yet?  Here are some links for trouble-free travel. Bon voyage!



A comprehensive guide of traveling -Fly Smart

Source: Canadian Transportation Agency
https://www.otc-cta.gc.ca/eng/fly-smart#toc-tm-2-5


Guide to Travel Insurance - Shopping for Travel Medical Insurance

Source: Financial Services Commission of Ontario(FSCO)
 http://www.fsco.gov.on.ca/en/insurance/brochures/Pages/brochure_shopfortravel.aspx


Health Information - Travel Health Notice

Source: the Public Health Agency of Canada
http://travel.gc.ca/travelling/health-safety/travel-health-notices

Country travel advice and advisories

Source: Government of Canada
http://travel.gc.ca/travelling/advisories


Passport

Source: Passport Canada
http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/residents/passport.asp?_ga=1.167154814.1792012459.1424979660


Advice about Travel Insurance

Source: Bridges International Insurance Services(BIIS)  
http://www.biis.ca/
info@biis.ca

Friday, March 20, 2015

Travelling with medication (prescribed/over-the-counter)




"Can I travel with medications?" Yes, but there are things you should know about.  The following is a summary of the guideline posted on the website of Government of Canada for travellers who carry prescribed or over-the-counter medications.

Before departure:

1) Consult "what you can bring on a plane" to determine what you can and cannot pack in your carry-on bag.
2) Pack medications in your baggage in their ORIGINAL, labelled containers to facilitate airport security and customs screening.
3) Do not try to save luggage space by combining medications into a single container.
4) Carry a copy of the original prescription. A doctor's note describing why you're taking the medication is also recommended.
5) If you're carrying any unusual medication, contact foreign government office in Canada of the country you plan to visit before departing to make sure bringing medical supplies are allowed into the country.
6) Canadian visitors to the United States should be aware that their personal medication may be subject to U.S. drug importation laws and regulations. For further information, visit the website of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration

At abroad:

Do not buy medication outside Canada unless you have been advised by a health care professional. Be aware of counterfeit medications or those that may not meet Canadian standards.

Coming back to Canada with medication:

A) Prescription medication
- Health Canada may permit a single course of treatment or a 90-day supply, whichever is less.
- The drug must be in hospital or pharmacy-dispensed packaging.
B) Over-the-counter medication
- Permitted to import a single course of treatment or a 90-day supply, whichever is less.
-  The drug must be shipped or carried in hospital/pharmacy-dispensed packaging.


Air Canada recommends that medication be packed in carry-on baggage.  It makes sense as we may need to reach those medications in case of emergency. Given that checked baggage often goes lost, it is the best to keep your medication in your carry-on bag as much as you can.


Finally, don't forget to pack your travel insurance certificate and ID card provided by insurer. 
 Not purchased yet? Contact us today! info@biis.ca


Source:
Government of Canada   http://travel.gc.ca/travelling/health-safety/medication
Air Canada  http://www.aircanada.com/en/travelinfo/before/contract.html

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Medical Expenses at sun destinations - US,Mexico & Dominican Republic


Travelling this March Break?  Even if it's only for a week, accident can happen.

According to RSA Travel Insurance, medical expenses in sun destinations could be thousands of dollars. Below is an example. 




She's a 22-year-old university student. She made her way to sun destinations during March Break. As a budget traveller, purchasing travel insurance was not her priority. Unfortunately, a wet pool-side deck caused a twisted knee and severely sprained wrist.

Here's the average cost for hospital two nights stay, meedications, physician, ambulance, incidentals(meals), and repatriation(seat grade up to provide extra leg room).

- Punta Cana(Dominican Republic)  $6,935
- Acapulco(Mexico)           $7,780
- Cancun(Mexico)             $8,225 
- Florida(United States)   $35,020
Total Cost: $6,935 (Punta Cana)- $35,020(Florida)

If she purchased travel insurance at $25, the cost would be down to $0.




If you're thinking of hitting the beach, consider buying travel insurance. When purchasing, check your policy wording especially exclusion clause.

More information? Contact us: info@biis.ca



Source:RSA Travel Insurance
http://www.rsatravelpartners.com/sites/rsatravelpartners.com/files/banner_march_profile_0.jpg



Monday, March 9, 2015

China's new visa - long-term and multiple entry



Do you travel to China often? If so, here's good news.

Government of Canada announced that new type of Chinese visas available for Canadians from today. The newly introduced visa allows multiple-entry and is valid for up to 10 years. This sure will reduce your costs and time. For more information, please contact Chinese consulates and authorities. 

Need Travel Insurance, too? Allow us to help you - contact info@biis.ca





Source: Government of Canada website
http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/work/iec/index.asp?country=ie&cat=wh

Friday, February 27, 2015

Tips to shop around for the policy that best meets your needs.



Have you ever experienced feeling "overwhelmed" in looking for travel insurance? 

If so, you are not alone. There are so many types of plans from different insurance companies. So what do you do? Follow these steps.

Steps to find travel insurance that meets your needs

1) Understand what travel medical insurance is.
http://www.fsco.gov.on.ca/en/insurance/brochures/Pages/brochure_shopfortravel.aspx
2) Choose a couple of plans to compare.  Read each policy carefully.  If it's not on the website, ask for it.
3) Do not just look at price. Make sure to choose the policy of sufficient coverage.
4) Ask questions to an expert.


The following questions also will help you to go through the process.

Travel Medical Insurance Check-list(source:FSCO)

  • Do I already have sufficient coverage through my credit cards, employee benefits, etc.?
  • What is the maximum each policy will pay above Ontario medical insurance limits?
  • Is there an age limit or medical criteria for who can apply?
  • Does age affect the kind of coverage I can expect?
  • How does the policy define a pre-existing condition? Will a pre-existing condition of mine affect my coverage?
  • Are there any medical exclusions that apply to me?
  • Will I have to pay a deductible? If so, how much?
  • Does the policy contain a co-payment clause? What percentage of medical expenses will I have to pay?
  • Will the insurance company pay the hospital or physician directly? Or will I have to pay the full amount myself, and then be reimbursed later by the company?
  • Does the policy exclude any sports or activities I plan to do on my trip?
  • Do I need approval from the company before seeking medical treatment?
  • Does the company offering the policy provide a toll-free, 24-hour help line that I can call in an emergency?
  • What if I want to stay away longer than originally planned? Can I extend my policy to cover me for the extra time I’m out of Canada, and how do I make the necessary arrangements?
Still not sure? Pleasure to help you. Contact us info@biis.ca 


Source:Finance Services Commission of Ontario(FSCO)

Friday, February 13, 2015

Medical Expenses in U.S. - Based on real claims.





Medical expenses in United States are notorious for being astronomical figures. 
But, do you really know how much it cost you?

Insurance Company RSA Travel Insurance is disclosing medical cost you'll be billed if not covered with travel insurance. Those numbers are persuasive as they're based on the real claims.


Case A - She's 42 years old. While driving with her friend in US, she runs a stop sign resulting in whiplash and a broken arm. 


Here's the cost breakdown.
-Hospital Stay for 3 days from $12,900(Buffalo) to $29,100(Detroit)
-Physician from2,000(Buffalo) to $4,400(Detroito)
-Ambulance average $1,000
-Incidentals(meals, accomodations for her friend, etc.) about $1,500
TOTAL COST $17,400 - $36,000

If she purchased travel insurance at $32, the cost would be $0.




Case B - He's is a healthy active young man residing in Manitoba. He travels to top ski destinations around the world. Despite he's a good skier, he breaks is leg during a ski trip.

Here's the average cost for hospital one night stay, cast medications, physician, ambulance, incidentals(meals), and repatriation.

Canada out of home province(*)  $1,400
Zermatt, Switzerland    $13,300
Killington, VT               $27,800
 Aspen, CO                  $55,700
Squaw Valley, CA         $67,900

TOTAL COST RANGE FROM $1,400-$67,900.
With purchase of travel insurance at $25-35, the cost would be down to $0.



Now we're on the same page. It's no use crying over split milk. Protect yourself & enjoy your trip!
Need to know more? Contact us: info@biis.ca


Source:RSA Travel Insurance Inc.
http://www.rsatravelpartners.com/article/2014-11-27/infographic-claims-profile-driver-edition
http://www.rsatravelpartners.com/article/2014-10-29/infographic-claims-profile-ski-edition

(*) Average of Whilstler, BC and Mont-Tremblant, QC