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Emergency Out of Country Medical Coverage

As Canadians, we are lucky that our hospitals are not-for-profit entities. However, it is not uncommon for hospitals abroad to be privately owned businesses. These hospitals may try to take advantage of travelers, so it is important to be aware of your coverage in order to avoid being overcharged.
In order to ensure that you are receiving a fair price for healthcare abroad, follow these steps:

  • Always ensure that you bring your group benefits travel card when travelling
  • Call the phone number on your travel card BEFORE you pay the invoice to the foreign healthcare provider/hospital
  • You will often be required to pay up front, and then collect from insurance at a later date.
  • Be aware that there is a fair market price list for international providers, and that you should always check with your insurance company to avoid overpaying.

In an extreme case, a traveler was charged $20,000 for a hospital stay, when the the fair price was only $1000. When the member returned to Canada and filed a claim, only $1000 could be re-imbursed. Avoid similar situations by calling the number on your travel card before paying for any foreign healthcare.
Safe travels!