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Medical insurance in Canada


HelenW

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We are headed to AK in about 2 weeks - expect trip to last 4-5 months. My Medicare will cover me in AK, but not Canada. Travel Insurance companies say I have to pay for the whole 5 months (expensive) to get medical coverage for Canada. Anyone have any other solutions? Thanks

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Welcome to the Escapee forums! I think that most of us who have spent time in Canada just risk having to pay if we should need care. Unless you are in some type of accident, the risk is fairly small. Others may have better ideas.

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Check your insurance company.

 

This is real dated information....but when I lived in Canada I kept my US health insurance and they said they would pay claims filed in Canada. And I was living and working in Canada.

 

The entire charge for a hospital visit at that time was the same as my co-pay in the US.

 

I think it is a lot more expensive these days.

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Thanks for replies. I don't have part F. I don't use AAA. I use Better World Auto Club who agrees with by environmental concerns better, probably not health, but I will check. Credit card is a good place to look - I will try it. I'm not much of a gambler with my health. The only place I have found that provides short term health insurance for people over 70 is http://www.insubuy.com/atlas-international/travel-health-insurance/ . They are not cheap, but much better than the regular travel insurance sites. Has anyone had experience with Atlas international travel health insurance?

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Medicare will cover you on a direct route through Canada to Alaska. I found that on Medicare's site when we were planning our trip. I called and confirmed.

 

"

There are 3 situations when Medicare may pay for certain types of health care
services you get in a foreign hospital (a hospital outside the U.S.):
1.
You’re in the U.S. when you have a medical emergency, and the foreign
hospital is closer than the nearest U.S. hospital that can treat your illness or
injury.
2.
You’re traveling through Canada
without unreasonable delay
by the most
direct route between Alaska and another state when a medical emergency
occurs, and the Canadian hospital is closer than the nearest U.S. hospital
that can treat your illness or injury. Medicare determines what qualifies as
“without unreasonable delay” on a case-by-case basis.
3.
You live in the U.S. and the foreign hospital is closer to your home than the
nearest U.S. hospital that can treat your medical condition, regardless of
whether it’s an emergency."

 

 

Dale

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I wasn't on Medicare yet on our 1st Alaska trip, had BC/BS and needed an ultrasound done on a badly sprained ankle to see if I had a blood clot. The Canadian hospital wouldn't accept BC/BS, so I paid cash. But BC/BS reimbursed me when I got back to the U.S. Maybe Medicare will do the same.

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I would like to repeat what Scottiemon stated regarding traveling thru to AK. If you are on Medicare they will pay for the services in Canada if

you are on your way to AK. Please check on that with Medicare. Good Luck

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Medicare will NOT reimburse you when you are outside of the United States. I know this for a fact because I checked before I took my mother into Canada 15 years ago and more recently when I traveled.

 

A few lab tests might be managed with a cash payment, but what if you had a stroke? Or a heart attack? Or a vehicle accident? That could costs tens of thousands of dollars. (My mother-in-law had a heart attack in Canada 40 years ago and was hospitalized a week. She also died there 35 years ago and we had to arrange to have her body shipped to the U.S.) I always buy short-term medical travel insurance when I go outside of the country. And that reminds me because I am going into Ontario for a couple of weeks in July and into the Maritime Provinces in September and October, so I need to do some shopping.

 

PS. You might also want to get a policy that includes repatriation of remains.

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First I'm not an American with a USA based health coverage. But I do think it's a case by case decision by the health provider. Some years back while traveling through Canada I had a heart issue. Went to a clinic who sent me to a hospital. Long story short they treated me and bade me farewell and to enjoy the rest of my travels. No bill. Same in the USA. Took ill and had to get an ambulance to a nearby hospital. Treated and discharged without a bill. (Yes I did get one for a two block ride in the ambulance). On several other times over the past 20 years we have had similar experiences with clinics. Maybe it's just my sad eyes or good looks, :wacko: but we've had nothing but positive experiences.

I do have a theory about health providers looking for insurance company money but that's another debate for another time.

 

Either way I'm not sure there is a blanket/black and white answer.

 

regards

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Why not give Medicare a call about what they consider "without reasonable delay"?

 

I had a gallbladder attack while in Canada and went to the local doc. I got right in, she prescribed meds, asked me to come by the next day to see her, the meds worked and we took off. She called me enroute 2x to see how I was doing. Her charge: $64.

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We also had a good experience the one time we needed care in Canada. About 15 years ago, younger son developed frostbite in one ear and we didn't realize it until we quit skiing for the day. I called the local clinic, they waited for us. One doctor, one nurse, one receptionist stayed about 45 minutes after closing to examine my son's ear and give us instructions for treating it. Total cost? US$35. They would have taken either Canadian or US currency.

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We also had a good experience the one time we needed care in Canada. About 15 years ago, younger son developed frostbite in one ear and we didn't realize it until we quit skiing for the day. I called the local clinic, they waited for us. One doctor, one nurse, one receptionist stayed about 45 minutes after closing to examine my son's ear and give us instructions for treating it. Total cost? US$35. They would have taken either Canadian or US currency.

 

Can you recall what the treatment was?

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We understand about Medicare. We have FEHBP BC/BS in retirement and we are covered In Canada. Canada is considered "overseas" and we are covered "overseas" I called to verify that.

 

never thought about Canada being overseas over lake OK.

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If you have part F check your policy which may cover you for emergency care at least. Ours does.

BnB

 

From Medicare.gov:

 

Medigap plans C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, M, and N pay 80% of the billed charges for certain medically necessary emergency care outside the U.S. after you meet a $250 deductible for the year. These Medigap policies cover foreign travel emergency care if it begins during the first 60 days of your trip, and if Medicare doesn’t otherwise cover the care. Foreign travel emergency coverage with Medigap policies has a lifetime limit of $50,000. Plans E, H, I, and J are no longer for sale, but if you bought one before June 1, 2010, you may keep it.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Bruce T I am wondering if the Australian government has a reciprocal agreement with Canada on health matters, I gather there is one with the UK, a work mate of mine had a heart attack while in Scotland and I asked if it

was covered by his travel insurance and he said he didn't need to claim it and it cost him nothing as we have a

reciprocal agreement on health care with the UK so he got treated on the pomme national health scheme.

 

mick

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Get some kind of travel coverage. Something as simple as a tick bite reaction can cause major problems and you'd need airlift to Seattle. Even in Anchorage they airlift to Seattle for some emergencies.

Medical airlift can cost you $50,000 quite easily. . .they require a qualified medical person accompany you. It gets very expensive, very fast.

The small stuff like a broken finger or something can be treated locally.

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Bruce T I am wondering if the Australian government has a reciprocal agreement with Canada on health matters, I gather there is one with the UK, a work mate of mine had a heart attack while in Scotland and I asked if it

was covered by his travel insurance and he said he didn't need to claim it and it cost him nothing as we have a

reciprocal agreement on health care with the UK so he got treated on the pomme national health scheme.

 

mick

mickhoss there was no deal with Australia. It was simply a matter of goodwill. I went to a clinic first. They said it would be complicated and sent my to the hospital. The hospital never gave me an account. I was in hospital only for about 4-5 hours. The thing is a young doctor at that hospital found something that the Australian doctors couldn't find!!! Mind you they pointed me to the nearest airport and told me to go home asap. Which I ignored!!

This is not the first time. It happened in the USA as well. I got sick in Springfield Il and ended up in hospital. The ambulance ride cost me $$$$ but the hospital waived any fees and bade me farewell and good travels.

Yes I've been lucky. I appreciate very much the service I got. Once the wife got sick in the USA and the clinic wouldn't even see her. Even with a fist full of cash!! Another clinic said OK but only after she signed a zillion forms. Quoted $250.00 for a consultation but ended up only charging $45.00.

 

I believe the 'rules' are interpreted by everyone in a different manner. You can be lucky and you can be unlucky. There are a lot of good people out there. Not all are slaves to the insurance companies and the mighty dollar. But as I said, you have to be lucky. And as Clint Eastwood said, "are you feeling lucky........?"

 

regards

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I called United Healthcare last week and asked if I had any coverage in Canada with my Medigap (Part C) policy with them. They confirmed that Medicare will pay nothing, but they did tell them that because I had chosen their Plan F that I did have $50,000 worth of medical coverage while traveling to Canada. It pays 80% of costs, plus a $250 per year deductible.

 

That policy was the most expensive one offered, but that will save me a couple of hundred dollars I would have spent on a special travel medical policy.

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I called United Healthcare last week and asked if I had any coverage in Canada with my Medigap (Part C) policy with them. They confirmed that Medicare will pay nothing, but they did tell them that because I had chosen their Plan F that I did have $50,000 worth of medical coverage while traveling to Canada. It pays 80% of costs, plus a $250 per year deductible.

 

That policy was the most expensive one offered, but that will save me a couple of hundred dollars I would have spent on a special travel medical policy.

 

As I posted nearly a month ago, that benefit is not restricted to Plan F's; the less expensive Plan G also provides the same benefit as do several other Medigap plans.

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