Snowbird Medical Insurance for travel to the United States
What is Snowbird Insurance for Canadians?
Snowbird Travel Insurance is essentially a short-term health insurance coverage for snowbirds during their visit to the United States, or anywhere else in North America. Snowbird insurance covers Canadians for emergency medical expenses and other health care costs which are incurred during their travels down south during the winter time.
It's important to have Snowbird Insurance for two main reasons: 1) The outrageous cost of medical insurance in the United States, & 2) Your provincial insurance stops once you leave Canada. INF Snowbird Insurance plans will cover you for any mishap which may happen during your travel in the United States. INF plans can act as a supplemental plan to your provincial health insurance- offering comprehensive coverage you are looking for from a travel medical insurance plan.
How do Snowbirds Handle Health Insurance?
Snowbirds should be extra cautious when traveling to the United States. We recommend enrolling in a snowbird insurance plan at least 30 days before your expected arrival. This gives the insurance company time to have your information flow to your to our claims office, telemedicine provider, and dental provider.
If you do need to use the insurance, you can visit any of our In-Network doctors, or any doctor of your choosing. You can search for providers near you by clicking on this link. All you need to do when you visit an in-network provider is show your insurance card and say: "I have this short-term health insurance plan which uses First Health PPO / Multiplan Network. I found your contact in the provider directory, do you accept plans that work with First Health / Multiplan?"
It is recommended for Snowbirds to enroll for the whole period of their travel. If you go month-to-month on the insurance plan, you may forget to renew you policy. This may affect the eligibility for coverage on certain pre-existing issues if you are already getting treatment for it.
What do Snowbirds do about Health Insurance if they have pre-existing conditions?
Most Canadian travel insurance companies will not cover you if you have pre-existing conditions. In fact, you are above the age of 59- they make you fill out a whole questionnaire asking questions like, "Are you travelling against the advice of a physician?" or "In the last 2 years have you been diagnosed with, taken or been prescribed medication, or been treated for heart failure or congestive heart failure."
Canadians with heart conditions can get coverage from INF. INF provides comprehensive and limited benefit policies which cover any heart conditions for snowbirds visiting the United States. INF plan do not ask you to fill out a medical questionnaire, and we do not discriminate our members based on their medical history.
Snowbirds with pre-existing conditions can enroll in the INF Elite or INF Premier Full Pre-Existing Travel Medical Insurance health plan. These health insurance plans for snowbirds cover all pre-existing conditions, with no look back period. We do not have pre-existing conditions exclusions for changes in medication, and INF plans cover snowbirds up to age 99 years old.
How much does Snowbird Travel Insurance Cost?
There are a couple factors which decide how much snowbird travel medical insurance costs. Age and length of stay, as well as single trip or multi-trip policy all play into the cost. Generally speaking, Snowbird Medical Insurance plans are less expensive than domestic health insurance since the insurance company does not have to account for the long term costs of your medical care. Compared to the cost medical treatment in the United States, INF Snowbird Travel Insurance costs are quite affordable.
Something to take into consideration: if you purchase a policy for 12 months from INF (otherwise known as a multi-trip plan) you will save 10% on the total premium, vs. if you are going month-to-month or booking 6 months at a time.
Myths about Snowbird Medical Insurance
MYTH 1: My Provincial Insurance will cover my expenses while traveling
Your Provincial Insurance provides only basic & minimal coverage while you are traveling, and the reimbursement process may take as long as six years to complete! It's better to take a supplementary Snowbird Insurance policy while traveling in the United States.
Basic and minimal coverage means your provincial insurance will pay only a small fraction of your total medical bill while visiting the United States. This will leave Snowbirds exposed to large medical bills. It is recommended to invest in a comprehensive snowbird travel insurance plan such as the INF Elite or INF Advantage plan to protect against these risks.
MYTH 3: I can always just fly back to Canada if I get sick
Yes, although the United States and Canada are right next to each other- in the event of a catastrophic emergency, Snowbirds may not be able to return to Canada right away. Most major emergencies will result in at least a 2-day stay in the hospital ICU- which can run as little as $20,000 and as high as $53,000.
You won't be able to leave your hospital until your condition has stabilized and then you have a doctor who will sign off saying you are OK to travel back to Canada to continue your treatme;
MYTH 2: My Canadian Snowbird Travel Insurance will cover pre-existing conditions
As we mentioned earlier- this is not true. If you are above the age of 60, Canadian travel insurance companies will ask you to fill out a health history questionnaire, and submit your application for special underwriting each time you apply for a policy. If there's even a change in your medication- they won't provide any coverage for you- let alone pre-existing conditions!
If you are a snowbird visiting the United States and you need snowbird insurance that covers pre-existing conditions- the INF Elite plan is the best plan for you. INF Elite plan covers all pre-existing conditions without regards to your prior medical history.
MYTH 4: I can just get the care I need and leave the country
Although you may live in Canada, that does not stop bill collection agencies from hounding you to pay your medical bills. Often times, we see collection agencies going to great lengths to collect on massive medical bills left by international visitors, including reporting to the US Department of State & US Department of Homeland Security- in order to prevent re-entry to the United States.
US bill collectors will go after you even if you live in a foreign country, and will seek to make sure you cannot enter the US without settling your unpaid medical debt.