GUEST COLUMN: Snowbird insurance takes flight

Heading south to warmer climates during the winter months is part of the retirement dream.

For many retired Canadians, heading south to warmer climates during the winter months is part of the retirement dream.

Some pack up as early as October and won’t be heading back to their Canadian residence until the spring thaw in April. During these months, a lot can happen. Even if you just plan on enjoying the warm weather and relaxed lifestyle, you should still consider getting insurance to meet your basic health care needs when you are living outside of Canada.

Many provincial health care programs have limitations to the coverage you are entitled to, and these may be further limited by factors such as temporary periods of absence from Canada, and your Canadian residency status. Typically, provincial health care will provide limited coverage for three months from the time you leave the province. After six months outside of the province, most health care programs will terminate your eligibility to receive coverage.

Even with limited coverage during your temporary absence, you should still be prepared for accidents or serious illness.

It’s important to check your province’s health care coverage before you leave the country.

Some Canadian snowbirds holding dual citizenship may be eligible for health care coverage in the country of their winter residence. Many of these health care plans will only cover you after a specified waiting period.

However, Canadian retirees may find that these plans do not offer comparable coverage and may want to explore health care insurance.

There are two types of health care insurance available to retirees spending time abroad.

Depending on your needs, you may choose between supplementary and replacement insurance.

Supplementary insurance is insurance to cover the extra cost of medical services received abroad that are not covered by your province’s health care system. It is relatively inexpensive since it provides for short-term care for health issues which can be treated once you return to Canada.

Most supplementary plans offer coverage for emergency evacuation back to Canada. In most cases, you can claim the cost of insurance premiums as an income tax credit on your tax return.

Replacement insurance is important if you will be staying outside Canada long enough to lose your provincial health care coverage.

It usually does not cover pre-existing conditions and often has strict age restrictions for eligibility of coverage.

If the plan features coverage for pre-existing conditions, is available to persons over a certain age, and covers you in Canada while you wait to be reinstated for provincial coverage, premiums may become extremely expensive.

Plan ahead and plan according to your health and travel needs. There are many options to meet your retirement health care needs while you are abroad. Planning ahead can ensure that you have the information and the resources to help you choose the right plan.

Consider carefully how long you’ll be away, the impact of your health insurance coverage on your travel budget, and take the time to understand the coverage limitations of your provincial health care plan.

Once you know everything is in place to take care of all your everyday or emergency health care needs, you’ll be able enjoy your trip south with greater peace of mind.

Kirbey Lockhart is an investment advisor with RBC Dominion Securities. This article is provided for information purposes only. Please consult with a professional advisor before implementing a strategy.

 

Just Posted

Vernon MMA fighter captures middleweight belt at home

Jordan Cabrejos scores victory at XFC Unbanned, the return of mixed martial arts to Vernon

Clouds Sunday, sunshine and heat Monday

Weather forecast for the Okanagan, Shuswap and Similkameen looks spectacular

B.C. Green MLA makes Vernon appearance

Olsen spoke in Cenotaph Park just after 12 p.m. in front of a gathering of about 20 supporters

IPE Parade draws near

Armstrong’s 120th Interior Provincial Exhibition starts next Wednesday, Aug. 28

Meet Vernon’s newest homeless outreach team

The Vernon Homeless Outreach Team makes its first formal appearance Aug. 28 at Upper Room Mission

VIDEO: B.C. woman meets biological mother, 38 years later

Mother never gave up hope of finding daughter, despite all the obstacles

B.C. VIEWS: Pipelines set to roll as federal politicians posture

Projects to drive B.C., Canadian economy in years ahead

B.C. Lions fall to 1-9 after 13-10 loss to Ticats

Lowly Leos have dropped six straight CFL contests

Man shot near Coalmont airlifted to hospital

A man was shot near Coalmont B.C. Saturday afternoon. The victim was… Continue reading

VIDEO: B.C. woman meets biological mother, 38 years later

Mother never gave up hope of finding daughter, despite all the obstacles

B.C. man who died after rescuing swimmer was known for helping others

Shaun Nugent described as a dad, a coach, a hero and ‘stand-up guy’ at celebration of life

B.C. RCMP plane chases fleeing helicopter as part of major cross-border drug bust

The helicopter eventually landed at a rural property near Chilliwack

PHOTOS: Brazil military begins operations to fight Amazon fires

Amazon fires have become a global issue, escalating tensions between Brazil and European countries

Racist confrontation in Richmond parking lot caught on camera

Woman can be heard yelling racial slurs, swear words at woman in apparent parking dispute

Most Read