Toronto, ON (Feb. 11, 2015) – When it comes to travel insurance it is important that the insured persons fully understand what their policy does and does not cover; otherwise, misunderstandings and huge medical bills are a possibility.
This is particularly true of pregnancy considerations when purchasing travel insurance!
Avoid a “Million-Dollar Baby”
There have been several high profile cases where travelers thought they were adequately protected by travel medical insurance, just to find out the hard way that the costs associated with a premature birth were not covered by their policy.
For example, take a Saskatchewan woman who ended up giving birth prematurely while on vacation in Hawaii. She and her spouse ended up with a $950,000 hospital bill, with the insurance company refusing to provide coverage for their expenses.
Key Points for Travel Insurance and Pregnancy
The key points regarding travel insurance and pregnancy/birth costs are summarized below.
- Travel insurance is designed for unexpected medical costs. Giving birth, however, is considered an “expected medical condition,” and as such, standard, birth-related costs are not covered by travel insurance plans.
- Birth related costs such as pre-natal care, childbirth, and possible health complications resulting from pregnancy are only covered up to the 8th or 9th week prior to (and after) the expected delivery date.*
- Most travel policies do not cover any costs incurred resulting from required care for the newborn (only the insured mother is covered).
- Newborn babies cannot be insured until they are 15 to 30 days old (depends on the carrier and plan).
- The applicant must disclose any pre-existing condition that could have an effect on the pregnancy at the time of application.
* Depends on the particular insurance plan. Make sure you consult your policy for full details.
Examples of Insurance Company Exclusions
The following are examples of how 5 major Canadian travel insurance companies treat pregnancy related costs and travel insurance exclusions.
Important: For any pregnancy related cost to be covered the pregnancy must considered “normal,” whereby there are no undisclosed, pre-existing conditions that could affect the pregnancy and birth of the child.
- Manulife: excludes all pregnancy related costs 9 weeks prior to the expected delivery date.
- TIC (Travel Insurance Coordinators): excludes all pregnancy related costs after 32 weeks into the pregnancy.
- GMS (Group Medical Services): excludes all pregnancy related costs after 18 weeks into the pregnancy.
- RSA (Royal Sun Alliance): excludes all pregnancy related costs 9 weeks prior to the expected delivery date.
- Ontario Blue Cross: excludes all pregnancy related costs 8 weeks prior to the expected delivery date.
Other Travel Considerations When Pregnant
Travelling after 30 weeks of pregnancy comes with a higher risk of a premature birth. Most airlines have policies that may limit the air travel of pregnant women. For example, British Airways restricts travel after the 32nd week of pregnancy.
If you are pregnant and traveling, make sure you contact your airline for further clarification.
About Visitor to Canada Insurance
Visitor to Canada insurance offers emergency medical coverage to people visiting Canada, and is similar in nature to travel insurance plans.
Unlike travel insurance, however, visitor to Canada plans never cover any expenses related to pregnancy and birth.
Refer to the tips below in order to avoid a huge medical bill for costs resulting from pregnancy:
- Consider not travelling out of country after the 7th month of pregnancy.
- If you are a Canadian on holidays then consider traveling within Canada (in which case your provincial healthcare provides coverage for giving birth).
- If you do travel out of country while pregnant please make sure you contact your insurance broker or the insurance carrier to make sure you fully understand everything that is and is not covered regarding your pregnancy!
HealthQuotes.ca has been helping Canadians get insured since 1981. They offer travel insurance and health insurance services online such as instant quotes and convenient plan comparisons.