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Old 22-06-2016, 15:19   #1
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Canadian Life insurance and health insurance

So, I quit my job and sold my house. We're going to begin our great sailing adventure within the next three weeks!!! One of the things I still really haven't figured out though is what to do with life insurance and health insurance.
What are other Canadians doing?
How does having no fixed address and being out of the country affect these things?
I imagine that we'll keep the life insurance that we have if the insurance company allows that, just to cover the mortgage on the house (now rented) if something should go terribly wrong.
Health insurance is a bit of a mystery, seems like nobody wants to help out if you're out of your respective province... Is there a supplemental option that cruisers can afford?
What about disability insurance? I currently have it but I assume that they probably wouldn't cover me anyway if they found out that I was "between jobs"
I know there are several posts on boat insurance once out of country so I won't worry too much about that for the time being.
I know we're not insurance brokers on this board but I'm curious about the actual experience of people in a similar situation.
Thanks everyone!
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Old 22-06-2016, 16:01   #2
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Re: Canadian Life insurance and health insurance

Congrats on being jobless.

First off, we're Canadian, so this will be pertinent to your situation.

When we went to Europe, we bought our boat and health insurance from IMIS. They were really fantastic. We almost made a boat insurance claim (lightning strike), which they were very helpful with; and had to make a claim for a week's stay at the hospital. They're really good to work with, or at least they were in 2006.

I'd highly recommend them. They're our first choice.

Cheers.
Paul.
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Old 22-06-2016, 16:17   #3
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Re: Canadian Life insurance and health insurance

Fellow Canadian here... Our approach (so far) to health insurance is only to worry about it when travelling in the USA. Of course, that's the only place we've been to so far in this "cruising" life, so perhaps my experience is not worth much . We bought health insurance that basically patched us up and shipped us back to our home province. It was relatively inexpensive, especially considering the cost of a stay in an American hospital.

My view, based on research and experience from friends, is that medical costs are quite manageable just about everywhere else in the world, so we're planning to pay-as-we-go everywhere else. It's only the USA that scares me.
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Old 22-06-2016, 16:42   #4
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Re: Canadian Life insurance and health insurance

A week's stay in a hospital, including spinal tap, pain killers, food, bed etc... cost just under $5000 US. Our deductible was $1500US, cost of insuring us both for a year was $1500 US. So it was pretty much a break-even deal.

I agree with Mike, it's not high on the priority list, unless you have a catastrophic accident.

Cheers.
Paul.
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Old 23-06-2016, 10:10   #5
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Re: Canadian Life insurance and health insurance

we are from Ontario and OHIP offers out of country 2 years less a day once every 5 years. So the insurance is for over and above what OHIP will pay for the same procedure. 61 years of age seems to be a threshold. we purchased insurance from Allianz for $2,600 for us both.
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Old 23-06-2016, 10:22   #6
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Re: Canadian Life insurance and health insurance

I'm a Indurance Agent (Financial Planner) at the moment represent Manulife Ins. Co. (Canadian Ins. Co.) before I represented AIA (American ins. Co.), I take care Of my clients/friends for 8 years. I do advice medical insurance (if you want and can apply, do a family plan, that is usually a bit cheaper), but once you sign the application forms make clear your intension, future or existing lifestyle, that you will be living abroad, and living aboard of your s/v, this will protect you from any conflict at this levels with your insurance company at the time of a claim, might be a bit more expensive due to your lifestyle but sure will cover your medical expenses (with or without deductible). If you can add a Personal Indurance with Accident Assistant Benefit, this protect your family (beneficiaries) in case something goes very bad and exist a dead due to accident, or will cover Temporary and permanent disablement. Hope it helps. It's a bit complex but easy to understand, may vary from person to person, nothing better than seat and listen your Broker/insurance Advicer. Be save having fun! Miguel
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Old 23-06-2016, 10:23   #7
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Re: Canadian Life insurance and health insurance

Between Insurnance Agent, I'm a sailor too. Good luck for your new lifestyle and wish you the best time of your live!
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Old 23-06-2016, 10:30   #8
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Re: Canadian Life insurance and health insurance

Be aware that your provincial medicare is basically useless outside of Canada.

You have to pay for any medical expenses that are covered free in Canada-such as doctors visits,hospitalization,etc.
A "travel" type medical plan,or the $$ to pay is necessary.

Drugs are not covered under medicare-in or out of Canada-so you need the same ability as above.

Typical "Blue Cross" type travel insurance will limit you to approved "patch up" medical/drug care sufficient to stabilize you enough to fly you back to Canada. That doesn't include other family members that are not sick,plus costs of storing boat etc.
Travel insurers will even send a chartered medivac jet,to get you back,rather than pay foreign medical bills!!

Shop carefully for good medical insurance out of country.

Life & disability insurance should pay out regardless of where you are-but verify that.

Cheers & Fair Winds!
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Old 23-06-2016, 10:44   #9
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Re: Canadian Life insurance and health insurance

I have a TD Visa credit card that gives me 2 weeks of hospital coverage where ever I go. So I don't worry about insurance when I travel on business. I don't know how it would work in your situation, but it's free coverage, so worth checking out. I've called and asked them and from what they say it seems to be all that I need.
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Old 23-06-2016, 11:00   #10
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Re: Canadian Life insurance and health insurance

Quote:
Originally Posted by Foolish View Post
I have a TD Visa credit card that gives me 2 weeks of hospital coverage where ever I go. So I don't worry about insurance when I travel on business. I don't know how it would work in your situation, but it's free coverage, so worth checking out. I've called and asked them and from what they say it seems to be all that I need.
Something free might be worth what you paid for it. Retired Canadian here. We get some coverage with our Mastercard but have to pay extra for more coverage. My advice is to check before you leave. I would not step foot in the USA without added health insurance.

Also watch out for the 'pre-existing conditions' clause as well as any changes to prescription medication. Private insurers just love to refuse your claim. See CBC Marketplace report
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Old 23-06-2016, 11:10   #11
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Re: Canadian Life insurance and health insurance

You also need to bear in mind that some places, such as St Helena and Ascension, require sufficient insurance to be medevaced out.

When I cleared into St. Helena last fall they asked but did not ask for proof.
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Old 23-06-2016, 11:30   #12
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Re: Canadian Life insurance and health insurance

I got mine through Johnson Insurance out or Richmond Hill, ON
Insured through Royal & Sun Alliance.
It we quite reasonable and not worth taking the risk of having something happen and not having any coverage.
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Old 23-06-2016, 12:15   #13
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Re: Canadian Life insurance and health insurance

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Originally Posted by deblen View Post
Be aware that your provincial medicare is basically useless outside of Canada.

You have to pay for any medical expenses that are covered free in Canada-such as doctors visits,hospitalization,etc.
A "travel" type medical plan,or the $$ to pay is necessary.

Drugs are not covered under medicare-in or out of Canada-so you need the same ability as above.
Yes, although specifically with OHIP anyway (not sure about other provincial systems) they will cover emergency medical treatments up to certain limits. From the OHIP website:
  • "For physician services, OHIP will pay the actual cost billed by the out-of-country physician(s) or the cost of the same physician service(s) in Ontario, whichever is less. Physician services in Ontario are usually rendered at a significantly lower cost than those billed at out-of-country health facilities. Please note that out-of-country health facilities and physicians usually bill separately.
  • For outpatient emergency room services, OHIP will pay $50 Canadian (CDN) per day.
  • For inpatient services, OHIP will pay $200 CDN per day. If the services are inpatient services rendered in an operating room, coronary care unit, intensive care unit, neonatal or pediatric special care unit, then OHIP will pay at the higher rate of $400 CDN per day for hospital services.
  • For outpatient dialysis services, OHIP will pay $210 CDN per day.

As I read it, OHIP will cover emergency medical costs as long as you remain OHIP-eligible (note the residency requirements), but the amounts they will pay are, in the website's words: "very limited."

Reading between the lines, I think they're really saying if you're going to the USA, be sure to get additional coverage b/c the costs there are nuts. But in other parts of the world your OHIP emergency coverage might be not too bad.
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Old 23-06-2016, 12:34   #14
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Re: Canadian Life insurance and health insurance

Quote:
Originally Posted by tmoandj View Post
So, I quit my job and sold my house. We're going to begin our great sailing adventure within the next three weeks!!! One of the things I still really haven't figured out though is what to do with life insurance and health insurance.
What are other Canadians doing?
How does having no fixed address and being out of the country affect these things?
I imagine that we'll keep the life insurance that we have if the insurance company allows that, just to cover the mortgage on the house (now rented) if something should go terribly wrong.
Health insurance is a bit of a mystery, seems like nobody wants to help out if you're out of your respective province... Is there a supplemental option that cruisers can afford?
What about disability insurance? I currently have it but I assume that they probably wouldn't cover me anyway if they found out that I was "between jobs"
I know there are several posts on boat insurance once out of country so I won't worry too much about that for the time being.
I know we're not insurance brokers on this board but I'm curious about the actual experience of people in a similar situation.
Thanks everyone!
I'm out of sync with everyone else here. I've been out of Canada for 6 months of the year for past 20 yrs and never purchased medical or life insurance. I return every 6 months for check ups and medication which is free for over 65's. Couple of times I needed a quick flight back to be hospitalized, once from Caribbean and once from the US. Once my wife broke her leg and needed immediate attention in the US, Ontario Hospital paid for that. Flights back to Canada are just a few hours from anywhere in the world, no big deal. I can't see the point in purchasing US medical, flights are far less expensive and by returning every 6 or 7 months your Canadian medical will be in good standing.
I'm also a Brit with EU passport and covered over there too; although, never had to use it.
Only time I purchased Medical coverage was when I lived in Oz for a couple of years. I found that Canadian coverage is far less expensive because they know how much the Canadian government system will pay and the Oz companies don't allow for that.
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Old 23-06-2016, 14:07   #15
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Re: Canadian Life insurance and health insurance

The suggestion to call IMIS is probably a good start, they are true professionals in every sense of the word.

Then call DAN, the Divers Alert Network, who this year started offering a "Boaters" insurance plan similar to the place they have for divers, which include some of the best medevac coverage available. They will repatriate the victim AND a companion if home-quality care is not available closer.

IMIS and DAN get nothing but praise, check 'em out.

In the US, your "hospital bill" is your least worry. It gets more complicated than this, but:
1-The hospital may accept Federal funding as a non-profit, in which case they will adjust your bill if you have reduced income, etc. Or they may be a commercial hospital group, who have no obligation to do so and will not do so. Can be a 10x or greater difference in the bill.

2-The hospital bill does not include specialists, such as the radiology group ($4000 for an MRI?) or an anesthesiologist ($$) or a surgeon ($$$) or other people that you thought were part of the "hospital". Any policy or broker who says "Pays the hospital bill" has just low-balled you, the hospital bill is often less than half of the total bill for an incident.

And if you are a trauma victim, a stroke victim, got hit by a bus, or for some other reason the airline won't allow you to fly home even if you beg them to, because you're in the process of bleeding out or dying? Then yes, you need coverage IN the US and you need it then and there.

Or, if you are in a bus or train crash in Columbia or Venezuela or Cuba? Guess where the medevac flight is going to take you? The closest Cat1 Trauma Center is Miami's Jackson Ryder, you're going to the US for treatment that is not available in those countries. And you'll get a US bill.

The picture isn't as simple as some replies would have it sound, is it?

Don't take anyone's word on what you need or what it covers. Start with the provincial authorities to find out your coverage limits (if you are away for 7 months, is there a waiting period before you requalify for ANY coverage?), see what the brokers say, and don't be afraid to ask an insurance carrier for a specific question or a copy of the policy they want to sell you.

Their job is not to make you whole, it is to make a profit. Some are better than others at doing #1 in order to make #2 happen in the long term.

Some of our hospitals in the US run real rackets. Like charging $100/liter for a saline drip, which costs them $1/liter, before the administrative costs. And as soon as you go into the ER, they want to hang those $100 bags "just in case". You're allowed to say "I don't think so, you'll wait until I need it, unless you're paying."
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