Do Albertans Need Out-Of-Province Medical Insurance for Travel in Canada?
When it comes to travel close to home, we Albertans got it made. Skiing in the Rockies, camping under the stars in national parks, exploring the Badlands, and soaking up all the excitement and culture in Edmonton and Calgary.
But if you want to venture past provincial boundaries into B.C., Saskatchewan, and beyond, you might be wondering: do I need travel insurance for trips within Canada?
YES, it’s a smart idea.
Read below to find out what you need to know about staying protected (and avoiding huge costs) when travelling outside of Alberta.
Not All Medical Expenses Are Covered Outside Your Home Province
The provinces and territories (except Quebec, more info below) have processes in place to send medical bills back and forth between the provinces without the traveller paying up front.
These are called reciprocal billing agreements.
However, payment is limited to goods and services insured in Alberta. And there are many exceptions.
What to Watch Out For
If you don’t get travel medical insurance, here’s a list of things you might have to pay:
- Medical transportation. Which includes ambulance rides to the nearest hospital or air evacuation back to Alberta.
- Food, lodging, transport, telephone calls, or other incidental expenses when seeking medical treatment.
- Emergency dental treatment. Common emergency visits include knocked-out teeth or gum damage from accidents.
- Non-medical travel expenses. Provincial health care doesn’t cover costs associated with lost luggage or missed flights. Learn more about Trip Cancellation and Trip Interruption Insurance.
Quebec Doesn't Do Reciprocal Billing
Yep—Quebec doesn’t do reciprocal billing, so if you get sick or injured in la belle province, you will pay out-of-pocket for any out-patient medical services when your emergency doesn’t result in hospitalization.
No big deal, perhaps, if it’s $50 to stitch up a cut. Just charge it to your credit card and submit a claim when you return home. Here’s how to submit an Alberta health care claim.
But if you need an ambulance ride from an accident scene to the hospital, you’re looking at about a $2,000 charge that could have been avoided if you were covered by travel medical insurance.
Are Credit Card or Group Plans Enough?
It depends. You’ll want to take a close look at your policy booklet.
Credit card or group plans don’t usually have the same level of coverage as a standalone travel medical insurance plan like at AMA.
What to check:
- The coverage limits (dollar amounts, medical services, emergency types, etc.)
- Pre-existing conditions—are they covered?
- Air ambulance dollar limits (e.g. an air-lift from Ontario back to Alberta can cost up to $38,000.)
- Are claims paid out directly?
- Family allowances
- Deductible amounts
Planning a Canadian Adventure?
If you’re vacationing outside Alberta, don’t forget to secure coverage for you and your family before you go. Contact an AMA travel insurance specialist at 1-866-989-6595 or by visiting your nearest AMA centre.