Insurance Coverage for Canadian on Alaska cruise

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Apr 23, 2018
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#1
I am shopping for medical and travel insurance for a Alaskan cruise my friend and I just booked. As a resident of British Columbia, BC, I will departing and returning to Vancouver, BC. There seems to be some confusion around my medical coverage. As this trip goes through the Inside Passage, it appears during those times I will be in BC, not international waters, and therefore any purchased medical coverage will not apply until we cross into Alaska. Does that sound right? So if on my first day at sea, if I should trip and get injured and require off board medical treatment, I will not be able to claim any medical expenses? Would the trip interruption portion of the insurance cover expenses if I need to be taken off board while still in BC? Hoping someone with more knowledge here will comment before I commit to a plan and pay more for insurance I cannot access.

Also, my friend paid for the trip and I will reimburse her. Does her credit card trip insurance therefore cover me as well?

Also, I find several packages on line won't tell me I am ineligible because i am Canadian but only after I fill out form, medical questionaire, etc. Even insuremytrip.com which someone else referred to in a previous post, ends up giving me a list of companies, only to then find they won't give me a quote for this reason.
 

AMA

Verified Member
Dec 11, 2014
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#2
In the US, our health insurance will not cover us if we leave the United States. You're a Canadian resident and have universal healthcare coverage - what do your rules say? You should consult a specifically Canadian travel insurance company.
 
Likes: VISERENDIPITY

Carrie Livingston

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Jan 6, 2015
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#3
Doing some poking around I found that CAA offers an annual policy for a flat fee. If you are a member that might be worth looking into. Their policies seem to cover you from the time you leave your home to the time you return home.

Also if you a member of Costco they appear to have policies.

Note: This is not a recommendation of either company just some options that I found.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
7,847
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#5
I urge you to work with a real insurance broker, not an online entity. You need solid coverage for the whole trip, no splitting things into "international waters" etc. When I'm travelling out of the US, my personal Blue Shield policy covers me for 80% of any medical expenses. If yours doesn't, find a good broker. Be sure that you have emergency medical evacuation coverage in case of a serious accident or illness that requires you to be evacuated from the cruise.
 
Apr 23, 2018
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#7
As a BC native (now living in the USA) and assuming you already have BC Medical Services coverage, I recommend that you first check with BC Medical Services Plan (MSP) by phone -https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/health/health-drug-coverage/msp/bc-residents-contact-us .
This page provides further information: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/.../medical-benefits-outside-of-british-columbia .

Normally, your BC MSP should cover you while you are in BC. To be absolutely sure, you should ask them if the Inside Passage waters are part of BC. (They are indeed part of Canada, but maybe not a part of a particular province – I simply don’t know.)

Also, I do believe you can purchase extra travel insurance that will cover you while in BC (although this might not be necessary if the Inside Passage is part if BC).

As for Alaska, you should buy extra insurance. Here is a warning on the BC government website:
“Residents should be aware that their provincial coverage may not pay for all the health care costs incurred outside the province, and the difference can be substantial. For example, B.C. pays $75 (CDN) a day for emergency in-patient hospital care, while the average cost in the U.S. often exceeds $1,000 (US) a day, and can be as high as $10,000 (US) a day in intensive care. For this reason, residents are strongly advised to purchase additional health insurance from a private insurer before leaving the province, whether they are going to another part of Canada or outside the country - even if they plan to be away for only a day.”

I hope this helps.
 
Apr 23, 2018
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#8
As a BC native (now living in the USA) and assuming you already have BC Medical Services coverage, I recommend that you first check with BC Medical Services Plan (MSP) by phone -https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/health/health-drug-coverage/msp/bc-residents-contact-us .
This page provides further information: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/.../medical-benefits-outside-of-british-columbia .

Normally, your BC MSP should cover you while you are in BC. To be absolutely sure, you should ask them if the Inside Passage waters are part of BC. (They are indeed part of Canada, but maybe not a part of a particular province – I simply don’t know.)

Also, I do believe you can purchase extra travel insurance that will cover you while in BC (although this might not be necessary if the Inside Passage is part if BC).

As for Alaska, you should buy extra insurance. Here is a warning on the BC government website:
“Residents should be aware that their provincial coverage may not pay for all the health care costs incurred outside the province, and the difference can be substantial. For example, B.C. pays $75 (CDN) a day for emergency in-patient hospital care, while the average cost in the U.S. often exceeds $1,000 (US) a day, and can be as high as $10,000 (US) a day in intensive care. For this reason, residents are strongly advised to purchase additional health insurance from a private insurer before leaving the province, whether they are going to another part of Canada or outside the country - even if they plan to be away for only a day.”

I hope this helps.
A further thought - You might want to check whether medical costs billed by the cruise line for on-board treatment while the ship is in BC waters would be partially covered, if at all, by MSP. Another reason for an extra policy.
 
Likes: AMA and VoR61
Jan 6, 2015
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#9
From what I've read, most "nationwide" insurance policies will cover on-board medical expenses while in the port of departure up until the ship leaves waters claimed by that country. However, I imagine that some policies could exclude on-board expenses altogether . . .
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
7,847
7,692
113
San Francisco
#10
A further thought - You might want to check whether medical costs billed by the cruise line for on-board treatment while the ship is in BC waters would be partially covered, if at all, by MSP. Another reason for an extra policy.
Really great information, GAT. Who would think life could be so complicated? And I might add, once you check with MSP, viserendipity, ascertain exactly where you can find this information in writing. These days, nobody can rely on phone reps to be totally accurate ... as we've read with chagrin from our OPs.
 
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