TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - May 10, 2011) - Canadians travelling to Europe this summer are urged to carry proof of supplemental health insurance as various governments now require visitors to have adequate medical coverage while in their respective countries.
According to the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT): "Your Canadian insurance is almost certainly not valid outside Canada. It is essential to obtain supplementary travel insurance ― health, life, disability, driving, vehicle, and trip cancellation ― before leaving Canada."
David Hartman, president of the Travel Health Insurance Association of Canada (THIA) states that "In addition to Cuba, which last year announced it would require visitors to show proof of medical insurance when entering the country, more nations, particularly in Europe, are also requiring such proof."
Hartman notes that the DFAIT website lists Belarus, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Ukraine as specifically requiring Canadian citizens to be prepared—in some cases required—to show proof of medical coverage while visiting. It notes further that in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, and Estonia, the minimum medical coverage required is 30,000 euros (approximately $42,500 Canadian), while Lithuania stipulates that health insurance is mandatory for all non-European Union citizens, and visitors unable to demonstrate sufficient proof of medical coverage must purchase short term insurance at the border. Similarly, DFAIT notes that the government of the Ukraine requires all visitors to obtain mandatory health insurance from a state-supported company at their point of entry.
Mr. Hartman warns that the small amounts provinces pay for out-of-country health services would not meet those coverage requirements, although supplemental, private travel insurance plans available in Canada cover, at minimum, $1 million of medical emergency and repatriation expenses.
"Because of changing border requirements and controls, we urge all Canadians travelling abroad to check the DFAIT website at http://www.voyage.gc.ca/countries_pays/menu-eng.asp and click on the countries they are planning to visit to determine their medical insurance requirements, if any. They will be found in the Entry/Exit Requirements section," says Mr. Hartman.
About THIA. THIA is the national organization representing travel insurers, brokers, underwriters, re-insurers, emergency assistance companies, air ambulance companies and allied services in the travel insurance field. Its website is http://www.thiaonline.com/.