Insurance Update

Spring 2011 CSANews Issue 78  |  Posted date : May 06, 2011.Back to list

Thank heavens we won't have to listen to any more political ads for a while. They are so filled with misinformation, misquotes and, in some cases, downright lies, that I am thoroughly disgusted by the whole process. 

All of this reminds me of the travel insurance business and the misinformation that is spread by some of the participants. To back up a little, I was having a rare quiet period at our Extravaganza in Florida and decided to go out and thank some of our hundreds of volunteers. Two gentlemen volunteers were standing at the rear entrance of the Lakeland Center helping people with directions and supervising our sponsor lunches. They are regulars at Extravaganza, they are long-term members of CSA and they work hard.

After exchanging some pleasantries, I asked if there was anything I could do to help them; we will call them Jim and Dave. Jim said, "Sure, just change your Medipac insurance policy so that my pre-existing conditions are covered!" I said, "If you bought Medipac, it is very, very unlikely that your pre-existing conditions are not covered. Medipac covers your pre-existing conditions as long as they are stable and we can often provide coverage even if they are not stable, but at a higher price, of course."

Well, Dave chimed in and said, "That's nonsense, everyone one knows that NO insurance company will cover pre-existing conditions!" I asked who was telling him these crazy and untrue things and he said that "everyone" says it. After further questions, it turns out that he was talking about some agents he had talked to and some of his friends who believe that no one sells travel insurance that covers pre-existing conditions. This is astounding to me!

The three of us almost got into an argument, as we were all very passionate about our 'beliefs" and there seemed to be nothing I could say which would convince them that Medipac DOES cover stable pre-existing conditions. 

I now wanted to know what they had purchased for travel insurance and the answers were very sad. They had both purchased policies that excluded coverage for their pre-existing conditions. Therefore, the medical emergency which is most likely to happen would not be covered. This is nuts, but this is what certain people advised them to do. I bet they also said that their policies were cheaper than Medipac's but, if so, I know that it would not be by much.

There was only one way to settle this, so I went and got a copy of our application and the Medipac policy from the Medipac Extravaganza booth. I showed Jim and Dave how the application's medical questions were only used to determine which rate level had to be paid and I read - and showed them - the pre-existing clause straight out of the policy. Pre-existing conditions WERE covered. You could understand their confusion. They had been told, and always believed, that no insurer would cover pre-existing conditions. No doubt someone had told them that Medipac did not cover these either. I will leave a small blank space here "........." to let you know my true opinion about those people who lied to these two gentlemen.

Did I convince them? I am not certain, but they both agreed that they would look much more carefully this year when they buy their travel insurance. My guess is that Medipac will have two (or perhaps four, if they have travelling companions) new clients this year and perhaps, if others read this, there will be many more. 

P.S.: This has been a very difficult year for claims and the percentage of people making claims has increased significantly. The claims are also larger, and the stays in hospital are much longer than in previous years. This means that rate increases are coming, even though the Canadian dollar is stronger. A very disturbing factor is that the Ontario government appears to have told Ontario hospitals to deny entrance to returning Canadians who need treatment. We know of one person who was denied a hospital bed for three months; one of our own clients was denied a hospital bed for more than three weeks and then passed away, far from home; and we have met with substantial resistance when trying to get any hospital bed.

CSA fought... and is fighting... the various provincial governments when they tried to keep us prisoners in our own province. It appears that, now, we must fight to be allowed to return to our own province. This reminds me of the old song about Charlie who was riding on the MTA...

"Did he ever return
No he never returned
And his fate is still unlearn'd 
He may ride forever
'neath the streets of Boston
He's the man who never returned."

Who would have ever thought that we, as snowbirds, would have to worry about being "allowed" to come back home to Canada? One of our provinces set up a special hotline to help get a hospital bed in that province. When you used to call the number, the first question that they asked was "Do you have insurance?" If you said "yes," you did NOT get a bed and you were normally stranded wherever you were. You see, it is cheaper that way! They have been getting much better lately, though, and have been very helpful in some situations. There is another Ontario man who had a stroke while visiting Scotland and needs rehabilitation care; the government has said that all he has to do is fill out these forms and we will put him on the waiting list for a rehab bed (meaning many, many months). He has been there for a very long time and his family is distraught.

This nonsense impacts our insurance prices in a very negative way. Make sure that you take advantage of Medipac's Early Bird program as, I believe, things are going to get very messy. We need governments that care about their citizens. Make sure that you vote on the next election day; I hope that you voted in the recent federal election, too. If you don't vote, you don't care. These are things about which we should all care... and we CAN make a difference!