Page 8 - CSANews 83

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Dear Bird Talk,
I read with interest the articles and letters about the proposed
Visit-USA Act in the spring issue of
. I was wonder-
ing what the effect will be on Canadian health coverage for
Canadians who would be out of Canada for more than 183
days. I believe that, at present, the time out of the country is
limited to an absence of 183 days and that being out of the
country any longer can result in cancellation of coverage under
the Canada Health Plan. I would appreciate your comments.
Robert Wilson
Calgary, AB
Ed: There are several issues to resolve with a U.S. Snowbird Visa
and CSA is already discussing the possible solutions with Canadian
politicians. The first is allowable absence from your province of
residence, which varies from six months inmost provinces, to
sevenmonths in Ontario and up to nine months in Newfoundland
and Labrador. The simple answer is to just deema Canadian
as resident even if they spend longer than six months outside
of Canada, provided they have the Snowbird Visa. This would
maintain their tax payable in Canada, as it should be, andminor
amendments could be made to provincial health-care regulations
tomaintain health coverage. Lots of work to do, but this is all a
very real possibility.
Dear Bird Talk,
My husband and I spent four months last winter in Florida, with
62 days of insurance frommy Retired Teachers of Ontario plan,
then topping up with Medipac. We arrived back in Canada on
April 2 and our Medipac insurance expired on April 3. If we had
been in a serious accident before we crossed the border and
were both unconscious – in hospital – but unable to phone for
more top-up insurance, what would have happened?Would
we lose our home and everything we have worked so hard to
Mary Mueller
Brockville, ON
Ed: WithMedipac, you are totally covered, don’t worry. Medipac
provides automatic extensions of coverage, for FREE, if you are
hospitalized. We then cover you for an additional 72 hours after
discharge to give you time to return home. We also cover you,
again at no cost, for an additional 72 hours following your normal
expiry date if your plane is late, if your car or RV was in an accident
or if it has amechanical breakdown. Some other insurers have
fortunately copied our wording, but read your other policy care-
fully, to be certain.
Dear Bird Talk,
you recommend that members go to your website
and print the (closer connection) form. When I entered the site,
I was asked for my membership number and a password. I do
not have a password. If you intend to help people, why make it
difficult. Non-members may join if they appreciate the service.
Please e-mail the form to me so I can mail it in.
Bert Ellis
St. Catharines, ON
Ed: This has always been a “hot button” issue with the CSA board
members. There is a fine balance between serving your members
and assisting all Canadian travellers. The board decided that
everyone should have access to their work and efforts, and I
enthusiastically agree. No sign-in is now required.
Dear Bird Talk,
This message is in reference to the lady trying to acquire U.S.
credit cards at major shopping stores. As snowbirds, we have a
home in an adult community in Henderson, Nevada and this is
what has worked for me when applying for a card with Macy’s,
Dillards, Kohls, etc. Once you have their card, you will enjoy
better discounts. When applying for a card, the application
asks for your social security number. In Canada, we have social
insurance numbers, which are different but very similar and
can be used in this case. Canadian social insurance numbers
have this sequence – 777-777-777. American social security
numbers have this sequence 777-77-7777. So quite simply,
you enter your SIN # in the American format (ex. If your SIN
number is 123-456-789, you would enter it as 123-45-6789) and
your application for a card should go through. Also, Macy’s will
mail your statement back to either your Canadian or American
Happy shopping!
V. C.
Lloydminster, AB
Ed: WARNING! Most Americans will not even question this and that
is why it is the wrong thing to do. Many years ago, in Las Vegas, I
won a fairly nice jackpot on a slot machine and was told that they
were going to withhold 30% for taxes. I told them that we have
no taxes in Canada and that I wantedmy money. I got my money
after they suggested that they would just use my Canadian SIN
number andmy U.S. address and see whether anyone catches it in
the cheque administration department. I was proudly bragging to
my U.S. lawyer friend that I had received 100% of my winnings and
he was very upset withme. To quote, he said, “They can put you in
jail for impersonating the U.S. person who actually has that SIN
number!” And then bar you from the U.S. forever. Lesson Learned.
Dear Bird Talk,
La Times April 1 page A2, investigative article by Steve Lopez,
“The Calculus of ER Charges”had some points of interest to us
snowbirds. One that caught my attention was ER billings being
pegged at, or close to, insurance deductibles, in order to avoid
scrutiny by the HMO.