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Dear Bird Talk,
I always enjoy the articles and timely tips,
but must admit that one article in the
recent Bird Talk section raised huge red
flags. I refer specifically to the one fromV.C.
in Lloydminster, AB, where he suggested
how to adapt your SIN to facilitate a U.S.
credit card application.
Having been the victim of identity theft,
I have learned through Phone Busters
(RCMP) and even Human Resources
Development Canada that we should never
divulge our SIN to anyone other than an
employer, our banking institution or an
investment firm, as they issue T-4s, T-5s,
etc. I realize that the American credit card
company may not issue the requested card
without it, however I can assure you that
the loss of the perks from not having the
card would be more than outweighed by
the aggravation of having to deal with all
the frustration of identity fraud.
Carolyn Hepburn
London, ON
Ed: Huge red flags is correct. This letter is to
caution people again to never, never try to
use their Canadian SIN number as U.S. ID or
on any kind of U.S. form. It can be interpreted
as fraud, misrepresentation, identity theft and
impersonation. These are all serious crimes
anywhere. You could possibly circle it and
write beside the number that it is a Canadian
SIN, but I would not do that either. Placing
“Not Applicable” in the box is best.
Dear Bird Talk,
Per page 37 from Border Guide, and
confirmed by Regional Consultant,
Investigative Services, Belleville, Ont., it is
illegal for Canadians to give their SIN # to
any U.S. entity. But get an IRS-ITIN # to use
when you have to pay tax or do banking in
the U.S. Go to a U.S. library or go online to
get a W-7 form and complete it to get this
Alf Andrews
Leamington, ON
Ed: The best solution and very simple.
Dear Bird Talk,
This past winter, I had the misfortune of
contracting GBS (Guillain-Barre syndrome).
I, like many others, had never heard of this
debilitating autoimmune disorder. If you
want a scary read, Google it on the Internet.
With the accompanying pain and lack of
sleep due to the pain, I ended up in the ER
four nights in a row, and on each occasion,
the doctors were unable to correctly
diagnose this medical problem. Those
visits translated into a bill from the hospital
and doctors of $35,000. Now that’s really
scary. Thank God I had travel insurance
and, in particular, Medipac coverage. Every
staff member with whom I dealt was kind,
courteous and most understanding. With
four doctors in Texas being unable to
determine my medical problem, Medipac
flew me home. I then spent 10 days in
the Ottawa Civic Hospital, where after
numerous tests which included a spinal
tap, the doctors verified GBS. A followup
examination two weeks after being
released determined that the immune
system had become stable and that I could
return to Texas. Once again, without any
hesitation, Medipac made it possible for
me to fly to my southern winter retreat. I
have always recommended Medipac to my
fellow snowbirds. Now, armed with first-
hand experience unfortunate though it
may be, those recommendations will only
be stronger. Thank you, Medipac!
Don Kannon
Williamstown, ON
Ed: Out of interest, our first such case of GBS
at Medipac was with Don Slinger, one of the
CSA’s early and finest presidents. The details
of his case were almost identical to yours,
although his did take longer to clear up. We
evacuated him to the University Hospital
in London, Ontario and, by coincidence,
they had special programs and were doing
research on GBS. A very fast diagnosis with
immediate treatment saved his life, I am
sure, as the paralysis had already progressed
before the doctors got it under control.
Mr. Slinger totally recovered and lived for
many more years without any reoccurrence.
Thanks for your kind words; I will pass them
on to Medipac’s assistance staff.
Dear Bird Talk,
I just want to impress upon everyone how
important it is to have good insurance
before entering the U.S.
On Jan. 1, 2011, we were in a bad
accident on I-75 in Kentucky. Our van was
demolished by a big motorhome while we
were stopped in front of a police car with
flashing lights. My passenger was critically
injured. We were taken to a hospital in
Corbin and, after I insisted, they phoned
Medipac took over and airlifted us home.
Thanks to Medipac, my only expense was a
hotel room. Two-and-a-half days’ bills were
over $100,000. I had a doctor stand at the
foot of my bed in emergency and, when
I insisted on a call to Medipac, he said to
me, “do you want to live poor or die rich?” I
guess he was ticked off because he couldn’t
run up a bill. Medipac is not the cheapest
insurance on the market, but I believe they
are the best. “You get what you pay for.”
Thank you, CSA.
Donald Post
Woodstock, ON
Ed: Please note that Mr. Post was billed
$100,000 anyway, plus the $15,000 cost of
an air ambulance. This is a reminder to those
people who believe that, if they get sick, they
will just get on a plane and go home; this
almost never happens. By the way, if you send
in those hotel bills, we will pay those, too.
With Medipac, we try to give you more than
you pay for.
Dear Bird Talk,
The same day I read your article about
efforts to have the CRA approve travel
medical expenses, I received notice of
reassessment as they had rejected my
claim for the premiums paid. However,
your article gave me strength and I am
appealing. Thanks for your efforts.
John Caird
Oakville, ON
Ed: CSA strikes again. You WILL win.