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www. snowbirds .org

Dear Bird Talk,

I think you are doing a grave disservice

to your Canadian readers for not letting

them know which insurance company

refused to pay for the hospital that

treated the little girl in Mexico. I have used

insurance companies over the years and

had no problem until I was stranded out

west in Oregon. I had a major company

who would not help me. I had to find

someone to fly out and drive me and my

motorhome home. I later found out that

I had Lyme disease and was sick for over

two years. I paid all the expenses and had

to prove that I couldn’t get back by myself.

They eventually paid some of it, but you

can believe I dropped that company

the next year. We need to expose these

companies and they just might smarten

up when no one uses their company.

Barbara Cormack

Barrie, ON

Ed.: I agree with you, Barbara. The problem

is that big insurers have big pockets for

lawyers and, unless you get written permis-

sion from the clients and the hospitals, you

really can’t say anything. When you do, you

are in court for telling the truth. The last case

took three years to settle, but we did win. It’s

just not worth the fight, however. So nowwe

have two nasty insurance companies – the

one for the little girl and yours. I always

say to just buy Medipac as that is the best

option. By the way, if you had called us, we

would have helped you, for free. That’s just

who we are. Congratulations on beating

Lyme disease; it is more dangerous than

most people think.

Dear Bird Talk,

Two winters ago, I did not travel to Florida

because my wife Alma was being treated

for cancer (and passed away), so I can-

celled the insurance on the automobile

that I keep in Florida. When I went to

the local licensing office in Bradenton to

renew my “tag,” I was shunted from one

clerk to the next until I demanded to

know“what is going on.” I was told “you

did not turn in your licence plate when

you cancelled your insurance, therefore

you must pay a fine of US$150 in order

to renew.” Last fall, when I turned in the

plate, I demanded that the clerk/office

inform the “powers to be in Tallahassee

that I turned in the plate.”The response

was, “oh we do not do that.” By the way,

they do not hold the plate; it is a new one

every time you renew in that manner.

Also, you cannot just put it on a minimum

“fire & theft” as we do here in Ontario. You

can only reduce the figure by about 30%

and the insurance on the same vehicle

was twice as much in Florida as it was in


I have been trying to raise this matter with

the CSA for action for some considerable

time, but to date have had no clear

acknowledgement or response!

Harry Splett

Ottawa, ON

Ed.: Hello Harry, it’s nice to hear from you

again. We have generally found that you

will get a different answer from every clerk

in one of these tax offices. They really do not

know how to deal with us, the foreigners. I

would try going to a different tax office to

see if you can get a different response. The

CSA is aware of these and many other simi-

lar issues but, for now, we are concentrating

on the Snowbird Visa.

Dear Bird Talk,

I enjoy reading your magazine, however

the fall issue no. 92 had some incorrect

information in the Low Fat Chicken

Stroganoff recipe found on page 49. The

recipe mentions that it is gluten-free and

that all you have to do is substitute the

egg noodles with any gluten-free pasta.

Firstly, the all-purpose flour is not gluten-

free and canned cream of mushroom

soup is not gluten-free. People who are

gluten-free and just learning about it

would be misled by the recipe. Those of

us who are pros at staying away from

food with gluten see lights flashing when

they read items in a recipe that they know

contain gluten.

Hopefully, no one with gluten problems

became ill after trying this recipe. Perhaps

your office should proofread more closely,

especially recipes.

Carol Chippior

Ed.: We had no idea of the dangers involved

in the recipe, our apologies. We have notified

the author so that this will not be repeated

in other recipes. Thanks for catching this.

Dear Bird Talk,

I am a retired federal employee spending

each winter in Florida. I have medical

coverage under the Public Service Health

Care Plan for up to 40 days outside of

Canada. To extend this, I fly back and forth

to Ontario every few weeks to keep re-

newing the 40-day coverage, a rather ex-

pensive and tiring process. The alternative

would be to buy additional insurance for

the winter at a much higher cost. I wonder

if perhaps the CSA could prevail upon the

PSHCP to permit extended coverage for

snowbirds like myself, if necessary, for an

additional premium. Better this, than giv-

ing the money to the airline industry.

Wally Gordon

Ottawa, ON

Ed.: The PSHCP could sell you extra cover-

age, but I am afraid that the price would

be substantially higher than Medipac in

most cases. We do know other people who

fly back to a border town on a U.S. airline

(which is usually much cheaper) and then

drive their vehicle across the border for a

day or two. As you say, it’s a lot of hassle but

insurance premiums can be very, very high

if you have serious health issues. We are not

sure that this will be economical now, with

our devalued dollar. We were very happy

to see that PSHCP increased their limits to

$500,000, as people were relying on their old

plan and many experienced claims trouble

with bills in excess of the old $100,000 limit.

Dear Bird Talk,

I think it important to warn other snow-

birds about my unfortunate experience

with Bell Canada.

For two years, I requested temporary

suspension of my satellite dish for the

TV while I was in Florida. This was done

and I was charged a minimal amount.

This past October 2013, I phoned them

as usual. I spoke to a young man who

took all the particulars and assured me

that the temporary suspension would

be put in place. When I received the next

bill, I saw that they were charging the full

amount. I wrote to them in December and

again in March. They did not correct their

mistake. I also phoned and spoke to two

representatives, who said that the order

for temporary suspension had not been

received. The account was disconnected

in February for non-payment. They would

not consider that the oversight was theirs.

When I returned to Canada in late April, I

determined that I could sign up with Shaw

Direct and did so. Then I wrote to Bell