You might recall several stories in the news recently about travel insurance claims being denied based on the information the claimant had provided, or neglected to provide, when they bought their travel insurance policy. Many people are not aware of the importance of disclosing complete and accurate information when applying for travel insurance.
BCMA members covered under the extended health benefit of the Standard or Core-Plus Plans are covered for $3 million in medical travel insurance and are not required to complete an annual health questionnaire. For members who do not participate in either of these plans, the BCMA has arranged with Johnson Inc. to offer the MEDOC Travel Insurance plan. The MEDOC plan requires annual completion of a Health Option Questionnaire.
The MEDOC plan is open to all BCMA members, regardless of age or health, but there are some important factors to note. One of the most important is the requirement to fully disclose accurate information when completing the annual Health Option Questionnaire, as the health option you qualify for is based on the answers you provide. Failing to provide accurate and detailed information regarding your medical history could cause a claim to be denied, as the insurance company may not have issued the policy under the same conditions if all your information was disclosed and accurate.
The law in most provinces and territories, including British Columbia, allows an insurance company to void a policy when the application contains a “material misrepresentation,” even if this is due to an oversight. In the travel insurance industry, verification of medical history is done when a claim is received. If the information disclosed on the health questionnaire or application is found to be materially different from the applicant’s medical records, the claim will be denied.
You should also be aware that the MEDOC policy contains a pre-existing medical condition limitation. This limitation requires any medical condition you may have to be “stable” in the 90-day period before the date you book your trip and the date you begin your trip. Your pre-existing medical conditions are eligible for coverage when they have been stable for 90 days prior to departure and/or 90 days prior to booking your trip for trip cancellation insurance.
Remember to be clear and accurate when completing any application and health questionnaire, whether it is for the MEDOC plan or any other travel insurance, and be sure to read your travel insurance contract before you leave. If you have any concerns about a question on the forms or a provision in your contract, make sure you discuss it with Johnson Inc. or your insurer.
—Sandie Braid, Director of Insurance
BC Medical Association