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How to avoid big healthcare bills this Black Friday

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If you are like so many Canadians who travel to the United States for amazing Black Friday deals, don’t forget essential travel insurance!

Every November on Black Friday in the United States, Canadians get ready for their seasonal trip over the border looking for shopping deals. Hunting for rock-bottom prices can be exhilarating and a great excuse for getting away for a weekend (so much more fun than online shopping!).

The goal on everyone’s mind is keeping bills to a minimum. That’s why people arm themselves before the hunting trip with price comparisons, and exchange rates, and they brush up on duty-free limits.

The problem is that many shoppers head across the border without planning for an essential item: travel medical insurance.

Luckily, out-of-country healthcare bills are easy to avoid!

The moment you cross the border you are at risk

Your provincial health plan covers you — in your province. When you cross the border heading south, you put your finances at risk if an unexpected accident or illness happens.

No matter how brief your trip is — an afternoon or a long weekend — an accident or illness can mean racking up big healthcare bills. Anything can, and sometimes does, happen: a car accident, a serious slip and fall or even a heart attack. None of those situations leave you with the option of getting back home before you have medical treatment. So instead of a bargain, your trip can cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars in U.S. healthcare bills.

But you’re thinking “that won’t happen to me.”

Or are there other reasons you think you don’t need to buy travel medical insurance?

  • My credit card has me covered
    You better double check the fine print. Some credit cards have very limited coverage, or only cover you if you charge your trip to your credit card (and filling up for gas doesn’t count).
  • It’s too expensive (I want to save money!)
    Travel medical insurance may cost you as little as $4 a day – so skip the fancy coffee or choose a cheaper lunch. The peace of mind is worth it.
  • It takes too long to apply — I’m squeezing in this trip as it is!
    Putting your coverage in place at SBIS.ca is fast and easy. Give us a call. Or plan ahead and get a multi-trip plan that keeps you covered for a whole year!

Travel medical insurance can keep healthcare bills to a minimum

Travel insurance options from SBIS include plans for unexpected medical emergencies that happen during your trip that provide

  • Emergency Travel Assistance (or ETA) from the expert team available to help you when you have your medical travel insurance in place.
  • A network of service providers (so you don’t have to worry about finding help when you are not familiar with the area you are in).
  • Referrals to a local doctor, dentist, pharmacist or other appropriate medical facility.
  • Keeping contact with you and monitoring your care and the services you are receiving.
  • Help managing — and paying for — your eligible medical expenses by reimbursing you or even making payments to the medical facilities on your behalf.

One more tip for keeping money in your pocket

Check the Government of Canada website for the amount of goods you can bring home duty free.

Absence of less than 24 hours

  • There are no personal exemptions for same-day cross-border shoppers

Absence of 24 hours or more

  • You can claim goods (not including tobacco products or alcoholic beverages) up to CAN$200 without paying any duty and taxes.

Absence of 48 hours or more

  • You can claim goods (excluding tobacco or alcohol) worth up to CAN$800 without paying any duty and taxes.

Special duty rate

  • If you exceed your personal exemption after a trip of 48 hours or longer outside Canada you will be charged a special duty rate of 7% on the next CAN$300-worth of goods

Ready to shop? Get your travel medical insurance now!

For a good deal on travel medical insurance, give SBIS a call at 1-800-667-0429 Monday to Friday, 8:45 a.m. to 4:45 p.m ET or go online at SBIS.ca. Happy bargain hunting!

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