Travel

Drinking while on vacation denies medical coverage....

  • Last Updated:
  • Oct 9th, 2019 12:11 am
[OP]
Deal Addict
User avatar
Dec 24, 2007
1514 posts
1781 upvotes
BC

Drinking while on vacation denies medical coverage....

I'm sure most of you go off on your Mexico vacation or cruise vacation and like to have a few drinks. Well, you could be in for a very expensive surprise if you get into any medical problems after a drink.

Have you read your travel medical insurance policy closely regarding denied coverage if your medical condition is directly or indirectly resulting from drinking? Some policies have zero tolerance (ie. any drinking will be denied) and others are worded less strictly "while being impaired by drugs or alcohol or having an alcohol concentration that exceeds 80 milligrams in 100 millilitres of blood." "While impaired" is a vague term and up to the insurance company to interpret but it does mean you don't have to be legally drunk.

Recent BC lawsuit where insurance company initially denied a claim where person had heart issue while drinking and had .07 percent alcohol level at Reno Insurers-slammed-for-tossing-travel-claim-over-drinking.

Another was denied claim after falling down after having a drink Couple on dream trip left with $40k hospital bill

Be safe: Don't travel and drink!!!
10 replies
Deal Addict
Oct 23, 2017
1875 posts
1403 upvotes
GTA West
Same goes for "risky" activities as defined by the insurer. Look carefully if you plan to zip-line, bungee jump, scuba dive, ascend in a balloon, etc. These activities won't be covered in every policy!
Deal Addict
Oct 6, 2015
2463 posts
1372 upvotes
Even if you're denied the financial end of the claim, the insurance itself can be invaluable in terms of getting you treated and/or brought back to Canada. As opposed to being left there to die.

A foreign hospital that doesn't get paid, what are they going to do, come to Canada to sue you?

US Federal Law, even, requires that anyone who shows up at Emergency room be treated. So the traditional 'boogeyman', which is US insurance coverage, really is that, a boogeyman.
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Nov 13, 2010
7024 posts
1368 upvotes
Scarborough
Why not go free and not pay insurance companies at all? Why be at the whim of these insurance companies?
Deal Addict
Oct 6, 2015
2463 posts
1372 upvotes
apnayloags wrote: Why not go free and not pay insurance companies at all? Why be at the whim of these insurance companies?
The premium does provide something of value. And there's lots of reasons one could be injured when not under the influence. An exclusion based on intoxication, risky activity, etc., would almost certainly be post-incident underwritten.
Deal Addict
Oct 23, 2017
1875 posts
1403 upvotes
GTA West
apnayloags wrote: Why not go free and not pay insurance companies at all? Why be at the whim of these insurance companies?
There are lots of people who do just that and the majority of them come home safe and sound. But the ones who don't are the ones you see on crowd-funding pages begging for help to get home or pay their bills.

There are no whims in insurance policies. They are carefully written and calibrated to assume certain risks against a certain premium, and you can get custom policies for specific requirements not covered by a standard policy. The mistake I see most often is that people don't take the time to read policies and shop for the best coverage. The sales reps are friendly and buying a policy is easy because the onus is on you to verify your eligibility yourself. But claiming is different - you will be dealing with a claims adjuster who is probably incented financially to pay out as little as possible. To that end he will get all your medical and pharmacy records to see if any of the medical exclusions apply to you. And then he will explain the policy that you didn't take time to read when you bought it.

Most of the sad stories I see in the papers involve people who bought coverage they did not qualify for. Like the guy last week who was using oxygen at home and then went to Las Vegas and had a heart attack that cost him some $800,000.

And oh, those hospitals will have no problem flipping your account across the border for collection, for an amount like that.

The problem with insurance policies is that they are hard to read and understand for many people, and many travelers don't understand their medical history well enough to complete insurance forms correctly.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Feb 20, 2015
1287 posts
785 upvotes
Southern Ontario
Buy insurance and don't make a complete alcoholic slob of yourself. 99% of the public can do this, the people throwing up and passing out on the floor are the ones that can't control themselves.

Seriously. Can't believe this is much of an issue.

And if not legally drunk in that jurisdiction, you should be golden. Read the fine print before you buy supplemental insurance.
Deal Addict
Oct 6, 2015
2463 posts
1372 upvotes
Dealmaker1945 wrote: And oh, those hospitals will have no problem flipping your account across the border for collection, for an amount like that.
Actually you'd be very hard pressed to find a US hospital that has actually pursued a Canadian, in Canada, for a US medical debt. Not to say that it doesn't happen, but I've yet to come up with a single case, whether in the news media, or on Canlii.org, of an actual US hospital taking legal action in Canada against a Canadian.

The insurance companies know this, and use it to their advantage. So there might be some benefit to having insurance when travelling in the US, from a "peace of mind" point of view, knowing that its going to be the insurance company that gets to play "hardball" against the US hospital that treats you, but $800,000 to treat a heart attack is such an exaggeration that nobody on either side of the border ever pays that unless they are truly and certifiably stupid.
Deal Addict
Oct 23, 2017
1875 posts
1403 upvotes
GTA West
burnt69 wrote: Actually you'd be very hard pressed to find a US hospital that has actually pursued a Canadian, in Canada, for a US medical debt. Not to say that it doesn't happen, but I've yet to come up with a single case, whether in the news media, or on Canlii.org, of an actual US hospital taking legal action in Canada against a Canadian.

The insurance companies know this, and use it to their advantage. So there might be some benefit to having insurance when travelling in the US, from a "peace of mind" point of view, knowing that its going to be the insurance company that gets to play "hardball" against the US hospital that treats you, but $800,000 to treat a heart attack is such an exaggeration that nobody on either side of the border ever pays that unless they are truly and certifiably stupid.
I hope no one travels with the assumption they can get off free on a major medical expense in the US, or that they can get first rate treatment if they show up at a hospital without insurance.
Deal Addict
Oct 6, 2015
2463 posts
1372 upvotes
Dealmaker1945 wrote: I hope no one travels with the assumption they can get off free on a major medical expense in the US, or that they can get first rate treatment if they show up at a hospital without insurance.
Why not? Works for Mexicans and Central Americans. US hospitals are obliged under federal law to treat everyone for emergency conditions.

Its actually outside the US that might be more worrisome, at least to me.
Deal Fanatic
Dec 20, 2018
5039 posts
4128 upvotes
burnt69 wrote: Why not? Works for Mexicans and Central Americans. US hospitals are obliged under federal law to treat everyone for emergency conditions.

Its actually outside the US that might be more worrisome, at least to me.
Fractures, pain , diarrhea etc are all not life threatening and they won't treat you. Unless you're fine with only having barebones medical care for imminent life threatening conditions and no coverage to repatriate you. You need insurance

I'm not sure if you just forgot the /s at end of your post?

Top