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All About AMA’s Preexisting Condition Travel Insurance Rider

By Craig Moy

Having a medical condition shouldn’t prevent you from pursuing a passion—like travelling to exotic destinations. But it does have to be accounted for when insuring those trips. Travel medical insurance from AMA protects Albertans whose health has been stable for at least three or six months prior to departure (depending on your age). Now, a new preexisting condition rider means you can get coverage if you’ve had a much more recent stability change. Pam Murray, AMA’s travel insurance sales manager, explains.

What is the preexisting condition rider?
It’s an add-on to AMA’s travel medical insurance policy that allows you to “buy down” the stability timeframe of a medical condition—from three or six months before your departure to just seven days.

Who can benefit from it?
Any traveller of any age whose medical condition has changed inside their stability period but no less than seven days before a trip. A change could mean developing new symptoms, starting a new treatment plan or taking new medication. If you think back to 2018, Health Canada issued a recall on a particular blood pressure medication: Everyone who was on it had to start taking different meds. For a prospective traveller, that would’ve constituted a change in stability—because you never know how someone might react to a new medication. With the rider, as long as you’ve been on the medication and stable for seven days, you’re still covered while you’re away.

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How much does it cost?
It’s a 40% surcharge on your insurance premium. So it does have a cost, but you reduce the risk of paying a much greater expense were you to have a medical emergency while travelling. It’s worth noting that you can add the rider after buying a travel medical insurance policy. That’s helpful if you have an unexpected medical change closer to your travel date. It can also be purchased with—or added to—a multi-trip travel medical insurance policy or a package plan that includes medical insurance.

Are there any limitations?
Coverage is capped at $200,000 for the preexisting condition that doesn’t meet the three- or six-month stability requirement—versus up to $5 million for any unforeseen emergency medical coverage. And it’s subject to other terms, conditions and exclusions. For example, coverage wouldn’t apply if you’re awaiting treatment or surgery, but decide to travel anyway.

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Why has AMA introduced this rider?
We’re always looking for ways to help members travel with better protection. The rider provides more flexibility and greater peace of mind to travellers with existing medical conditions. They understand it may cost a little more, but for the ability to travel and not have to think back: “Did my meds change five months ago, or was it six or seven?” It’s a small price to pay.

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