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How Travel Insurance Helps with Medical Emergencies Abroad

By AMA Staff

If you suffer a medical emergency while you’re on the road and away from Alberta, the first thing to remember: Don’t panic. AMA Assistance will be standing by to take you through the process so you can focus on the task at hand. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about what to do next.

I need medical assistance outside of Alberta. Help!
“In the event of a major emergency, call 911 and seek medical attention immediately,” says Pam Murray, AMA’s manager of travel medical insurance. Then contact your assistance company as soon as possible. “When you purchase travel insurance, you receive a wallet card with their contact number.” This independent third-party assistance company will refer you to a medical facility to handle the emergency. If you don’t speak the local language, the assistance provider has staffers who speak several common languages.

What if I can’t get through?
“The assistance company is there 24/7, but phone systems around the world can be tricky,” Murray says. “You’ll find an email address on the card as well.” If you’re still not able to make contact, don’t worry. Reach out to a family member at home, give them your policy number and the phone number for the assistance company so they can contact the company on your behalf.

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If we can’t wait for a facility recommendation from the assistance company, will I still be covered?
If you weren’t able to get in touch with the assistance company, or if emergency responders couldn’t wait, call as soon as you are able. Keep in mind: Without contact with the assistance company, you could be required to pay up front for services, but you’ll be reimbursed later for eligible expenses.

I’m in a medical facility and I’ve reached the assistance company. What’s next?
The assistance company will check to make sure treatment is covered by your insurance plan. They’ll send you the claims forms to fill out and return. If your expenses aren’t eligible, you’ll be informed as soon as possible. “The assistance provider is with you until the end of the emergency or until you return home, whichever happens first,” Murray adds. “Once the assistance in destination wraps up, they pass the file over to the claims department, which gathers bills, submits eligible expenses to Alberta Health Care and deals with any other insurers you may have.”

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The assistance company says I should come home but I want to stay. What happens to my coverage?
If you stay, you run the risk of not being covered under your policy for things related to the required emergency treatment. “But every situation is different and will be evaluated and managed by the assistance company,” Murray says. “So if someone needs a couple of days to get home, they’ll take that into consideration.”

HOW TO SUBMIT A CLAIM
• Always carry your policy number and the assistance company phone number. In the case of an emergency, call the assistance company as soon as you can.

• Stay in contact with the assistance company throughout the process.

• Keep all receipts related to the emergency, as out-of-pocket expenses may not be paid without documentation.

• Fill out all claim forms promptly and thoroughly; indicate any other sources of coverage you may have.

Always read and understand your AMA Travel Insurance Policy before travelling. AMA Travel Insurance is underwritten by Orion Travel Insurance Company. CAA Assistance is provided by Active Care Management Inc. Terms and conditions apply.