To express our affection to our relatives back in the Philippines, many of us invite them to come to Canada as visitors for a reunion and also for them to see Canada’s tourist attractions. This is usually a happy occasion, however, there are times when the rejoicing turns into anguish when a visiting relative gets sick, much more if he/she becomes a financial burden should the illness needs hospitalization, and said relative has no health insurance coverage.
Hospitalization cost in Canada is far more expensive than in the Philippines. A visiting relative may be declared physically healthy by his/her doctor before leaving for Canada, however, a doctor’s pronouncement’s of physical fitness is not a guarantee that a person who is healthy would not get sick while abroad or would be free from accident.
In fact, few times I received calls from people seeking assistance on how to deal with unpaid hospital medical bills (up to $80,000.00) for the hospitalization of a visiting relative who suffered stroke, heart attack or injuries caused by accident.
When a visiting relative is brought to hospital without health insurance, most often, whoever invites him/her and provides accommodation would be responsible for to the medical bills by signing or co-signing an undertaking/promissory note to pay for the cost of hospitalization, if the sick relative is not financially capable. Often, those relatives go broke when the amount is beyond their ability to pay.
To protect your financial health, before your relative comes to visit Canada, if he/she has no health insurance policy enforce in the Philippines, plan to buy one upon arrival of your relative. You have to shop around in advance for the best premium and best coverage. It may cost you money for the premium but it gives you peace of mind knowing that in the event of unexpected illness or accident your finances would not be unnecessarily derailed.
The minimal investment (premium) for an essential Health Insurance Policy is money well spent, because it protects your assets and it also provides you peace of mind. It is always good to plan ahead. Proverbs 16:9 says, “A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.”
Adam Aspilla is a Senior Financial Counselor of the Debt Clinic of Canada Inc. and the author of the book, You Can Negotiate All Your Debts. He also writes a biweekly column, “What Matters In Life” in “Taliba Newspaper. For free initial, professional and confidential consultation, please call 905-306-7572.