Finding adequate travel insurance is always a challenge for travelers with serious medical conditions, such as those that require the use of home oxygen. Home oxygen is often recommended for people with low blood oxygen levels. There are many diseases that can cause this problem, including asthma, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, pulmonary fibrosis, lung cancer and congestive heart failure. At BestQuote, we are used to locating travel insurance for clients with complex medical issues.
The first thing to note is that many policies have a specific exclusion in their eligibility section for travelers using home oxygen. Therefore, even if your doctor has said that you are healthy enough to travel, you cannot buy these policies. This includes occasional home oxygen users – if you currently have an active prescription for home oxygen and are not using it, you would still be excluded from purchasing one of these policies.
Stability periods for pre-existing medical conditions are a standard feature of Canadian travel policies. For those using home oxygen, this means that you cannot have had a recent change in the medical condition for which you have been prescribed home oxygen, nor can you have recently started or stopped using home oxygen. Therefore, if you have been prescribed home oxygen but no longer require it; make sure that you ask your doctor to note on your medical records that you are not currently using home oxygen, well before your next trip. In the event of a major claim, insurance companies will always check to see when changes have been made to your prescriptions.
There are currently two options that are available for home oxygen users:
TuGo offers a policy with very few eligibility requirements. However, it does have a short medical questionnaire for all travelers over aged 60. This is typically the policy that home oxygen users will purchase. It has a 180 or 365-day stability period, depending on your age.
Most policies exclude travelers who have been prescribed home oxygen at any time in the past 12 months. However, the GMS policy only excludes travelers who currently require home oxygen. Therefore, if you have recently stopped using home oxygen, you also have a second option for travel medical insurance. However, please note that GMS has a 180-day stability period, so you must have stopped using home oxygen at least 180 days before your trip begins in order to be fully covered. In some cases, this policy will cost less than the Travel Underwriters policy.
If you have a medical condition that may eventually require the use of home oxygen, try to take any major trips that you have planned before your condition worsens. This will allow you to choose from a wider selection of travel insurance policies.
About the author
Vance Derban is a licensed insurance broker at BestQuote Travel Insurance Agency. He can be reached at [email protected]