The recent story of A Surrey, B.C., couple’s vacation gone wrong just goes to show how important it is for Canadians to fully understand the so-called “cheap” insurance policies they’re buying. Mel Milaney and her husband, Tom, were going on a three-week trip to Florida and the Caribbean in 2012. They considered purchasing health insurance from Pacific Blue Cross, their provider, but instead opted for a cheaper policy from RBC Insurance.
As they recounted to the CBC, Mel fell incredibly ill during the trip and the total cost of her treatment ended up exceeding $200,000 U.S. Their RBC Insurance covered it, but months later, the Milaney’s learned the bank had passed much of the bill along to Pacific Blue Cross, under the widely-overlooked (and totally standard) “first payer” clause. The fine print stated: “Any of our policies are excess insurance and are the last payers. All other sources of recovery, indemnity payments or insurance coverage must be exhausted before any payments will be made under any of our policies.”