Insurance Update – CSANews Summer 2016

Posted on March 17th, 2016 by Medipac

First let me say “Thank you” to all who will complete our survey in this issue. The answers help us track trends and patterns of our snowbird community so that we can be more responsive to your needs.

This has been an expensive year for snowbirds due to the nasty drop in the Canadian dollar. U.S. medical costs soared far higher than inflation, partially as a result of the so-called Obamacare introduction. Although a wonderful idea to move toward a more Canadian-like system, the highly touted medical care co-ops have just not worked. In fact, half are already bankrupt or in liquidation. U.S. citizens who are forced to pay for their health-care plans are also having to choose giant deductibles to be able to afford them. Of course, they then cannot afford to pay that big deductible when their claim occurs, either. Most hospitals are taking tens of millions of dollars in bad debt write-offs and they need more money to survive. An easy target is the insured people from out of the state, or from Canada or Europe, since we don’t vote. That ends up being you and me. Prices soar and insurance costs soar.

The Canadian dollar seems to have settled down in the $0.75 area, which means that each U.S. dollar costs us $1.33. Many people do not understand this difference totally but, if you give someone a loonie,they will only give you back $0.75 USD. Everyone understands that. If you want to pay a $1.00USD medical bill, it will cost you $1.33 CAD. This is all at the exact same exchange rate just looking at it from both sides. It’s time for a commercial – Use the CSA’s Currency Exchange Program – it works and it saves!

But back to the dollar! The general outlook for the upcoming snowbird season is positive. Most economists and particularly the banks, are forecasting exchange rates to remain at about the $0.75 level or slightly lower. It appears that the damage has already been done and absorbed into the system. Canada’s commodity economy is strengthening and oil is well off its lows, which bodes well for the future. Those of you who owned gold and silver stocks during the past few months are ecstatic with your incredible gains. Stock prices that doubled and tripled are common. I hope that you were there to benefit from this huge upswing in gold and silver prices. I believe that we can go even higher from here as we are far below the metals’ highs, which are close to double current prices.

Our insurance prices have experienced very modest increases, but we have increased your Loyalty Credit by 1% to help offset this. Not to harp on this, but we are seeing very high claims for damaged lungs. COPD is the normal culprit and, if you still smoke, please get a laser treatment to help try to quit. It worked for me and most of our employees, as well. They basically just shine a light on you and it seems to kill your desire to smoke for about four weeks. Then, make sure that you get the free booster shot (lights) at the four-week point. It IS a miracle! Cost is about $100 – which you will save in a week – and it will give you lots more life to live. The occasional cigar will not kill you if you must have a little decadence in your life, and we do not count that as smoking for the purpose of our smoking surcharge. And, once again, I should caution you on being careful to avoid falls both here and on holiday.

Early Bird is here – the real one, of course. Look for the CSA and Medipac logos before buying. We are always flattered when other insurers try to copy features of our Medipac program, but we are not happy when they use our trademarked words “Early Bird Travel Insurance” to describe their inferior products. This is an attempt to mislead you, so what can you expect when you have a claim?

Due to the dislocation in the snowbird market last year as a result of the dollar, we have decided to retain your prior discounts if you were unable to travel; you will see this reflected in your covering letter. If you have any questions you can, of course, call our information lines.

The last item to address is the possible postal strike. If you are reading this in early to mid-July, everything is fine. If later, rest assured that we will protect your Early Bird pricing until the Post Office returns to normal.

Happy summer!

P.S. Please see our Bird Talk section to learn about our new direct payment option directly from your bank account.