Updated Cross Border Travel Guidelines for Medical Purposes

Updated Cross Border Travel Guidelines for Medical Purposes

The rules regarding travel continue to change from what it seems like day to day or week to week.  In the past 2 years, getting across the border has been cumbersome to say the least.  We have tried to stay ahead of it so we know how to assist our clients so here are the latest rules per travel.cg.ca:

All travelers must be fully vaccinated to enter the US and return to Canada.  Fully vaccinated definition is someone who is 2 weeks out from their last vaccine dose.  Proof of a negative COVID-PCR test taken 24 hours prior to departure is required to enter the US.  Proof of a negative COVID-PRC test taken 72 hours before arrival back to Canada is required.  Antigen tests are not acceptable in either country.  A previous positive test is acceptable if it has been 14-180 days in both countries. The person must be symptom free when they arrive in either country.

Proof of vaccination needs to be uploaded to ArriveCAN before they board a flight or reach land in Canada.  A paper or digital copy of proof of vaccination also needs to be carried with you.  If you meet these guidelines, you will not be required to quarantine.

Leave for medical treatment and return to Canada exempt from standard rules:

Persons who must leave and return to Canada to receive essential medical treatment or services in another country are exempt from standard rules.  This does not include surgeries or diagnostic tests that are deemed elective or non-urgent.

For individuals who require medical treatment or services (for example, life-saving treatment) outside of Canada, they must have:

  • upon leaving Canada, written evidence from a licensed health care practitioner in Canada indicating treatment or services outside Canada are essential; and
  • upon return to Canada, written evidence from a licensed health care practitioner in the foreign country indicating treatment or services were provided in that country


If you’re the person requiring medical treatment, you may have 1 person accompany you if:

  • you’re a minor or dependent child or
  • you require assistance in accessing the essential medical services or treatment

The accompanying person must meet entry requirements for their return to Canada. The accompanying person is exempt from quarantine and arrival testing, but will still be required to:

  • follow local public health guidance
  • wear a mask when in public, and
  • keep a list of close contacts for the 14-day period after arrival
  • if qualifies as fully vaccinated and they have no signs or symptoms of COVID-19, they would also be exempt from pre-entry test requirements.

If you are interested in private surgery and need help navigating the current rules, please contact Health Vantis to assist you in your journey so no detail is left out at 877-344-3544 or Info@healthvantis.com.

Travel Insurance vs Complications Coverage

Travel Insurance vs Complications Coverage

We get a lot of calls from people looking for complications coverage if they are traveling for medical treatment.  This can often times be confused for traditional travel insurance.  You will quickly find that they are not the same kind of coverage.  Below we will explain the difference:

Travel Insurance

Travel policies were created to cover the cost of damage to personal property, for instance, baggage, rented equipment such as rental cars, trip cancellation, acute medical expense coverage, accidental death and/or flight accident coverage.  Other things it might cover could be emergency assistance for lost passports, cash wires, and re-booking of canceled flights.  

There is also a different kind of travel insurance called interruption coverage.  This is to cover you should there be an illness, death in the immediate family, sudden business conflict or weather related issues.  This coverage will reimburse you for pre-paid, non-refundable travel expenses.

Keep in mind that there are all kinds of clauses and exclusions to these polices.  One important one is the misunderstanding that ‘medical coverage’ is available for pre-existing conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure   Nearly all of these policies exclude pre-existing conditions.  If you are traveling for a scheduled surgery, this kind of policy will not cover you.  If you have a heart disorder and have a heart attack while traveling, this policy will not cover you.  What it will cover are instances where accidents occur and need immediate attention such as  a fall that required stitches or a car accident that required medical care.

The best advice is to read your contract in full detail to know and understand what is and what is not included.

Complications Coverage

When you realize travel insurance will not cover a scheduled surgery, you will likely spend hours looking for options that will.  We can save you a lot of time.  There is only 1 company we know of that provides complication coverage to Canadians traveling for medical care due to the uniqueness of the travel.  That company is called Global Protective Solutions (GPS).  It is designed to cover you should there be complications as a result of a scheduled surgery.  

The policy will cover you for up to 180 days post initial surgery.  Additional medical or surgical treatment must be completed within a 270 day period.

Like most policies, there are limitations.  For example, if you do not follow all of the pre and post operative medical instructions, you will not be covered.  If you have an aesthetic procedure and you do not like the outcome, you will not be covered.  Just like a travel policy, read the details close to know what is an acceptable reason for reimbursement.

Also keep in mind that most coverages on either kind of policy have maximum benefits for each specific need.  Key take away, be sure to read the policy fully.  If you do not understand a certain clause, contact the company for clarification. 

New Travel Guidelines Effective Nov 30, 2021

COVID has been around now for nearly 2 years and there doesn’t appear to be an end in sight.  That means we still have to follow guidelines and endure inconveniences, especially if we decide to travel.  The good news is that effective Nov 30, 2021, fully vaccinated individuals crossing the border for land or air travel, are exempt from providing a COVID-19 molecular PCR test to re-enter Canada.  The exemption only pertains to Canadian citizens, permanent residents or individuals registered under the Indian Act, who’s trip originated in Canada via air or land, that can show they have been away from Canada for less than 72 hours.

The exemption also applies to:

  • people with medical contraindications as defined in the Orders in Council (OIC); and
  • unvaccinated children under 12 who are accompanying their parent, step-parent, guardian or tutor.  The accompanying adult must be fully vaccinated (or have a contraindication) and have right of entry to Canada.

The 72-hour period runs from the initial scheduled departure time for flight leaving Canada to the scheduled departure time for their flight back into Canada for those with the right of entry in to Canada traveling via air.  Proof of the 72 hour window of travel will be required to border officials.  Acceptable proof will be via boarding pass and/or travel itinerary.

Stay tuned for additional changes to occur January 15, 2022.

Health Vantis




Updated Border Crossing Restrictions

Updated Border Crossing Restrictions

On September 21,2021, the US decided to extend their non-essential travel restrictions between the US and Canada through October 21, 2021.  This includes fully vaccinated individuals.  The goal is to ease the restrictions to fully vaccinated individuals beginning November 2021.  These restrictions do not apply to people traveling for medical purposes.

Non-essential travel into Canada has been approved.  All travelers coming back into Canada must submit a negative PCR-COVID test taken within 72 hours of getting on a flight or crossing the border via car.  Rapid antigen tests will not be accepted.  If you are NOT fully vaccinated, you will need to quarantine for 14 days on your return flight/drive back into Canada and provide another negative PCR-COVID test 8 days after your return.  If you are fully vaccinated, you are exempt from quarantine and 8 day testing requirement.  You will need to upload a copy of your vaccination card through ArriveCAN within 72 hours before your travel along with your negative PCR-COVID test.

If you are considering medical travel, we can assist in making sure you understand and are aware of all current requirements.  Medical travel is considered essential travel and there would be no issues coming to the US should you travel there for treatment.

Health Vantis




6 Things You Should Not Do When Traveling After a Hip Replacement

6 Things You Should Not Do When Traveling After a Hip Replacement

Hip replacement surgery is considered a major surgery.  It can take weeks to heal to get your full mobility back.  The surgeon will prepare you for your rehab and how you need to care for your new hip but what about your trip home?  This is something surgeons might not always think about so here are 6 tips for you to consider prior to your travel home.

  1. Avoid traveling too soon – Your doctor will tell you when its safe to drive or fly home after your surgery.  If you don’t feel like you are well enough to leave when you’ve been released, then trust your own body and stay an extra day.  It will be worth it in the end if you feel healthier during your travels.  
  2. Make your trip comfortable – Flying can present some issues after a surgery.  Any flight over 4 hours can increase your risk for a DVT.   The best way to avoid this is to be sure and get up and move as much as you can.  You can also ask your doctor for TED hose, which will help with circulation.  Be sure to have your pain medication, bottled water and a blanket or pillow to make the journey as comfortable as possible.
  3. Never take your trip alone – One requirement in traveling for surgery is to take a travel companion.  None of the facilities within the US and Canada will allow someone to have surgery if they do not have a trusted adult staying with them for the first 24 hours after surgery.  Taking an Uber back to your hotel by yourself is not acceptable and not in your best interest should you need immediate care while you are resting in your hotel.  It is also helpful to have someone else there to assist you as you are recuperating in the hotel and on your travels back to help with luggage and getting to and from the gate.
  4. Pack essentials – Packing things ‘just in case’ is always smart.  These should be kept on your person or carry on bag for easy access.  Things like pain medications, blankets, pillows, comfy clothes, headphones and extra bandages are examples of items you might consider taking.
  5. Ask for anti-nausea medication – Anesthesia can make people very nauseous post surgery.  Motion sickness is also very common.  If you have ever experienced either of these in the past, ask your doctor to write you a prescription for an anti-nausea medication and keep it with you in the event you have an episode.  Be sure to pack some crackers, ginger ale or other things that are light on your stomach.  Try not to skip meals as having some food in your stomach will help.  Taking some medications on an empty stomach can also cause nausea or upset stomach problems.
  6. Take it easy – Be sure to take things slowly.  You will have days where you feel great but always follow your doctors recommendations on your limitations so you do not over do or undo what was just fixed.  Surgery creates a lot of swelling and this can take weeks to subside.  Pushing yourself too hard too early can sometimes reverse what was just done.  Give your body the time it needs to heal.

If you are considering a private surgery, give Health Vantis a call.  We have experience in making your journey a safe and successful one.  

Health Vantis




New Travel Guidelines Aug 9, 2021

New Travel Guidelines Beginning Aug 9, 2021

Due to the increased vaccination rates in Canada, declining COVID-19 cases and less pressure on the health care system, the government plans to lift travel restrictions August 9, 2021. Fully vaccinated Canadians, US Citizens and permanent residents of the United States, currently residing in the U.S., will be allowed to enter Canada for discretionary (non-essential) travel. Per the Government of Canada website ‘Entry to Canada will continue to be prohibited for U.S. travellers who are not fully vaccinated and for all other foreign nationals, unless they already meet an exemption set out in the Orders made under the Quarantine Act.’
It also indicates ‘To be eligible to enter Canada, fully vaccinated American citizens and permanent residents must have received the full series of a vaccine – or combination of vaccines – accepted by the Government of Canada, at least 14 days prior to entering Canada. Currently, those vaccines are manufactured by Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD, and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson). Travellers can receive their vaccine in any country, and must provide evidence supporting their vaccination in English, French or with a certified translation (along with the original).’
In addition, fully vaccinated travellers must also:
  • provide COVID-19-related information electronically through ArriveCAN (app or web portal) including proof of vaccination prior to departing for Canada (subject to limited exceptions);
  • meet the pre-entry testing requirements;
  • be asymptomatic upon arrival; and
  • have a paper or digital copy of their vaccination documentation in English or French (or certified translation, along with the original) ready to show a government official on request.
All travellers must still present a suitable quarantine plan, and be prepared to quarantine, should they not meet all of the conditions required to be exempt from quarantine. They will also be required to follow public health measures in place, such as monitoring for signs and symptoms of COVID-19, wearing a mask when in public and keeping a copy of their vaccination documentation and test results – as well as a list of close contacts and locations visited – for 14 days after entry to Canada. For air travel, passengers continue to have to wear a mask in Canadian airports and on board flights to, from and within Canada, with few exceptions, and regardless of their vaccination status.
For more information, please review the new guidelines to take effect Aug 9, 2021 here.
Health Vantis

Are There Private Surgery Facilities in Canada?

If you have been told you need to have a surgery, the most common reaction is to have it done asap.  In Canada, most people have already been waiting quite a long time to know that they will need to have surgery.  Being told there is a long wait is not anything one likes to hear.

Will this ever change?  It is anyone’s guess.  New Conservative leader Erin O’Toole has indicated he would allow patients more choice when it comes to private options.  This of course is quite a ways down the road.  With COVID added to the delays, it really presents additional challenges. 

Where Are The Private Facilities?

As of now, private facilities are very limited in Canada.  For instance, there are no known private surgical facilities within the Maritimes.  In all other provinces, there are a handful of private facilities, however, they are limited on what kind of surgery they can do.  For example, there are only a couple facilities that can do a knee and/or hip replacement.  None of the private facilities can accommodate over night stays.  The surgery would need to be on an outpatient basis, otherwise, you will have to wait and go through the system.  Not everyone is a candidate for an outpatient surgery so an evaluation needs to be done.

What Are The Rules For Going To A Private Facility?

Back in September of this year, British Columbia determined private facilities could no longer perform private surgery if you are a resident of BC.  This prompted closures and services offered to BC residents on a private basis to no longer exist.  They do, however, allow someone from another province to be treated at their facilities in a private manner.  In Saskatchewan, Ontario, Manitoba and Alberta, the same rule applies.  The facility is not able to provide private services to residents within that province.  This is only for those procedures already covered by their provincial insurance. Things like dentistry and cosmetic surgery would not apply.  The only province we are aware of that can take residents within their own province is Quebec.  

This presents a challenge because it requires travel.  Not everyone is willing to and in COVID times, it can be tricky with constantly changing rules and gray areas.  If you’d like to know what your options are within Canada, please give us a call and we can help assist in finding a facility that can meet your needs.

There are also other private facilities for MRI and CT Scans  For more information on those, see our other blog post here.

Health Vantis




Snowbird Surgery

Snowbird Surgery

It is the time of the year that ‘Snowbirds’ start making their plans to travel south for the winter.   Most true Snowbirds own a second home/vacation home in the US.  Unfortunately, traveling for leisure is completely different this year in light of the COVID pandemic.  As of now, travel for leisure, even if you own a home in the US, is deemed non-essential. It is, however, considered essential if you are traveling for medical reasons. If you’ve considered having a surgery done privately, your winter trip can happen.  There will be many state and provincial regulations you have to abide by, however, it just may be the way to still get some of the sunshine you’ve been craving AND get you in a better, healthier place.

Benefits Snowbirds can still have if they schedule a private surgery:

  • You can recover in the comfort of your own home that you own in the US.
  • Most people who travel for surgery will stay an average of 5-7 days and then return to Canada.  Being local and having the ability to stay longer and do your follow ups in person is more optimal.
  • There is less risk to you for complications since you do not need to fly home right away.  Flying during COVID is more challenging with more hoops to jump through.  If you combine your surgery with an already planned trip to stay for a couple of months, that risk element is removed.  When the time comes for you to go back to Canada, you will likely be in a healthier place with more energy and the ability to do so easier.
  • By coming to the US, you may have access to treatment for procedures or surgeries that are not available in Canada.  There are many things unavailable to Canadians that are available in the US.  This would be an optimal time to explore alternative options.
  • There is convenience of already being in the area so you avoid an additional trip and expense.  If you combine your south of the border winter trip with a surgery, you will save money by not making a separate trip to do so.

Contact Health Vantis to connect you to an already vetted, safe and affordable facility in the area you are traveling.  We take the guess work out of finding the appropriate surgeon for your needs.

Health Vantis




Airlines Safety Measures, an Update

Travelling by air nowadays can be perceived as unsafe due to potential exposure COVID-19. However, if you have to fly, we prepared a short summary of 5 airlines.  We looked at 2 Canadian airlines – Air Canada and WestJet and 3 US – United, Delta and American to give you an update on safety measures put in place.

When we wrote our first blog on airline safety back in June, blocking the middle seat was being done. Now that it is September, the airlines are no longer doing this. WestJet even issues a special statement about it. So, what is being done to ensure passenger and crew safety?

Across the board all five airlines have these measures in place:

  • Mandatory mask or face coverings
  • Hospital-grade HEPA filters on aircraft (remove 99.99% of all airborne particles)
  • Enhanced screening for symptoms
  • Plexiglass shields in the lobby and check-in
  • Contactless check-in
  • Enhanced cleaning protocol at all stages of air travel – in the airport, at the check-in counter, boarding area, aircraft and luggage pick-up area
  • Boarding is modified to allow fewer people at a time and with clearly marked social distance

Additional measures put in place by Transport Canada is temperature checks at all major airports in Canada. Air Canada and WestJet perform infrared temperature checks and those with elevated temperature will be denied boarding and will be given an opportunity to re-book the air travel in 14 days. If your temperature is elevated due to a non-COVID reason you must present a medical certificate stating those reasons.

If a customer refuses to wear a mask, the plane can not depart. There have been instances in both US and Canada where flights were cancelled, or airport security was involved in resolving a conflict. WestJet even puts these non-compliant customers on a year ban list with the airline. They also implemented the mandatory sharing of guest contact information. Such measure will help Public Health Agency of Canada and provincial health authorities track transmission chains should a passenger later test positive.

Air Canada introduced Virtual Queuing to minimize check-in wait times and contact at certain counters. Customers can scan their boarding pass to enter a virtual queue and are notified via smartphone to proceed to the counter for assistance.

United Airlines and Air Canada can notify their customers if their flight is getting close to full and provide them with an opportunity to re-book a less full flight with no charge.

To encourage Canadians to travel abroad, Air Canada is currently offering a complimentary Manulife COVID-19 emergency medical and quarantine insurance for all its new bookings made from September 17th, 2020 until October 31st, 2020. Travel must be complete by April 12, 2021. More information about the eligibility can be found here.

United Airlines added an option of VIP bag delivery. For a small fee, a traveller can avoid luggage pickup that potentially can have a lot of people and have their bags delivered within 100 miles of the airport. They are also in the process of rolling out antimicrobial technology, NovaRover, on all aircraft to add an additional layer of disinfectant on board.

American airlines are seeking Global Biorisk Advisory Council (BGAC) STAR accreditation to ensure they have proper procedures to respond to biological threats like COVID-19.

As you can see, airlines are continuing to put a lot of efforts in making air travel safe again.  As information about COVID-19 evolves and we learn more, airlines will also respond.

5 Tips While Flying During COVID-19

5 Tips If You Travel During COVID-19

Travel seemed to come to a complete halt a few months back due to the pandemic.  As restrictions have lifted and summer has arrived, people have started to slowly resume their willingness to travel.  While there is risk no matter what you do right now, traveling is one you can take a few extra precautions with to ensure you are minimizing your chances of acquiring COVID-19.

Check the local COVID-19

– All states, provinces and countries have varying restrictions right now.  Be sure to review their up to date policies on coming to their city/state/province or country before arriving.  You may be required to self quarantine for 14 days upon arrival or provide a negative COVID-19 test to enter.  Also take note of the rules your own state, province or country has on returning home.  Informing yourself about respective guidelines coming and going could prevent you from having to return home and keep you as safe as possible.

Driving vs Flying

– Many people are fearful of flying right now, however, per the US CDC, most viruses and other germs do not spread easily on flights because of how air circulates and is filtered on airplanes.  The issue revolves around the ability to social distance, or lack there of.  There may be situations where it is a crowded flight and you are forced to sit next to someone less than 6 feet away from you that could be a carrier.  Taking a bus or driving can also pose increased risks.  There are still stops for food, gas and bathroom breaks that can put you in close contact with others and touching surfaces.  The key is to be aware of your surroundings, wear your mask and make sure you are washing or sanitizing your hands after you’ve touched public surfaces.

Anticipate Your Travel Needs

– Wearing a mask has been proven to help reduce your chances of getting or passing along the COVID-19 virus.  Make sure you have a mask with you at all times.  It is wise to bring a couple of extra ones in case you lose one or it gets dirty.  Having a few extra zip lock bags to store them in after each use will also keep them from being set down on a surface that might have germs.  Bring your own food and drinks when possible.  This will reduce contact with others in ordering.  Make sure you also have hand sanitizer or disinfectant wipes for situations where soap and water are not available.

Hotels and Lodging 

-Review the hotels updated policies on how they are handling the cleaning of your room and their common areas.  Many places have suspended daily room cleaning unless requested and the majority of them have provided hand sanitizer every where you turn.  All major chains are taking extra precautions to sanitize your room, however, to err on the side of caution, take your own clorox or disinfecting wipes and clean all high touch surfaces such as door knobs, light switches and faucets for good measure.  You can always request a room that has been vacant for at least 24 hours.  Many hotels are not up to 100% capacity so this might be an easy request to accommodate.  Always wear your mask in the lobby and hallways as you are moving through the hotel, especially in the elevator.  Elevators are small spaces and someone who was not masked up could have coughed or sneezed prior to you coming on and the particles might still be in the air.  Only ride with the people in your party and wait for the next elevator should there be people you don’t know already in there.  This not only protects you, it also gives the other riders their own space.

Be Patient

– Public places have been given the burden of taking extra safety measures to keep their doors open.  This can create long delays or a situation of not having access to what you traveled there for.  Try to be as patient with the employees and delays as much as possible.  They are only doing their job to make things safer for you.  Give them an extra smile or a compliment of thanks or gratitude to show your appreciation of their extra efforts for you.

Health Vantis