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I work for a company in the United States and we contract with auditors around the globe to perform audits on our behalf. They are independent contractors and not employees. We have an auditor who is a Canadian citizen and says it is too expensive for him to purchase medical insurance to enter the US. The Gentleman is of retired age and is not currently employee by another company.

Is this insurance necessary (required)? and what would it cost?

  • Is the health insurance you're talking about for this person personally? Or are you considering if they get hurt on the job while in a foreign country (that being the USA)? – BruceWayne Mar 15 '18 at 22:42
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Yes, medical insurance is absolutely necessary if you visit the US.

Technically he will be allowed into the country, but without medical insurance, in the US (the most expensive country in the world to be sick in) any kind of accident or illness can result in him being liable for hundreds of thousands of dollars - maybe more. Provincial coverage of out-of-country care exists but is limited, and usually much less than US treatments will cost. Nobody should try to travel to the US without medical insurance.

Buying travel insurance for an older person can be extremely expensive (especially for travel to the US). Your auditor is very justified in not doing so. Most employees have medical insurance that includes coverage while abroad, but your self-employed auditor probably does not.

If you really want your auditor to visit the US on business for you, then it is normal for you to pay the auditor's expenses (plane tickets, hotels etc.). Your best bet is to consider medical insurance to be part of those expenses, and recompense him. Since it's an expense he would not be incurring if he didn't visit you, that's very reasonable.

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    Canadians are normally covered by their insurance plan when visiting the US. The only problem is that the coverage is based on Canadian prices, not whatever they charge you at the destination. – JonathanReez Mar 15 '18 at 17:10
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    @JonathanReez Incorrect - Canadian public health insurance often has severe limits on out-of-country care. e.g. Saskatchewan's caps out-of-country care at $100 Cdn/day for hospital visits. The attitude is that if you can afford to travel out of country, you can afford to cover your own health insurance needs, since the costs will be higher out of country (particularly in the US). – Jim MacKenzie Mar 15 '18 at 18:34
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    Note also that travel insurance is significantly more expensive for older people, as they tend to have more wrong with them, and insurers charge extra to cover these pre-existing conditions. It's very reasonable for your auditor not to want to be left uninsured against the very things that are most likely to go wrong with him. – MadHatter Mar 15 '18 at 18:41
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    I'm pretty old, but when I recently lived in Canada I bought yearly travel insurance from Manulife ($10 million coverage, though with a fairly big deductable) and thought the price quite reasonable. I'm going to guess the person has a pre-existing condition that makes him hard to insure (they ask if you are above 60) since Canadian travel insurance seems quite reasonable if you are healthy. – Dennis Mar 15 '18 at 18:59
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    @JonathanReez www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/health/health-drug-coverage/msp/… BC actually limits it more than Saskatchewan - $75 Cdn/day maximum for extra-Canadian care; no contribution toward ambulance transportation; no drug coverage. See above link. – Jim MacKenzie Mar 15 '18 at 20:15

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