On October 1, a lone gunman opened fire on an outdoor concert in Las Vegas, killing 58 people and wounding hundreds.
Four of the dead were Canadians, while at least a half dozen more were listed among the injured. One of them, Ryan Sarazzin of Camrose, racked up tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills and his family were fundraising to bring him home to Canada.
"A gun wound can run up to $10,000 an hour in the States for surgery," noted travel insurance specialist Tania Johnson of Centre Street Insurance in Drumheller. "If you times $10,000 by four, you're already up to $40,000 and that's not including your prescriptions, your nursing, your room in the States and any of that kind of stuff."
She added Alberta Health Care only pays $100 per day for hospital visits in the US, which doesn't go very far considering nothing is free and everything is expensive.
"You wouldn't believe the amount of people that come in the day before a long weekend, they're going to the States and they didn't get their policy," stated Johnson. "There are a lot of people who don't get travel insurance and they really don't realize how cheap it can be and how expensive a claim can be."
Johnson said she has personally paid out $130,000 to cover the bills of a man who suffered a heart attack while visiting south of the border. He was fully insured.
"If you have pre-existing conditions, if you think you are at a slightly higher risk, there are definitely policies out for that as well," she advised. "If you think travel insurance policy is expensive and you don't want to pay the premium, tack on a deductible; at least you have some coverage in place."