No one likes to think they might be hurt in an accident or have to visit a doctor for treatment for a chronic disease, but it does happen and it can happen to you. In that situation, paying the bills or to fix your car may not be all that you have to worry about - you may also be on the hook for expensive medical bills if you do not have medical coverage. Here are some situations where you'll need medical coverage and what you can expect your plan to cover.

Canadians are lucky - their government automatically covers most bills for regular and life threatening accidents, injuries, and illnesses, but if you're an American or foreign national, you're on the hook for your own insurance, even if you've got a job. Without coverage, you'll have to pay out of pocket any time you need something, whether it's a flu shot or an ambulance ride to the hospital, which can quickly bankrupt anyone, so buying medical coverage, either a blanket plan or a HMO plan, where you must be treated at plan approved hospitals, is a must. What is an HMO?

Though Canadians have most of their treatments covered, there are still certain things that are not. If you need an alternative medical treatment, such as braces or an emergency dentist appointment, or a visit to a chiropractor in Dallas, that won't be covered under a government health plan. Neither are most prescription drugs, which are very expensive for anyone with a chronic condition such as cancer or ALS. Therefore it's always a good idea to purchase supplementary medical coverage.

Anyone who travels outside of their home country should also have their own medical insurance. Most domestic coverage will not extend to travel situations, so if you need emergency treatment while on vacation, you will be paying out of pocket unless you have bought a travel medical insurance package. Many countries will not issue you a visa unless you buy insurance, which usually only amounts to about $100 for a two week trip.

And finally, anyone who wants to have elective surgeries should check their coverage very carefully. The vast majority of plans will not cover elective procedures, such as Botox injections, therapeutic massages, and upgrades from generic to brand name drugs. Except in rare cases, these types of treatments will always be out of pocket.

Copyright (c) 2008 - is now