U.S. bill provides snowbirds even more time in the sun
Canadian snowbirds may soon be able to spend as much as two months more nesting down south next year.
U.S. legislation now being debated in Congress would allow Canadians aged 55 and older to spend up to 240 days in the country without a visa, almost two months longer than the current 182-day annual limit.
The provision is not yet law, but it has the backing of New York Senator Charles Schumer, a legislator who has long been keen on finding ways to get more Canadians spending their dollars across the border.
But there are potential pitfalls for those looking forward to such an extended stay, particularly when it comes to dealing with the possibility of getting sick while away.
Health benefits from Ontario, British Columbia and Manitoba are only good for those spending less seven months per year outside the country. In fact, in many other provinces the limit is closer to six months, although this might change in the future.
And then there's the possibility of facing a tax bill from the IRS, depending on the level of U.S. property ownership.
"So when you consider the tax and healthcare implications, the majority of traditional Canadian snowbirds may not benefit from these new provisions," says Terry F. Ritchie, the Director of Cross-Border Wealth Services for Cardinal Point Wealth Management.
Would you stay longer in the States if the rules were changed? Or do medicare benefits trump the sun's attraction?
By Gordon Powers, MSN Money
Posted by: Al | May 22, 2021 10:07:28 AM
Health care coverage is the single limiting factor to an extended stay in the U.S., our friends South of the border likes us "kind and gentle" Canadian and welcome the economic contribution we bring to the hosting states.
For example, Canadian who own property in Florida pay more property taxes than Homestead Floridian, and don't use up the infrastructure a good part of the year...what a deal ! no wonder they want to pass a bill allowing snowbirds even more time in the sun !
For the U.S. to make it really attractive for Canadian to stay longer South of the border, they need to figure out a way to provide health coverage for these Canadian snowbirds while there, then you will see flocks of snowbirds spending all the time they can in sunny USA.
Posted by: nano | May 22, 2021 10:11:44 AM
al pretty much said it all.
Posted by: Len Westwood | May 22, 2021 10:21:13 AM
Many extended health care plans are only in effect for 2 months at a time. Changes in medications less than 6 months prior to entering the U.S. increase the cost of coverage or cancel it completely. Many factors to consider.
Posted by: Ribbet | May 22, 2021 12:05:23 PM
The health care situation is not the fault of our US friends It starts at home. The Canadian Health Insurance Companies need to re-invent them selves
Posted by: Elizabeth | May 22, 2021 3:18:12 PM
# 1 Americans should stop calling us Canadians "aliens" we don't come from another planet,
# 2 why should Canadians pay more taxes than Homestead Floridian?
# 3 Cross boarding guards should change their attitude, maybe take away so much power because they can ban you from entering the states if they feel like , they don't treat Canadians nice, there is this fear that you feel when you approach the gate, maybe they don't like the color of your shirt and you're in trouble, they have no respect for your grey hair and they think that everybody is a terrorist.
Many things have to improve to attract Canadians down there!
Posted by: Ted | May 22, 2021 7:41:25 PM
Elizabeth, I've been going to Texas for 6 months a year for the past seven years. I have yet to be interviewed by rude border guards/custom officers. They have been pleasant yet businesslike. Don't forget they have the right to protect their country.
As for the Florida realty taxes. This relates to all non-residents of Florida whether you are from Canada, Alabama, New York and so on. This practice does not exist in Texas. In fact, when you turn 65 your realty taxes are reduced by the education taxes and some others for a decrease of over 50%.
The term "aliens" is exactly that, a term and means non-residents. Perhaps, you should stay in Canada as your attitude says a lot.
Posted by: KimsMom | May 22, 2021 8:29:58 PM
I've been spending the last several winters in the US - Arizona, to be specific. We also live in a border town & cross frequently. Add to that, we travel often - generally changing planes in the US. NEVER have I come across a rude border guard or customs officer! Elizabeth, perhaps it's your approach or attitude that requires review? I've generally found that people treat me with the same level of respect & consideration that I show them.
As for the medical coverage - it's true. For us BC'ers, we are limited to 182 days in the US. In fact, we are limited to 182 OUT OF PROVINCE. Which means, any travel out of BC - even any travel to other parts of Canada. Beyond that timeframe, our coverage is cancelled & we are required to spend 90 days locked down in BC in order to re-establish coverage.
As with any travel & travel coverage, do your homework. In the end, it pays!
Posted by: Grant | May 23, 2021 12:16:41 AM
HI Kims Mom,
B.C. Health just extended our out of provice travel to seven months,
but the Homeland Security limit is still 180 Days, Unless this is passed
by the US Goverment.
Posted by: KimsMom | May 23, 2021 3:38:54 PM
@ Grant - Thanks for the update! I had my fingers crossed, but was just in a holding pattern until I knew for sure. I really appreciate the information. :-)