Emergency Medical Coverage When You Travel: Understand Your Coverage and be Prepared Before you Leave
Escaping the Canadian Winter
Coming out of COVID Canadians are traveling more than ever but we need to be prepared. If your benefits plan includes travel insurance then you need to understand the limitations & exclusions of your coverage before you leave your Province of residence on vacation or for business travel.
The coverage limits and length of the trip duration may differ depending on the insurance carrier but most plans will cover you for up to 60 days and between $1,000,000 to $5,000,000 of coverage per trip.
As the name implies, “Emergency Medical Coverage” is designed to provide coverage for an accident or unforeseen illness that begins while the insured person is traveling. Most plans include a pre-existing condition exclusion and or a stability clause that excludes coverage for any medical issues that have changed or been treated 30 to 90 days before the date of travel. This could include such things as a change in your medications, pending tests, or referrals from your family doctor to a specialist for which your appointment has not yet been scheduled. Again this can vary between insurance carriers so it is important to review your employee booklet for details.
Insurance companies often contract services to an outside provider. For example if you are insured through The Benefits Trust they use Greenshield Canada as the carrier for travel coverage. Greenshield uses another company named CanAssistance (www.canassitance.com) to help insureds navigate a medical emergency while traveling.
Other carriers such as Canada Life, Sun Life & RWAM Insurance administrators use similar services. Your travel card will provide you with the 1-800 toll-free telephone number to reach these companies 24/7 anywhere in the world. They can assist you with a variety of services including medical care, transportation to a medical facility if necessary, lost or stolen passports, even lost luggage in some cases. They can also help with language issues in foreign countries.
Be Prepared Before you Travel
Here are some tips to help prepare for a potential out of Province/Country medical emergency
- Review the travel portion of your policy. Know the limitations & exclusions, such as the number of days of coverage, or if coverage is valid during the third trimester of pregnancy.
- Leave your travel details with someone trustworthy back home, including your travel insurance information.
- Pack your travel assistance card or download it to your phone as it will provide the emergency numbers you will need to call in the event of an emergency.
- Also take your Provincial Healthcare card with you as well.
- If you have an emergency, call the toll-free travel assist number as soon as possible as they require you to do so. They will help you to open a claim and provide guidance with your emergency. Do not wait for the clinic or hospital to do so.
Travel Advice Resources
Before you travel, we recommend visiting the Government of Canada’s website www.voyage.gc.ca – an official source of travel information and advice to help you make informed decisions and travel safely. The Government regularly updates their list of travel advisories which is important as some polices won’t cover you in an unstable country so check the website often.
We are Here to Help
Should you have any questions regarding your coverage please reach out to us @ 1-800-668-3840 or