Understanding Out of Country Coverage - 21.10.2011

A sudden, unexpected injury. An acute episode of a medical condition that was not identified or being treated prior to departure from Canada. An unexpected and unforeseen acute episode of a previously identified medical condition that was stable and controlled at the time of departure from Canada. Employees with a medical condition may want to check with their doctor before traveling. If they are advised it is safe to travel, they may wish to call to clarify their group benefits coverage.

Ensuring adequate coverage for extended periods outside Canada.

Students, vacationers and others planning to leave the country should ensure they have ongoing coverage with their provincial healthcare plan, since this coverage must be in place in order for coverage to apply. Those leaving the country for more than six months should inquire about getting a coverage extension with their provincial healthcare plan representative prior to leaving Canada. In addition, employees should be aware of any trip limits associated with their plan. When traveling outside Canada for periods beyond their trip limit, employees may want to consider purchasing additional coverage.

How out-of-country coverage differs from Travel Assistance.

Out-of-country coverage is sometimes confused with travel assistance. These are two separate types of coverage. Out-of-country coverage provides benefits for the medical costs associated with a medical emergency,such as doctor,hospital and lab fees. Meanwhile,travel assistance coverage includes such services as 24-hour-a-day, 7-day-a-week access to travel assistance coordinators who can help direct employees to an appropriate healthcare facility or assist with travel arrangements following a medical emergency. To access these and other services, employees who experience a medical emergency while outside Canada should call the assistance centre at the phone number on their travel assistance card. These plans do not include coverage for trip cancellation, trip interruption or loss or damage of baggage. Employees may want to consider obtaining these types of coverage from other sources.

In case of medical emergency

If an employee experiences a medical emergency while outside Canada, they should call the number on the travel assistance card. The assistance company will help arrange for appropriate medical care, verify insurance coverage and provide necessary assistance, such as flight(s), hotel accommodation and vehicle return.

Before leaving

If you have a medical condition, consider talking to your doctor about whether it is safe to travel. Follow up if you need clarification of out-of-country coverage under your plan. Be sure to pack your travel insurance information, along with emergency help numbers, your provincial health insurance card and your family doctor's contact information. Let family members and traveling partners know the details of your travel insurance.