Travel

Navigating Travel Benefits: Answers to Your Top 5 Questions

Navigating Travel Benefits: Answers to Your Top 5 Questions

Summer is right around the corner and if you plan to travel, it’s best to understand your travel benefits coverage prior to your trip. Visit our Travel Benefits webpage for full details, but if your bags are packed and you’re ready to go, review our top five frequently asked questions before you leave.

1. Am I covered while travelling outside BC or Canada?

Yes, and coverage depends on the expense. See the table below for a summary of coverage.

Remember, if you experience a medical emergency while travelling, it’s important to contact Allianz Global Assistance, Sun Life’s travel assistance provider, as soon as possible.

Expense Coverage Outside BC or Canada Amount Covered
Physician Services
(emergency only)
Yes 100%, up to your overall lifetime max. of $2 million per person
Hospital Services
(emergency only)
Yes 100%, up to your overall lifetime max. of $2 million per person
Ambulance Services – air or ground
(emergency only)
Yes 100%, up to your overall lifetime max. of $2 million per person
Prescription Drugs
(emergency and non-emergency)
Yes Same level of reimbursement as if the expense had been incurred in BC, up to your overall lifetime max. of $2 million per person
Other Services & Supplies – normally covered by UBC’s Extended Health Plan

(emergency and non-emergency)

Yes Same level of reimbursement as if the expense had been incurred in BC, up to your overall lifetime max. of $2 million per person

In order to have coverage, you must be enrolled in the BC Medical Services Plan (either through UBC, your spouse/partner’s employer’s plan or with Health Insurance BC directly) and the UBC Extended Health Plan while temporarily outside of BC. You are covered for 365 days from the date you leave BC or your home province.

Your dependents are also covered if they meet the definition of eligible dependent and they are enrolled in the BC Medical Services Plan (either through UBC, your spouse/partner’s employer’s plan or with Health Insurance BC directly) and listed as your dependent under your Extended Health plan.

2. Should I purchase additional travel insurance?

How you answer this question will depend on your situation. And while we can’t make this decision for you, we can provide you with information on what your insurance covers (and what it does not cover). We suggest reading our previous Benefits FYI article where we answer this very question.

3. I have a pre-existing condition. Am I covered if I need medical attention related to my condition while travelling?

Yes, if the pre-existing medical condition is stable and controlled at the time of departure from BC/Canada and if your doctor has cleared you for travel. It’s strongly recommended that you obtain a letter from your doctor clearing you for travel or ask that a note be added to your medical file.

4. I am travelling to a country that has a travel advisory warning. Am I covered if I need medical attention while in that country?

Yes, travelling to a country that has a travel advisory warning does not mean you lose your coverage. We recommend calling Allianz Global Assistance, Sun Life’s travel assistance provider, in advance of your travels to confirm whether you will be able to access their medical emergency travel assistance services in your destination area. It is your responsibility to review your benefits coverage, including exclusions and limitations, prior to travel.

If you are experiencing a medical emergency while outside BC or Canada, contact Allianz Global Assistance as soon as possible. Allianz Global Assistance will try to connect you with medical services to the best of its ability; however, services may be delayed or unavailable depending on the situation.

5. Am I covered for trip cancellation, trip delay or lost luggage?

No. However, you can purchase such an insurance policy with the airline or travel company you have purchased your flight(s) or vacation package from.

For more information:

Travel bag with insurance tag and tourist accessories

Should I Purchase Additional Travel Insurance?

If you’re thinking of heading outside BC or Canada for leisure or work, you may be wondering if your existing travel insurance will cover you and your family in the event of a medical emergency. In other words, do you need to purchase additional insurance?

How you answer this question will depend on your situation. And while we can’t make this decision for you, we can provide you with information on what your insurance covers (and what it does not cover). Knowing the facts can help you make an informed decision on whether you might need additional insurance.

To help you make the decision that’s best for you, take a look at the questions and answers below:

1. What is my UBC coverage while travelling?

The BC Medical Services Plan (MSP) will cover physician and hospital services in the event of a medical emergency only. MSP will only pay up to the BC rate for these services.

The coverage provided by the UBC Extended Health Plan supplements any costs not covered by the MSP for your emergency physician and hospital services. You may be reimbursed up to 100% of the total cost, provided you have not exhausted your lifetime maximum.

The Extended Health Plan will also pay for medical expenses you would normally be covered for and reimburse you as if the expenses were incurred in BC. For example, if you submit a claim for a prescription drug you purchased outside the country, you will be reimbursed for what the cost would have been in BC. The exception is ambulance services, which are covered at 100% (if you have not exhausted your maximum).

Your dependent family members are also covered if they are enrolled in the UBC Extended Health Plan.

2. What is the maximum amount I can claim?

The lifetime maximum that each person enrolled in the UBC Extended Health Plan can be reimbursed for is $2 million. This amount is reduced each time you make an Extended Health claim. Your dependents also have a lifetime maximum coverage of $2 million.

To find out your current Extended Health balance (or that of your dependents), call Sun Life at 1-800-361-6212.

3. Am I covered by other plans?

You may also have coverage outside BC or Canada through your spouse’s plan or a credit card.

If you are covered under a spouse’s plan, you may have access to additional coverage while travelling. Ask your spouse to confirm the details of their plan.

Your credit card may also provide coverage in the event of a medical emergency. You can confirm coverage by calling your credit card company. 

4. What if I have a pre-existing medical condition or I am pregnant?

The UBC Extended Health Plan does not have a pre-existing conditions clause. This means that as long as your condition is stable before your departure and your doctor has given you permission to travel, you will be covered. It is strongly recommended you obtain a letter from your doctor clearing travel or request a note to your file prior to travel.

If you (or your dependent) is pregnant, you are covered up to and including the 36th week of pregnancy. After the 36th week, you will not be covered for any pregnancy or childbirth-related expenses.

If you give birth prematurely up to and including your 36th week of pregnancy, medical expenses for the birth mother and newborn are covered.

Regular prenatal checkups (outside of BC) while you are pregnant are not covered, even if received before your 36th week of pregnancy. You are also not covered if you travel to another province or country with the intention to give birth there. 

5. What are the exclusions and limitations?

The UBC Extended Health Plan has the following exclusions and limitations:

  • You are covered for 365 days from the date you leave BC. Hospital coverage is limited to 90 days, although this period may be extended if it is dangerous to transport you back home.
  • You are not covered if Sun Life determines (based on medical information) that you can be transported back to BC for medical attention and you choose not to return home.
  • You are not covered for non-emergency physician and hospital services.
  • You are not covered for illness or injury resulting from the hostile action of any armed forces (military or police), insurrection, riot, civil commotion or terrorist activity that you participated in.
  • You are not covered for any trip delays, cancellations or lost luggage.
  • Your emergency travel assistance services through Allianz Global Assistance, Sun Life’s travel benefits provider, may be suspended, curtailed or limited in some countries due to conditions such as war, political unrest, epidemics and geographical inaccessibility. For an up-to-date list of countries where travel assistance services may not be available, please contact Allianz Global Assistance (1-800-511-4610) before leaving on your trip.

Participation in extreme sports is not an exclusion.

For a complete list of exclusions and limitations under the Extended Health Plan and other UBC benefits, click here. 

Conclusion

If you are comfortable with the level of coverage provided by the UBC Extended Health Plan, then you may not need to purchase additional insurance.

However, if your Extended Health balance is low, you have a pre-existing condition, you are pregnant, or your tolerance for risk is low, you may want to purchase additional insurance for added protection and peace of mind.

Benefits Coverage While Travelling and Download the Latest Medi-Passport Brochure

Benefits Coverage While Travelling and Download the Latest Medi-Passport Brochure

familytravel-600Spring break is right around the corner. If you plan to travel, there are several things you should know about your health and welfare benefits coverage through UBC, including what documentation to take with you and what to do in the event of a medical emergency. It is important for you to plan ahead so you understand the risks associated with travelling abroad, in order to prepare for events that might occur.

Am I Covered While Travelling?

If you are enrolled in UBC’s Extended Health plan, you are covered while travelling outside of BC.  This also applies to your dependents who are enrolled in the plan.

Coverage for medical expenses outside of BC or Canada depends on the expense.

Medically necessary expenses that are typically covered by the Medical Services Plan of BC (MSP), such as services and supplies while in hospital, hospital room and out-patient and physician’s services, are covered in the event of an emergency only, if incurred outside of BC or CanadaAn emergency means an acute illness or accidental injury that requires immediate, medically necessary treatment prescribed by a doctor. These services are not covered in non-emergency situations.

Expenses incurred outside BC or Canada that are typically covered by UBC’s Extended Health plan by Sun Life (e.g., prescription drug medical equipment and supplies (out-patient), paramedical services (only covered in North America), and vision care benefits) are covered in the event of a medical emergency and non-emergency, subject to the conditions outlined in your plan. Payment for these expenses will be limited to the reasonable & customary charge within BC, and in Canadian funds.

Eligible expenses are covered at 100%, less the deductible, up to your overall extended health lifetime maximum. Your overall extended health lifetime maximum at any point in time is $2,000,000 less any amount Sun Life has reimbursed since you joined the plan. To determine the extended health plan balance for you and/or each of your covered dependents, you will need to contact Sun Life at 1-800-361-6212.

You are covered for an absence of up to one year (365 days) per trip. If you are hospitalized during this period as a result of a medical emergency, in-patient services are covered for up to 90 days.

For more information, visit our Benefits While Travelling page.

Be Prepared Before You Go

Check the travel report for your destination and all the points you will be visiting in-between to determine the risk level.

Check the travel health notice for your destination (all and points in-between) to determine if you need vaccinations and/or are required to carry vaccination certificates when travelling to specific countries or areas.

Review Our Checklist

We have a handy Checklist for Preparing for Travel Before, After and During Your Trip. Download a copy here.

Download the Latest Medi-Passport Brochure

Make sure your Medi-Passport brochure is up-to-date and includes the contact details for Allianz Global Assistance, Sun Life’s Travel Benefits Provider (Allianz Global Assistance replaced Europ Assistance on April 1, 2016). If you experience a medical emergency while travelling, call Allianz Global Assistance as soon as possible so they can set up a file for you, manage your case and if possible, arrange for payment of medical emergency expenses to the provider directly.

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

Check out our Travel Frequently Asked Questions page for answers to questions such as whether you should purchase additional insurance, coverage for vaccinations and if coverage applies if you have a pre-existing condition, are pregnant, participate in extreme sports, or if the country you are in experiences a natural disaster or terrorist activity.

Attend Our Travel Benefits Information Session – Registration is NOW CLOSED

Vancouver Campus, with videoconferencing in the Okanagan

Date:  Wednesday, March 15, 2017
Time:  12-1 pm

Vancouver

Centre for Brain Health, Room 101, 2215 Wesbrook Mall (map)
Registration required

Okanagan (videoconference)

Reichwald Health Sciences Centre (RHS) Room 129

Know Before You Go: Travel Benefits for UBC Faculty & Staff

travelSummer vacation season is right around the corner. Before you leave, there are several things you should know about your health and welfare benefits coverage through UBC, including what documentation to take with you and what to do in the event of a medical emergency. It is important to plan ahead and understand the associated risks when travelling to other parts of the world, so that you can prepare for events that may occur.

Coverage While Outside BC or Canada

Coverage for medical expenses outside of BC or Canada depends on the expense.

Medically necessary expenses that are typically covered by the Medical Services Plan of BC (MSP), such as services and supplies while in hospital, hospital room and out-patient and physician’s services are covered in the event of an emergency only, if incurred outside of BC or CanadaAn emergency means an acute illness or accidental injury that requires immediate, medically necessary treatment prescribed by a doctor. These services are not covered in non-emergency situations.

Expenses incurred outside BC or Canada that are typically covered by UBC’s Extended Health plan with Sun Life (e.g., prescription drug medical equipment and supplies (out-patient), paramedical services (only covered in North America), and vision care benefits) are covered in the event of a medical emergency and non-emergency, subject to the conditions outlined in your plan. Payment for these expenses will be limited to the reasonable & customary charge within BC, and in Canadian funds.

Eligible expenses are covered at 100% less the deductible, up to your overall extended health lifetime maximum. Your overall extended health lifetime maximum at any point in time is $1,000,000 less any amount Sun Life has reimbursed since you were enrolled in the plan. To determine the extended health plan balance for you and/or each of your covered dependents, you will need to contact Sun Life at 1-800-361-6212 or 1-800-661-7334.

You are covered for a period of 365 days of absence per trip. If you are hospitalized during this period as a result of a medical emergency, in-patient services are covered for up to 90 days.

UBC’s Travel Planning Website

The UBC Travel Planning website is a “one stop” information hub that connects faculty and staff to many important travel-related sites and information sources.

The objective of the hub is to provide complete, accurate, and up-to-date information on travel related to the University’s business operations.  The tool may also be used for those who have access to UBC travel resources for personal travel (such as travel health benefits).

Visit http://travelplan.ubc.ca to start planning your trip.

Want More Information on Travel Benefits? Attend an Information Session

Diamond Health Care Centre

Wednesday, May 25, 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Room 9299 (9th Floor), Diamond Health Care Centre, 2775 Laurel Street
Facilitator: Stephanie Mah, Benefits Specialist
Register here.

Point Grey Campus

Tuesday, June 21, 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Room 102, Michael Smith Laboratories, 2185 East Mall
Facilitator: Stephanie Mah, Benefits Specialist
Register here.

Questions?

For more details on travel benefits at UBC, please visit UBC’s Travel Benefits website. If you have further questions after reviewing the information, please contact Stephanie Mah at 604-822-6823 or stephanie.mah@ubc.ca.

UBC’s Travel Planning Tool

UBC’s Travel Planning Tool

travel-at-ubcWe are pleased to announce the release of a new travel planning resource for UBC faculty and staff who travel on behalf of the University for business or research, and department administrators who facilitate faculty and staff in making travel arrangements. The tool may also be used for those who have access to UBC travel resources for personal travel (such as travel health benefits).

Travel Planning at UBC (http://travelplan.ubc.ca/) is a “one stop” information hub that connects faculty and staff to many important travel-related sites and information sources.

The objective of the hub is to provide complete, accurate, and up-to-date information on travel related to the University’s business operations.

UBC’s Travel Planning Tool is on the left side of the web page, and allows you to enter your travel parameters and generate a list of considerations before, during, and after you travel.

The right side of the web page provides links to a variety of important travel-related web sites:

travel-r-1 The “Travel Planning & Logistics” button brings you to the “UBCTravelSmart” web page. This web page contains information about airline, hotel & car discounts for UBC travellers. A travel registry is available.
travel-r-2 The “Travel Benefits & Health Insurance” button brings you to a Human Resources web page related to health & welfare benefits, and things to know about your benefit coverage when travelling.
travel-r-3 The “Travel Expenses & Reimbursement” button brings you to a Finance web page related to travel expense reimbursement.
travel-r-4 The “Safety & Risk Considerations” button brings you to UBC’s new “Travel and Field Safety” web site.  This site provides a number of Risk Management resources related to field research.On this web page you can access a new online “Trip Plan” tool that provides you a customized checklist of safety and risk considerations and requirements related to your field research trip.  You can create a Trip Plan by answering questions related to your field research trip.

The Travel Planning at UBC web page also provides “Quick Links” to a variety of important travel-related sites.

Questions?

  • If you have questions about the Travel Planning Tool or about travel benefits & health insurance please contact Stephanie Mah at (604) 822-6823 or stephanie.mah@ubc.ca.
  • If you have questions about the travel safety and risk considerations or the travel and field safety web site please contact Jason McLeod at (250) 807-8821 or jason.mcleod@ubc.ca.
  • If you have questions about travel planning and logistics or UBCTravelSmart web site please contact Judith Fograscher at (604) 822-5878 or judith.fograscher@ubc.ca.
Know Before You Go:  Travel Benefits at UBC

Know Before You Go: Travel Benefits at UBC

travel-benefitsSummer vacation plans are right around the corner. Before you leave, there are several things you should know about your health and welfare benefits coverage through UBC, including what documentation to take with you and what to do in the event of a medical emergency. It is important to plan ahead and understand the associated risks when travelling to other parts of the world, so that you can prepare for events that may occur.

Beginning in this issue of Benefits FYI, we will answer commonly asked questions that we receive regarding travel benefits. For full details, refer to UBC’s Travel Benefits website, or contact Sun Life directly at 1-800-361-6212 or 1-800-661-7334.

What is my coverage while travelling outside of BC or Canada?

Coverage for medical expenses outside of BC or Canada depends on the expense.

Medically necessary expenses that are typically covered by the Medical Services Plan of BC (MSP), such as services and supplies while in hospital, semi-private hospital room and out-patient and physician’s services are covered in the event of an emergency only[1], if incurred outside of BC or Canada. These services are not covered in non-emergency situations.

Expenses incurred outside BC or Canada that are typically covered by UBC’s extended health plan with Sun Life (e.g., prescription drug medical equipment and supplies (out-patient), paramedical services, and vision care benefits) are also covered in the event of a medical emergency and non-emergency, subject to the conditions outlined in your plan. Payment for these expenses will be limited to the reasonable & customary charge within BC, and in Canadian funds.

Eligible expenses are covered at 100% less the deductible, up to your overall extended health lifetime maximum. Your overall extended health lifetime maximum at any point in time is $1,000,000 less any amount Sun Life has reimbursed since you were enrolled in the plan. To determine the extended health plan balance for you and/or each of your covered dependents, contact Sun Life at 1-800-361-6212 or 1-800-661-7334.

You are covered for a period of 365 days of absence per trip. If you are hospitalized during this period as a result of a medical emergency, in-patient services are covered for up to 90 days.

Next Article

In our next issue, we will address decisions around purchasing additional travel insurance.

For More Information

For more details on travel benefits at UBC, please visit UBC’s Travel Benefits website. If you have further questions after reviewing the information, please contact Stephanie Mah at 604-822-6823 or stephanie.mah@ubc.ca.

You’re invited!

UBC Point Grey Campus:

Attend Understanding Your Travel Benefits on June 26, 2014, 12:00 – 1:00pm to learn about your coverage and what to do in a medical emergency. To register, or for more information, click here.

[1] An emergency means an acute illness or accidental injury that requires immediate, medically necessary treatment prescribed by a doctor.