Make it a Healthy Summer

With summer here, it’s time to head outdoors!

Here are ideas to help you get healthy, burn calories and connect with your community this summer:

  1. Walk. Leave your car or bus pass at home and walk to the park, beach, shop, or restaurant. Whether it’s a leisurely stroll or a brisk walk, walking is a great way to incorporate exercise into your day.
  2. Visit your local farmers’ market and stock up on healthy food. Farmers’ markets operate in every corner of BC, selling a wide range of farm-fresh, wholesome foods including fruits and vegetables, organics, specialty cheeses, eggs, beef, seafood and jams.
  3. Dust off your bike and go for a ride. Whether you’re a casual cyclist or extreme mountain biker, BC’s fl at paved paths, rolling hills and mountain passes off er something for everyone.
  4. Burn calories and appreciate nature by hiking. BC’s protected forests and provincial parks off er an abundance of hiking trails and waterfalls, lakes and beaches.
  5. Check out a summer festival or event in your community. Various festivals and events are held in communities across BC every summer.

How about staying healthy on UBC’s Vancouver and Okanagan campuses this summer? Some ideas:

Vancouver campus

  1. Sign up for a free Healthy UBC course. For a list of upcoming topics, dates and to register, visit
  2. Visit the UBC Farm Market at the UBC Bookstore on Wednesdays, and UBC Farm on Saturdays.
  3. Join UBC’s power walking club (free). Walks are every Monday and Friday, rain or shine. For more information or to register, visit:
  4. Grab a co-worker and walk up and down the beach trails along NW Marine Drive.
  5. Participate in the Point Grey Triathlon on Sunday, July 17th. Register and pay the fee by July 11th.

Okanagan campus

  1. Go to lunch-time yoga classes on Thursdays at FIN 144. For more information, visit
  2. Attend the complimentary Nutrition Sessions held monthly at LIB306. For a list of upcoming topics, dates and to register, visit:
  3. Find out more about the WRAP Program and Health Promotions. Contact Tracey Hawthorn at local 7-8183 or
  4. Learn more about your Occupational Health Risks. Contact Toni Harfield at local 7-8867 or
  5. Read the Healthy UBC Okanagan newsletter. Watch for the first edition coming soon.

Prescription Drug Coverage – Integrating with BC Drug Programs

4 Certain drugs used to treat cancer, blood formation, hepatitis, HIV, human growth hormone, multiple sclerosis, organ transplant, rheumatic disease and skin disorders, Alzheimer’s and Cystic Fibrosis may be fully or partially covered by various BC Government Drug Programs.

If you and/or your dependents are prescribed a drug that may be covered by the province, Sun Life will send a letter requesting that you apply to the provincial drug program along with the application form and instructions. You have 10 weeks from the date on the letter to notify Sun Life whether the province approved or declined your application.

How coverage will be integrated:

  • If you are fully covered by the province, the provincial drug program will reimburse you for your claim, not Sun Life.
  • If you are partially covered by the province, the provincial drug program will reimburse you for your claim first, and any remaining portion will be reimbursed by Sun Life as per the terms of the plan.
  • If you are not covered by the province, Sun Life will reimburse you for your claim as per the terms of the plan.

Integration with BC Government Drug Programs will ensure that prescription drugs that are fully or partially covered by the province are directed to the appropriate area for reimbursement. Any costs that the province does not reimburse will continue to be covered under the UBC Extended Health Plan with Sun Life, as per the terms of the plan.

Summer Vacation Travel

travelMany people spend their summer vacations outside BC. If you are planning to travel out-of-province and considering purchasing medical insurance for your trip, now is a good time to review emergency medical coverage, available for out-of-province medical emergencies.

For more information on emergency medical coverage, visit:

Healthy Families


The BC Provincial Government has launched a comprehensive health-promotion program to help families make healthy choices and to introduce innovative approaches to challenges facing the BC health care system.

One of the Healthy Families BC program strategies, Prescription for Health, is intended to provide BC physicians with additional tools to conduct medical assessments and work with patients to develop a health promotion and illness prevention plan. Other services include QuitNow (tobacco-cessation service and information resource) and Dietitian Services at HealthLink BC.

Visit for more information.

Remember, if you are enrolled in the UBC group Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP), you also have access to wellness services from Human Solutions’, UBC’s EFAP provider. For a list of services and contact information, visit

Know Before You Go: Travel Benefits


Professor Jones will be on sabbatical for a year from UBC, working with a university in the United States. The American university has provided a list stating the medical coverage that he must have while working there. Does Professor Jones need to purchase additional coverage while in the US, or is he covered – even partially – by his UBC benefits coverage?

Anita, a student advisor at Enrolment Services, and a friend are on a back-packing expedition in Nepal. On a particularly harrowing hike, Anita falls down a ravine – she’s conscious, but injured. Her friend manages to rescue her and both are on their way to the hospital. Anita assumes that her extended health coverage through Sun Life will cover her medical expenses – true or false?

When UBC faculty and staff travel for work – or leisure – they often aren’t aware of what their extended health benefits package covers in the event of injuries or medical emergencies. Some of the circumstances may be accidental, others may be as a consequence of where you are traveling (for instance, in countries experiencing political unrest or violence).

UBC’s Benefits team recently launched a series of web pages on travel benefits to support faculty and staff awareness on what you need to know before you leave the country. “Plan ahead, and get to know what documents and information to bring with you, learn more about what’s covered so you don’t find yourself caught by surprise or off-guard by any situations where you’ll need emergency medical coverage and assistance,” says Natasha Malloff, Benefits Manager.

Faculty and staff can bookmark to find information on:

  • What your benefits coverage are when traveling for leisure
  • What your benefits coverage are when traveling for work
  • Tips for preparing before, during and after your trip
  • Emergency medical coverage and what to do in emergency medical situations
  • Frequently asked questions on travel benefits.

In Professor Jones’ situation, benefits coverage varies widely between employers and countries. While UBC’s Benefits staff is able to review the list provided by the American university, it is unlikely that UBC is able to provide the exact same medical coverage.

UBC does not have a provision to “top-up” benefits coverage to match that of the other institutions or any requirements they may have. In this event, his best recourse is to consider purchasing the medical benefits package offered by the American university or research other benefit plans offered by private insurance companies to fulfill any insurance requirements of the other institution. This would apply to all global academic institutions, not just those in the US.

For Anita, her situation qualifies as an emergency medical situation and she needs to contact Europ Assistance (Sun Life’s travel benefit provider) immediately. The extended health plan covers emergency medical expenses, however the reimbursement depends on the expense itself.

For 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, reimbursement will be 100%, up to Anita’s extended health lifetime balance ($1,000,000 less any amount Sun Life has reimbursed her since she’s been enrolled in the plan).

For other expenses that are typically covered by UBC’s extended health plan with Sun Life (e.g., prescription drug medical equipment and supplies (outpatient), paramedical services, and vision care benefits), reimbursement is subject to the conditions outlined in her Sun Life booklet and payment for these expenses will be limited to the reasonable & customary charge within BC, and in Canadian funds.

For travel benefit scenarios and information, visit