Frequently Asked Questions about Travel Insurance
Why do I need Travel Insurance?
You should be aware that your provincial coverage may not pay for all health care costs you may incur while outside of the province, and the difference can be substantial. For example, B.C. pays $75 (CAD) a day for emergency in-patient hospital care, while the average cost in the U.S. often exceeds $1000 (US) a day, and can be as high as $10,000 (US) a day in intensive care. For this reason, you are strongly advised to purchase additional health insurance from a private insurer before you leave the province, whether you are going to another part of Canada or outside the country. You are advised to purchase additional coverage even if you plan to be away for only a day.
How do I get free travel coverage for my kids?
When you purchase Travel Medical insurance for one or two parents, each child 18 years of age or younger who is subsequently added to your travel policy will receive free emergency medical coverage for up to $10,000,000.
Who should I contact if I have an Emergency (illness or accident) while I am traveling?
If the Covered person needs health care while out of the province, he/she must call Medi-Assist immediately. Within Canada and the USA: 1 888 699–9333. From all other countries: 1 604 419-4487 collect. Please have your travel certificate number and your Care Card number ready.
How do I get the discount on travel coverage if I already have Extended Health or Dental coverage from Pacific Blue Cross?
If you have a Pacific Blue Cross Extended Health Care and/or Dental plan you are eligible to receive a discount of 10% or more off your Travel Insurance premium. Simply enter your extended health or dental policy number and any applicable discounts will be automatically applied to your purchase.
Is your plan first payer?
If you have an Extended Health Plan with Pacific Blue Cross, your Travel Plan will be first payer. This protects the lifetime limit on your Extended Health Plan.
What if I have coverage under my spouse’s plan?
If you have additional coverage through a benefits plan outside Pacific Blue Cross, we will coordinate cost-sharing of claims with that plan and provider. This will impact your plan as outlined in your spouse’s policy. However, there will be no impact to your existing Pacific Blue Cross extended health coverage.
What if I want to stay longer than my original trip length?
You may be able to extend your existing Travel Plan. Extensions must be purchased before your existing Plan expires.
Please contact Pacific Blue Cross – we'll review your Travel Plan to see if it is eligible for an extension.
Phone: 604 419-2200
Toll Free (within North America): 1 877 PAC-BLUE (1 877 722-2583)
Do I need Travel Insurance when travelling in Canada?
Our Government health plan covers a limited amount of expenses that are incurred outside the province. A Travel Plan will pick up costs not covered by our Government health plan. More information on the limitations of your BC Health Plan (MSP) coverage and why you should have travel insurance for trips within Canada is available on the BC Ministry of Health website.
Why should I purchase Multiple Trip plan instead of Single Trip plan?
If you take more than 2 trips per year, it may be less expensive to buy 1 Multiple Trip plan instead of 2 or more Single Trip plans. For example, if you are in the 0 - 34 age group, you take two 15 day trips in one year and if you purchase two Single Trip plans, it would cost you $86 for both plans. Alternatively, if you purchase one 15-day Multiple Trip plan, the cost would be $52. Plus you will be covered for any more trips (up to 15 days in length) taken within the year.
Which Multiple Trip Plan should I purchase?
Determine how long your average trip is going to be and buy a plan based on that length of trip. If necessary, you can extend some of your trips that are longer in duration.
What is trip cancellation (Trip Protection)?
This benefit will provide reimbursement of your travel costs if your trip is cancelled before departure due to a covered risk.
What does Trip Protection Insurance provide cover for?
Trip Protection Insurance helps you recover non-refundable, prepaid expenses should an unexpected situation such as these arise:
- An event that leads the Government of Canada to issue a general recommendation not to travel to the region (plan must be purchased prior to the Government’s recommendation)
- Illness that requires a doctor’s attention prior to or hospitalization during your trip
- Adverse weather conditions resulting in cancellations or delays
- Unexpected death in the family
- New pregnancy that would mean the Covered person would be travelling during the 33rd week or later of their pregnancy
- Jury duty (except for Law enforcement officers)
- Loss of employment (must be employed permanently for at least 1 consecutive year)
What if I have Trip Protection Insurance and I decide not to travel?
Trip Protection Insurance provides coverage when an unexpected situation impacts your travel plans. Deciding not to travel because you no longer want to go or you don’t think it will be safe (unless the Government of Canada has issued a general recommendation not to travel to the region) are not covered reasons. Check your policy’s details for a full explanation of what is covered.
I have a chronic illness. Am I still covered?
It depends on the illness, its seriousness and its stability. Some illnesses are easily covered. Others require a three or six month stability period, depending on your age. Blue Cross offers the possibility of covering your illness with a medical questionnaire (available for persons aged 61 and over) filled out by your treating physician; Blue Cross’ medical team will then evaluate your condition. If authorized, you can travel worry-free: your chronic illness will also be covered.
Do I need to complete a medical questionnaire?
A distinction should be made between a statement of health and a medical questionnaire.
A medical questionnaire is an option Blue Cross offers to cover pre-existing conditions for individuals over 61 years of age. You are not obliged to complete this questionnaire, however doing so gives you a definite advantage. In 80% of cases, the questionnaires result in coverage that may otherwise not be granted. Simply have your doctor complete the questionnaire and send it to us. Your health status will then be assessed by the Blue Cross medical director; if your pre-existing condition is stable and does not present an increased risk, it will be covered and you will be able to leave on your trip with true peace of mind.
The statement of health determines what will be covered, what will be excluded and the travel insurance premium. The premium is based on the risks inherent with age, the health condition and trip length.
Can I buy travel insurance if I have an existing medical condition?
Yes - Regardless of any existing conditions, we always advise members to still purchase coverage, as it will protect against all other accidents not related to that condition.
Travel insurance policies are designed to provide protection against unexpected emergency medical expenses, trip cancellation or interruption.
Depending on your age and the condition pre-existing medical conditions are covered if they are stable for a certain time period (as specified in your policy) before your policy's effective date.
It is important you review and understand any clauses or definitions in your chosen policy. Each travel insurance policy will uniquely define a pre-existing condition and there are many variations in wording. For example, policies may not cover conditions arising prior to the trip departure date:
- that are unstable
- where symptoms of an illness appeared
- that have been diagnosed or treated
- where medications have been changed
Travel policies will also specify a time frame, based on your age that relates to the evaluation of your pre-existing conditions. This time frame could be as short as 3 months but could be 1 year, 5 years or longer.
Some policies may provide coverage for your pre-existing conditions if you complete a more detailed medical questionnaire.
When purchasing our travel policy, we will evaluate pre-existing conditions for people 60 years and younger based on their health within the previous 3 months prior to the day their coverage begins. For people age 61 and over, we evaluate based on their health within 6 months prior.
Will travel insurance cover me if I am pregnant?
Travel insurance policies often have limitations of coverage associated with pregnancy similar to the limitations within the travel industry at large. For this reason it is important you understand these limitations prior to commencing your travel.
How does a Travel Advisory issued by the government affect travel coverage?
Travel insurance policies often have limitations of coverage associated with accidents or diseases arising from travel to a location where the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs has issued a travel advisory or health warning advising Canadians not to travel to this country, region or city.Important COVID-19 Travel Insurance information
The Government of Canada has issued an official global advisory to avoid non-essential travel (Level 3) outside of the country to limit the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19). As a result, coverage related to Coronavirus (COVID-19) will be affected:
Travel Medical Insurance
For trips that depart on or after March 13, 2020, Coronavirus (COVID-19) related illness will not be covered. You can learn more about how Government travel advisories impact coverage in our Travel Insurance FAQs.
Trip Protection Insurance (Cancellations/Interruptions)
Effective March 12, 2020, we are considering Coronavirus (COVID-19) to be a known event for individually purchased Trip Protection. Travel insurance is intended to cover losses arising from sudden and unforeseeable circumstances. Any claims resulting from events known to a policyholder at time purchasing the trip are not covered.
These conditions will remain in effect until the advisory is lifted or otherwise stated by Pacific Blue Cross.
If you purchased a Trip Protection plan prior to March 12, 2020 you will be covered for trip cancellation or interruption claims related to COVID-19.
When the Canadian government issues an advisory to "avoid all travel" or "avoid non-essential travel" to your destination, that is considered an unexpected situation and is therefore eligible for Trip Protection (cancellation or interruption) benefits. However, your trip must have been purchased PRIOR TO the government issued advisory.
Government Advisory LevelTRAVEL MEDICAL PLAN
Purchased as a stand-alone plan or part of a Package plan, Travel Medical provides coverage for:
TRIP PROTECTION PLAN
- Emergency medical
- Ambulance fees
- Repatriation costs
Purchased as a stand-alone plan or part of a Package plan, Trip Protection provides coverage for:
LVL 1 & 2
- Trip cancellation, interruption, delay
- Air flight accident
- Accidental death & dismemberment
NO IMPACT TO COVERAGELVL 3 & 4Advisory
AFTER DEPARTURE Travel
BEFORE TRIP PURCHASE
Trip cancellation, interruption, delay
AFTER TRIP PURCHASE
Trip cancellation, interruption, delay
This is for illustrative purposes only and does not form part of your contract. Full details are found in the Travel Policy.
Travel Insurance is intended to protect consumers from sudden and unforeseen events that arise and leave them with out of pocket expenses that they did not expect to incur.
When a Level 3 or 4 advisory is issued by the Government of Canada, they are stating that Canadians can expect to experience health or safety concerns and so should not travel.
For any Trip Cancellation benefits, this means that a trip purchased after a Level 3 or 4 advisory is issued cannot be cancelled for the reason of this advisory. This is an expected event.
For any Travel Medical or Interruption/Delay benefits, if you choose to depart on your trip after the Government of Canada has issued a Level 3 or 4 advisory, then all benefits on your plan are invalidated. You are not covered because it is expected that you could experience an issue causing a claim.
When there are Regional Advisories — some parts of your trip are Level 1 and 2, but some parts are 3 or 4 — if you choose to travel to the Level 3 or 4 Advisory region, then none of your benefits will apply. It is expected that you could experience a claim — it is a known event.
When Travel Advisories remain Level 1 or 2, all of your benefits are in force and applied according to the contract. This would include contracting COVID19 during your travel, or being delayed because of quarantine.
This information applies to all of our plans, single trip or annual, stand alone or packaged.
We always recommend that you read your travel policy booklet and check the Government of Canada website prior to any travel, especially when world conditions are changing rapidly.
For any pre-travel trip destination questions such as travel advisory, shots, visas or safety concerns, please contact Medi-Assist who have the most up to date information for your destination.
As always, our customer service representatives are here to help.
Why are you asking for my Care Card Number?
In order for you to qualify to purchase travel insurance, you must have a valid Care Card number. Although, you are not required to provide it at time of purchase, we may request it later in order to process your claim.
Can I pay by cheque?
When applying online, you must pay by using a major credit card.
However, you can mail in an application and enclose a cheque payable to Pacific Blue Cross for the premium. You can also come into our office and apply. Pacific Blue Cross must receive your application and cheque before you depart from BC.
How do I make a claim?
How do I appeal a claim decision?
If you wish to appeal a decision about a recent claim, contact our Call Centre. Often an issue can be resolved by simply providing you with more information about your claim or what is covered by your plan.
If one of our customer service representatives is unable to resolve the matter with you, they can escalate your request to a Benefit Review Committee for further review. They will explain how to file your appeal and help you to provide all relevant information regarding your claim.
How do I apply for a refund?
A request for a refund of premium can be made prior to the Effective date of the policy, A request for a refund of premium can be made prior to the Effective date of the policy, if the insured returns to his/her province or territory of residence prior to the expiry date of the policy, or when a Visitors to Canada or policyholder becomes covered under a provincial or territorial hospital/medical plan. Please fill-in and return the Request for Travel Premium Refund Form to firstname.lastname@example.org. No refund can be given if you are covered under Trip Cancellation, Emergency Return Benefit and / or an Annual insurance plan. Administrative charges may apply.
Are there vaccinations that I should get prior to travel?
When travelling internationally, you may be at risk for a number of diseases which are common in other parts of the world. You can learn more about Travel Vaccines on our Vaccination page.