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Important information about COVID-19

Including information on travel restrictions, virtual care and prescription drugs.

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Travel information

Updated: June 26, 2020

As many provinces begin to ease physical distancing restrictions and business have reopened or are preparing to, one thing has not changed: travel guidelines for Canadians.

Aligning with direction from the federal and provincial governments advising against non-essential travel during the COVID-19 situation, and as international borders remain closed to most travel, Alberta Blue Cross has temporarily paused sales of all travel coverage plans (including emergency medical, trip cancellation and interruption and coverage extensions) until this situation is resolved.

The federal government still advises that all non-essential travel outside Canada must be avoided.

Your safety and well-being and health and wellness of our community are our top priority during this new reality and we want to do our part to ensure we help prevent the spread of COVID-19. We believe that in such circumstances, limiting travel and encouraging our community to follow the recommendations of public health authorities is greatly aligned our mission to be your partner in health and wellness.

We will continue to keep you, our valued customer, informed as this situation changes and look forward to serving your travel coverage needs once it's safe to travel again.

Questions?

If you have questions about this update, please call 1-800-394-1965 and select option 4.

Several provinces and territories have implemented travel restrictions for those who are not residents of that region. Some provinces are also imposing mandatory 14-day quarantine for travellers coming from other parts of Canada.

If you travel within Canada you will be covered for COVID-19 related incidents, in excess of your provincial health coverage and in accordance with the terms of your policy. If you have an incident while travelling within Canada, most costs will be coordinated through your provincial health plan, but not all. For example, hospital and physician expenses are covered by provincial health plans, medical repatriation and air ambulance are not.

You could be subject to another provincial government restriction. For example, entry refusal or requirement you to self-isolate as you enter the province and return to your home province. Emergency travel benefits do not cover expenses for a self-quarantine period, unless medically required. We encourage you to check the government recommendations and restrictions for the province you are travelling to closer to your travel date.

If you are hospitalized within Canada and requests repatriation to your home province, this would be considered when medically necessary, and then to the nearest appropriate facility.

If a Government of Canada travel advisory to “avoid non-essential travel” or “avoid all travel” is not in place, full travel benefits, including COVID-19 related incidents, are eligible in accordance with the terms of the policy.

The Canada-U.S. land border remains closed for non-essential travellers.

If you were travelling prior to the border closures and travel restrictions and voluntarily chose to remain at your destination, your coverage has not been extended.

It is imperative that you follow the travel advisory to avoid all non-essential travel as Alberta Blue Cross may be unable to assist you due to the scale of the crisis and the limited availability of medical resources abroad.

As of March 13, 2020, the Government of Canada has issued an official notice to avoid all non-essential travel outside of Canada. Alberta Blue Cross will ensure all plan members who are required to cross the border for their job and are deemed to be essential by the government, such as truck drivers and pilots who are transporting essential goods and services, will continue to receive emergency medical travel coverage including any claims related to COVID-19. This is subject to all other terms and conditions of their benefits plan.

As this situation is quickly changing we will continue to keep you informed if there are any changes.

Due to questions regarding COVID-19, our travel service team is currently experiencing extremely high call volumes. We’re all in this together and we appreciate your patience.

As of March 13, 2020, the Government of Canada has issued an official notice to avoid all non-essential travel outside of Canada. In accordance with this notice, Alberta Blue Cross emergency medical travel coverage will not provide coverage for any claims related to COVID-19 incurred outside Canada for departures commencing March 14, 2020 or after. To review the list of people exempt from the travel restrictions, visit the Government of Canada’s website.

We recommend you check the Canadian travel advisories frequently. But, it’s critical to check before you book your trip and right before you leave.

Travel advisories are issued by the Government of Canada and are the official source of destination-specific travel information. They give you important information to help protect you from security threats around the world: are there any climate or weather concerns, is the political situation stable, are there any major health outbreaks you should watch for?

When there is an elevated security concern, advisories will caution you against all or non-essential travel to that specific city, region or country.

In accordance with your travel coverage, benefits will not be covered for a medical emergency that is directly related to a published formal travel advisory that is issued prior to your departure date. As of March 13, 2020, The Government of Canada has issued an official notice to avoid all non-essential travel outside of Canada. In accordance with this notice, Alberta Blue Cross emergency medical travel coverage will not provide coverage for any claims related to COVID-19 incurred outside Canada for departures commencing March 14, 2020 or after.

Coverage is subject to the level of risk associated with a travel advisory issued prior to a departure date. Benefits are not eligible for expenses incurred for a medical emergency related to a travel advisory risk level of Avoid Non-Essential Travel or Avoid All Travel. For more information on risk levels and travel advisories visit https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/health-safety/travel-health-notices#risklevelsalth-notices#risklevels.

As of March 13, 2020, The Government of Canada has issued an official notice to avoid all non-essential travel outside of Canada. In accordance with this notice, Alberta Blue Cross emergency medical travel coverage will not provide coverage for any claims related to COVID-19 incurred outside Canada for departures commencing March 14, 2020 or after.

If you experience a medical emergency or you’re quarantined while travelling, please contact travel assistance.

If you’re currently in a country with a COVID-19-related travel advisory and your coverage is ending soon but you are unable to return to Canada, please contact travel assistance immediately. Coverage will be based on the specific terms of your policy. In most situations, you will be considered eligible for coverage until you are stable or released from quarantine and able to travel safely.

Travel emergency contact info can be found on the back of your Alberta Blue Cross ID card and at abcrosstravel.ca. For more information on what to do if you experience a medical emergency while travelling visit the CanAssistance website.

Effective March 12, 2020, COVID-19 is no longer being considered an unknown risk. COVID-19 is now considered a “known issue”. If you purchase trip cancellation, interruption and baggage insurance on or after March 12, 2020, you will not have coverage for claims related to COVID-19—regardless of whether there was a travel ban or advisory published prior to travel. Alberta Blue Cross paused the sale of all travel products effective March 19, 2020.

As of March 9, 2020, the Government of Canada advised Canadians to avoid all cruise travel due to coronavirus (COVID-19). As a result, Alberta Blue Cross now considers all cruise ships to be regions or areas with COVID-19 related travel advisories. If you take a cruise after this date, and there is an avoid “all” or “non-essential” travel advisory in place for cruise ships before you leave, emergency medical coverage will not be provided if your illness or injury is directly or indirectly related to COVID-19.

If you would like to submit a refund request for an upcoming trip, fill out and submit the Travel Refund Request form or call us at 1-800-394-1965. We offer full refunds for trips not taken.

It is imperative that anyone currently outside the country make every effort to return immediately to Canada, as Alberta Blue Cross may be unable to assist them due to the scale of the crisis and the limited availability of medical resources abroad. At this time, we will not be selling plan extensions.