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?
This benefit will provide reimbursement of your travel costs if your trip is cancelled before departure due to a covered risk.
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.
Coverage limitations and / or exclusions would apply if the advisory is in place prior to purchase of the policy. However, if you have already left on your trip when the advisory is issued, you would be covered should something unforeseen arise.
It is important you review the government’s website for such advisories prior to booking your vacation.
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. Submit your written request to either Pacific Blue Cross or the Broker from whom you purchased the insurance. 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.