COVID-19 Information

The outbreak of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) was declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on January 30th, 2020. 

On March 9, 2020, the Government of Canada advised Canadians to avoid all cruise travel until further notice due to COVID-19. On March 13, 2020, a global travel advisory was issued to avoid non-essential travel outside Canada until further notice. For up-to-date information on the current situation and travel advice, please visit the Government of Canada website.

Due to the global travel advisory, our Daily Travel Plan coverage is not available to purchase at this time, including any top-up or extensions. Members who had already purchased a Daily Travel Plan, or hold VIP Travel Optional Benefits, will not have emergency medical coverage if they leave Canada while these advisories are in effect. If you have purchased a Daily Travel Plan and have not yet left, you can submit a cancellation request for a full refund. Please contact our office at 306.244.1192 or 1.800.667.6853 or through the Contact Us option on our website.

While our standard Outside Province of Residence Travel Benefits under our Group Plans and International Student Travel Plan do not include an exclusion in relation to travel warnings, we recommend adherence to the Travel Advice and Advisories issued by the Canadian government.

If you are currently travelling outside Canada, and the Government of Canada had not issued a travel advisory to ‘Avoid all travel’ or ‘Avoid non-essential travel’ to your travel destination prior to departure, your travel benefits, including any top up coverage, will not be impacted. In the event you are unable to return to Canada as planned, due to a quarantine or flight cancellations, we will automatically extend coverage until the quarantine has been lifted and you can return home.

COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions: Travel
  • I’m going to be travelling outside Canada. Will I have emergency medical coverage?

    Individual Plans:

    Our Daily Travel Plan and VIP Travel Optional Benefits under our Blue Choice and Conversion Plans contain an exclusion for any expenses incurred in a country, region or city where a travel warning of ‘Avoid non-essential travel’ or ‘Avoid all travel’ was in place prior to the date of departure. On March 13, 2020, the Government of Canada issued a global travel advisory to avoid non-essential travel outside Canada until further notice. As a result, you will not have emergency medical coverage if you leave Canada at this time.

    Group/Employer Plans & International Student Travel Plans:

    While our standard Outside Province of Residence Travel Benefits under our Group Plans and International Student Travel Plan do not include an exclusion in relation to travel warnings, we would recommend adherence to such advice, including reconsideration of your travel plans, in order to protect the health of travelers and the Canadian public.

  • What should I do if I become ill while travelling?

    Contact our Travel Assistance Provider using the phone numbers below within 24 hours of your medical emergency to open a case.  

    • Toll-Free within North America 1-866-330-3633 (if unavailable, please call the number below)
    • Collect in all other locations 1-306-667-5299

    For more information on what to do if you experience a medical emergency while travelling visit the CanAssistance website.

  • What happens if I am quarantined at my travel destination?

    In the event you are unable to return to Canada due to quarantine or cancelled flights in relation to COVID-19, and your travel destination did not have a travel warning of ‘Avoid non-essential travel’ or ‘Avoid all travel’ prior to departure, your coverage will be automatically extended (free of charge) until the quarantine has been lifted and you are able to return home.

  • I’m planning to go on a cruise. Will I have emergency medical coverage?

    Individual Plans:

    On March 9, 2020, the Government of Canada advised Canadians to avoid all cruise travel due to coronavirus (COVID-19) until further notice. Our Daily Travel Plan and VIP Travel Optional Benefits under our Blue Choice and Conversion Plans contain an exclusion for any expenses incurred in a country, region or city where a travel warning of ‘Avoid non-essential travel’ or ‘Avoid all travel’ was in place prior to the date of departure. Saskatchewan Blue Cross considers all cruise ships to be in regions with a travel advisory of ‘Avoid all travel’ and therefore you will have no emergency medical coverage if you embark on a cruise at this time. 

    Group/Employer Plans & International Student Travel Plans:

    On March 9, 2020, the Government of Canada advised Canadians to avoid all travel on cruise ships due to coronavirus (COVID-19) until further notice. While our standard Outside Province of Residence Travel Benefits under our Group Plans and International Student Travel Plan do not include an exclusion in relation to travel warnings, we would recommend adherence to such advice, including reconsideration of your travel plans.

  • I’m currently travelling outside Canada and would like to extend my trip. Can I purchase additional coverage?

    Due to the current Government of Canada global travel advisory to avoid non-essential travel outside Canada, additional travel coverage cannot be purchased at this time.

  • Am I covered by trip cancellation insurance?

    Saskatchewan Blue Cross travel plans do not currently include trip cancellation insurance.

  • I'm a truck driver. Do I still have emergency medical coverage while working across the border?

    Emergency medical coverage will not be impacted for persons who are traveling for essential business purposes*. The commercial trucking industry and truck drivers are deemed essential to bringing goods and supplies across our borders and are a prime example of essential travel. Therefore, their coverage would not be impacted.  

    *As of March 13, 2020, the Government of Canada issued a global travel advisory to avoid non-essential travel outside Canada until further notice. Our Daily Travel Plans and optional VIP Travel Benefits under our Blue Choice and Conversion Plans contain an exclusion for any expenses incurred in a country, region or city where a travel warning of ‘avoid non-essential travel’ or ‘avoid all travel’ is in place prior to the date of departure. As a result, most travelers will not have emergency medical coverage under these plans if they leave Canada for non-essential travel.

    

COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions: Disability
  • What is the expected time frame for COVID-19 claims approval?

    We will do our best to maintain SBC’s disability claims service standards of up to 8 days to review a STD claim.  Based on usual claim volumes our normal service is at 3 to 5 business days.  We monitor our claims volumes regularly and will do our best to stay within these service standards. 

  • What is the expected time frame for COVID-19 claims payments?

    Once a claim approval decision is made an electronic funds transfer payment (EFT) can be seen in a customer’s bank account with 5 business days.  We would encourage all customers during this time to have their payments made through EFT.  If a cheque is sent then we cannot guarantee the 5 business days.  We continually monitor our volumes and will do our best to maintain this same great service. 

  • Is the claim date the day the employee completes the form or can it be retroactive to the date the symptoms/exposure date?

    When reviewing a claim SBC must determine a date of disability, a number of factors go into establishing this date.  We must consider the last day's work, date first symptoms appeared, the first day of missing work, date advised by medical staff to quarantine and there are others.  We will establish the date of disability based on the information we receive at the time of the claim.

  • Will the employer be notified of any claims submitted and if they have created exposure in the work place?

    Saskatchewan Blue Cross has to ensure the privacy of all our customers, we will not be able to share any confidential medical information.  Employers will be notified of claims decisions based as we would do during our normal process.

  • Is there anything in our Group Insurance Contract that would deter us from paying a top up if an employee is off on STD for COVID-19 reasons?

    The contract does allow employers to pay a top up for STD benefits.  Please let SBC know if you are paying and what you are paying at the time of claim in order to prevent double payments from occurring. 

  • As part of my regular job I am required to cross the border into the US; will I still have coverage?

    Yes, you will still have coverage for Short Term and Long Term disability benefits.

  • We have an employee that returned from the United States or any foreign country and who will self quarantine.  Will she need to use her sick days through her employer or will she immediately be eligible for Short Term Disability?

    We would encourage all employers to develop their own policies and procedures on how you support your employees.  Saskatchewan Blue Cross is monitoring the situation closely and things are changing daily.  Short Term Disability Claims are eligible based on the definition of total disability and an employee's inability to perform the duties of their own job.  Some quarantines may be covered and some may not dependent on a positive COVID-19 test result.  We are committed to ensuring the health and safety of your employees while balancing the financial integrity of your group insurance plan.  We are reviewing each case carefully and making the decision based on the information we have received.

  • What should we as employers be communicating to our employees who have self-quarantined because of COVID-19?

    We would encourage all employers to develop their own policies and procedures on how to support your employees. See the question above for further details.