The outbreak of Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) was declared a pandemic of global concern on March 11th, 2020. We are closely monitoring the situation to provide you with up to date information regarding your benefits as well as provide information to help you navigate this challenging time.
Saskatchewan Blue Cross is taking measures to attend to the health and well-being of our employees, our members, our customers, and our communities. We’re committed to serving you in your time of need. We’re here for you. Please see below a series of frequently asked questions regarding COVID-19 and your benefits.
Last updated Apr 9, 2020
Dear valued community,
As the situation around Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to evolve, I’m reaching out to remind you that we’re here to help you make sense of everything and to reassure you that we’re taking added precautions to ensure we continue to meet everyone’s needs even in times of disruption. As always, SBC is focused on the wellbeing of our employees, our members, our customers and our communities. With strong local roots, we have demonstrated an unyielding commitment to stand with our members and communities for almost eight decades — and today is no different...
COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions:
What is the best way to get in contact with us?
We're here and ready to help over the phone and online.
- Call Centre: You can continue to reach us Monday to Friday 8:30am to 5:00pm at 306.244.1192 or 1.800.667.6853. Our team is happy to work with you to answer any questions or concerns in your time of need.
- Online Inquires: Get in contact with us using our Contact Us form on our website. To submit a claim, please use the Submit a Claim webpage.
How do I submit a claim?
- Personal Health Plan Claims: You can continue to mail your claim in or you can use the online Submit a Claim Form. Please note you will need an electronic version of your claim receipts.
- Group/ Employer Plan Claims: There are three easy ways to submit your claim. Log in to the Group Member portal, download the app or use the online Submit a Claim Form.
- For more information on how to submit a claim please visit our Submit a Claim webpage.
How can I receive my money from my claim reimbursement faster?
If you would like the option to receive your claim reimbursement faster and directly into your account, we encourage you to sign up for direct deposit.
How have Saskatchewan Blue Cross’ operations been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
As of March 16th, 2020, we’ve temporarily closed our offices to walk-in traffic to protect our customers, employees, and community members. Although we are closed to the public, we are still here to serve you in your time of need. While that may include working remotely, we do not expect any disruption in service and are ready to provide members and customers the help they need.
Our contact centre will remain open to serve you and customers can continue to reach us at 306.244.1192 or 1.800.667.6853, or email using our Contact us Form. Claims will continue to be processed and customers can submit them by mail or online. Please see the above question for more information on submitting a claim.
We also encourage you to follow our social media channels and visit our website regularly if you want to stay up to date about your plans and coverage.
I’m going to be travelling outside Canada. Will I have emergency medical coverage?
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.
I have purchased a Daily Travel Plan, but have since cancelled my trip. Will I receive a refund for my purchase?
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.
I would like to purchase a Daily Travel Plan. Can I still purchase travel coverage?
Due to the global travel advisory, our Daily Travel Plan coverage is not available to purchase at this time, including any top-up, extensions or International Student Plans. 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.
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?
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.
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.
Do you cover virtual services provided by my healthcare practitioner?
Many health professionals are now offering virtual services to continue to meet their customers’ needs. If your plan covers the medical practitioners listed below*, we will accept claims for virtual assessments or therapies performed, provided they are a licensed and approved provider where you reside. These claims can be submitted the same way as conventional in-person treatments and will be reviewed according to the rules of your plan.
- Occupational Therapist
- Social Worker
- Speech-Language Pathologist
*Please note: This list is dynamic and may change as we continue to evaluate other health professionals considering virtual health services. Please check back for updates.
For professions where conventional in-person assessments or therapies are more essential, such as where direct physical interventions or treatments may be required, most clinics and offices remain accessible on an urgent (emergency) basis.
We're here for you. We know that this has been a challenging time for so many Canadians, and that the stress and uncertainty of a global pandemic can have a major impact on mental health.
We've joined as a sponsor of Stronger Minds by BEACON® to help provide mental health guidance and emotional support, available to all Canadians. Learn more about the free digital program here.
We understand during uncertain and challenging times our mental wellness can be impacted. We encourage anyone experiencing severe stress, anxiety or depression during this time to seek local counseling support programs and services provided by the province.
- Visit www.worksafesask.ca for tools and tips to manage your mental health through COVID-19 or call the Healthline-811 for support services in your area.
- If your plan includes access to an Employee and Family Assistance Program, remember that these services and resources are available to you, whenever and wherever they need it.
- To help navigate this stressful time, we have put together a few blog posts relating to COVID-19 and wellness. Read our blog for tips on how to take care of yourself during these stressful and uncertain times.
Additional Resources Relating to COVID-19
Please see the below resources for up to date information regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Call the Healthline-811 if you are experiencing physical symptoms and need medical advice on next steps.
- Click here for tips on protecting yourself and your family and the latest information about the virus in Saskatchewan.
- Visit the Government of Canada website for up to date information about how COVID-19 is affecting Canada.
- Click here if your employment situation has changed.
As a result of COVID-19, there have been an increase of online and phone scams. We want to help you protect yourself and your personal information. For more information please see the following resources: