COVID-19 & Your Benefits

Travel Insurance Update

Although the Government of Canada is still advising against non-essential travel at this time, we recognize that you may require out-of-country medical coverage for essential travel. We have opened the sale of our Annual and Individual Travel Plans to help protect you at this time. Please read the details below for more information on travel and travel plan coverage during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Please Note: As of January 7, 2021, the Canadian government requires all travellers five years of age and older to provide a mandatory negative result from a recent COVID-19 test prior to boarding a flight to Canada. 

Contact Us
  • When will Saskatchewan Blue Cross be open to the public?

    The health and safety of our members, employees, and communities remains our top priority.

    To do our part in limiting the spread of COVID-19 and due to decreased demand, Saskatchewan Blue Cross will be temporarily closing both our Saskatoon and Regina offices to walk-in traffic.

    Thank you for your understanding! We look forward to welcoming customers back to our offices when it’s safe to do so.

  • 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?
  • 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?

    To do our part in limiting the spread of COVID-19 and due to decreased demand, Saskatchewan Blue Cross will be temporarily closing both our Saskatoon and Regina offices to walk-in traffic.

    Thank you for your understanding! We look forward to welcoming customers back to our offices when it’s safe to do so.

    Our contact centre has remained open to serve you and members 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 members can submit them by mail or online. Please see the above question for more information on submitting a claim. 

    We 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.
     

    

Travel

Please Note: Daily Travel and International Student Travel Plans are no longer available for purchase following the introduction of the Annual and Individual Travel Plans. For more information, please contact us

Important: The coverage for our Annual and Individual Travel Plans is different from VIP Travel or Group/Employer coverage. Please be sure to refer to the appropriate section to make sure you are getting the correct information.   

  • Does Saskatchewan Blue Cross travel insurance cover COVID-19 related illnesses?

    Yes, the Emergency Medical Care benefits provided under all our standard travel insurance solutions provide coverage for COVID-19 related care at destination, provided the covered traveler has not tested positive or experienced symptoms of the virus in the 90 days prior to their departure. This includes our Annual and Individual Travel Plans, the optional VIP Travel Benefits under our Personal Health Plans, and the Outside Province of Residence Travel Benefits under our Group Benefit Plans. 

  • Does Saskatchewan Blue Cross travel insurance exclude specific destinations from COVID-19 coverage?

    No, specific destinations are not excluded from COVID-19 coverage at this time. 

  • Is the level of coverage sufficient to cover the treatment of COVID-19 in a foreign hospital?

    The Emergency Medical Care benefits provided under all of our standard travel insurance solutions provide up to $5,000,000 of overall coverage for hospitalization fees, physician and health care professional fees, emergency transportation costs, and more  - COVID-19 related care at destination is included in the overall Emergency Medical Care coverage and is not restricted to a separate maximum or limitation. 

  • Does Saskatchewan Blue Cross travel insurance cover COVID-19 and all other health emergencies?

    Yes, the Emergency Medical Care benefits provided under all our standard travel insurance solutions provide coverage for sudden and unforeseen illnesses or accidents requiring immediate treatment, subject to important policy terms, limitations, and exclusions. We want you to understand (and it is in your best interests to know) what your plan includes, what it excludes, and what is limited (payable but with limits). Please take time to read through your Policy or Benefits Booklet before you travel.

  • Will Saskatchewan Blue Cross travel insurance cover COVID-19 screening tests for governmental entry/exit requirements?

    No, the Emergency Medical Care benefits provided under all our standard travel insurance solutions provide coverage for sudden and unforeseen illnesses or accidents requiring immediate treatment – as COVID-19 screening tests for air travel or government regulation are not required due to illness, costs related to obtaining a PCR test and results abroad are not covered under these benefits. 

  • Will Saskatchewan Blue Cross travel insurance cover a new airline ticket or date change for an existing one if I test positive and have to remain at my destination beyond my planned return date?

    No, our standard travel insurance solutions do not provide coverage for trip interruption benefits of this nature.

  • Will Saskatchewan Blue Cross travel insurance cover meals & accommodations if I test positive and have to remain at my destination beyond my planned return date?

    All our standard travel insurance solutions provide coverage for extra costs of commercial accommodations and meals resulting from a delayed return trip due to a sudden and unforeseen illness or accident requiring immediate treatment.

    If you have been placed in quarantine beyond your planned return date due to a positive COVID-19 screening test for air travel or government regulation, coverage for meals and accommodations is not available. Exceptions may apply if you are travelling as an essential worker or if you were travelling before the Government of Canada implemented the mandatory testing requirements for air travelers returning to Canada effective January 7, 2021 – please contact our Travel Assistance Provider using the phone numbers indicated on your coverage/identification card.

    If you have been placed in quarantine beyond your planned return date due to a positive COVID-19 test, and require immediate treatment for the management of your symptoms and medical condition, coverage for meals and accommodations is available – these benefits are generally limited to a maximum reimbursement, and we recommend you review your Policy or Benefits Booklet for specific policy terms, limitations, and exclusions.

  • Will Saskatchewan Blue Cross travel insurance cover the cost of receiving the COVID-19 vaccine while on a trip?

    No, the Emergency Medical Care benefits provided under all our standard travel insurance solutions provide coverage for sudden and unforeseen illnesses or accidents requiring immediate treatment – the cost of receiving the preventive vaccine would not be covered, as it does not represent urgent medical care following a sudden illness.

  • Will Saskatchewan Blue Cross travel insurance cover any side effects of receiving the COVID-19 vaccine while on a trip?

    Yes, the Emergency Medical Care benefits provided under all our standard travel insurance solutions provide coverage for sudden and unforeseen illnesses or accidents requiring immediate treatment – should you require urgent medical care due to complications or side effects of receiving the vaccine, this would represent a covered medical emergency, subject to all other important policy terms, limitations, and exclusions.

    

Annual and Individual Travel Plans

Click here to download our FAQ for Annual and Individual Travel Plans.

 

VIP Travel Plans & Group/Employer Plans

  • I’m going to be travelling outside Canada. Will I have emergency medical coverage?

    VIP Travel Plans

    As of October 1, 2020*, the VIP Travel Optional Benefits under our Blue Choice and Conversion plans will provide Emergency Medical Care coverage for both domestic and international travel, including for COVID-related care at destination. If you should contract the COVID-19 virus while travelling, the Emergency Medical Care benefits will cover you, provided you have not tested positive for COVID-19 or have shown symptoms of the virus in the 90 days prior to your departure.

    It is important to note that given the magnitude of the crisis, the reduced availability of medical resources around the world and the measures taken by different countries to limit the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, our assistance service is very limited in its ability to assist people in emergency situations abroad.

    All travellers should be aware that there are health risks when you travel. While our coverage will protect you against medical expenses for COVID-19 while travelling internationally, we recommend adhering to advice of the Government of Canada by avoiding non-essential travel outside of Canada in order to protect the health of travellers and the Canadian public.

    Important: The VIP Travel Optional Benefit contains an exclusion for any expenses incurred in a country, region or city where a travel warning of ‘Avoid non-essential travel’ (Level 3) or ‘Avoid all travel’ (Level 4) was in place prior to the date of departure. An exception has been made to this rule in the case of the COVID-19 pandemic only. If there is a Level 3 or 4 warning advising against travel for your destination for any reason other than the COVID-19 pandemic, you will not have emergency medical care coverage when travelling to that destination. Please refer to the Government of Canada’s Travel Advisories page to check advisories for reasons other than COVID-19 for your destination. 

    *Prior to October 1, 2020, the VIP Travel Benefits offered coverage for travel within Canada only.

    Group/Employer Plans:

    While our standard Outside Province of Residence Travel Benefits under our Group Plans do not include an exclusion in relation to travel advisories, and will protect you against medical expenses for COVID-19 while travelling within Canada and internationally, we recommend adhering to advice of the Government of Canada by avoiding non-essential travel outside of Canada in order to protect the health of travellers and the Canadian public.

    If you should contract the COVID-19 virus while travelling, the Emergency Medical Care benefits will cover you provided you have not tested positive for COVID-19 or have shown symptoms of the virus in the 90 days prior to your departure.

    It is important to note that given the magnitude of the crisis, the reduced availability of medical resources around the world, and the measures taken by different countries to limit the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, our assistance service is very limited in its ability to assist people in emergency situations abroad.

  • 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 our Travel Assistance and Claims information.

    Please note that you are not covered for Emergency Medical Care if you have tested positive for COVID-19 or are showing symptoms within 90 days prior to departure.

  • Can I extend my insurance contract if I am unable to return home as planned due to travel restrictions?

    If you must extend your stay due to a situation beyond your control, promptly contact our customer service department at 1-800-667-6853 or 306-244-1192 to find out if you are eligible for a contract extension. Make sure you contact us before the expiry date of your contract. Please note that any request to extend your coverage will be subject to our approval.

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

    In the event you are unable to return to Canada due to quarantine,  we will automatically extend the travel insurance coverage of insured members who are quarantined due to the COVID-19 pandemic and whose contract was in effect on the date the quarantine began.

    We define a quarantine as being the isolation, for a determined period, of a sick or potentially infected individual to limit the transmission of a contagious disease.

    To be considered “in quarantine” you must therefore be:

    • Potentially infected or infected with COVID-19.
    • Placed in isolation for a period determined by the health authorities (often 14 days) in order to protect the health of the population.

    If you are placed in quarantine, your coverage will be extended free of charge until 72 hours after the end of the quarantine or until you return to your province of residence, whichever comes first.

  • I have VIP Travel Benefits as part of my Blue Choice or Conversion personal health plan. Can I switch to an Annual Travel Plan?

    The VIP Travel Benefit is a preferred travel product that is part of our Personal Health Plan options. VIP Travel is a comprehensive product that provides coverage for travel both internationally and within Canada, including coverage for COVID-19. If you have any questions about your coverage, we encourage you to reach out to our office. Our Customer Service Representatives are here to help with any questions you may have and to help you make the right choice for your needs. 

  • 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?

    The commercial trucking industry and truck drivers are deemed essential to bringing goods and supplies across our borders and your emergency medical coverage will not be impacted.

    

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 member’s bank account with 5 business days.  We would encourage all members 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 members, 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.

    

Health
  • 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.  

    • Audiologist 
    • Chiropractor
    • Dietitian 
    • Naturopath 
    • Occupational Therapist 
    • Optometrist
    • Physiotherapist 
    • Psychologist 
    • 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.

Mental Wellness

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. 

Other Resources

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: