News March 6, 2020

COVID-19 Travel Advisory Update

Saskatchewan Blue Cross and Travel Advisories

The outbreak of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) was declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on January 30th, 2020. Although the Public Health Agency of Canada has assessed the public health risk associated with COVID-19 as low for Canada, Canadians traveling abroad should be aware of travel advisories concerning COVID-19.

Travel Advice and Advisories

If you are planning a trip, is it always important to stay up to date on travel advice and advisories. These provide Canadians with official information and advice from the Government of Canada on situations that may affect their safety and well-being abroad. According to the Government of Canada, a travel advisory is issued for the following reasons: the threat of terrorism, civil unrest, war, rebellion, a natural disaster, political instability, and health emergencies.

The purpose of travel advisories is to help Canadians make informed decisions in order to minimize risk while travelling abroad. These travel advisories are kept up to date by the Global Affairs Canada Travel Information Program team. This team develops and maintains travel advisories by collecting continuous reports on safety and security abroad.

Although the Government of Canada provides information on travel advisories, the decision to travel is the responsibility of the individual. If you want to keep up to date on Government of Canada travel advisories, you can subscribe for updates here.

How do travel advisories impact my Saskatchewan Blue Cross travel insurance coverage?

The Government of Canada classes Risk Levels and Travel Advisories in four stages. Level one and two advisories have no effect on travel insurance coverage; however, if the Canadian government recommends avoiding non-essential or all travel for the region or country you plan on visiting, your insurance coverage may not be valid. Further details are indicated below:

1.    Daily Travel Plans and optional VIP Travel Benefits

If a country, region, or territory is issued a  level 3 (avoid non-essential travel) or level 4 (avoid all travel) travel warning prior to your trip departure, emergency medical care will not be covered at these destinations.

We advise that you check the Government of Canada travel advice and advisories webpage twice: once before you book your trip, and again near your departure date. This will ensure you are up to date on the current information regarding your travel destination.

If you have questions regarding your policy or exclusions, please contact us for assistance.

2.    Group / Employer Plan Travel Benefits and International Student Travel Plans

Most employer-sponsored travel benefits and International Student Travel Plans have no coverage exclusions for travel advisories, which means the current travel advisories will not affect your coverage. All travelers should be aware that there are health risks when you travel, and we advocate adherence to such advice, including reconsideration of travel plans to any destination with one of these warnings, or to a destination that is being closely monitored in relation to COVID-19. Your consideration and adherence to travel advisories help to protect the health of travelers and the Canadian public.

As coverage and exclusions vary across these types of plans, we recommend you review your member benefits booklet and take note of the plan and travel benefit exclusions. If you need help verifying this information or if there is anything for which you require clarification, contact us.

More Information

For other travel tips and information, please read more here. If you need any assistance or clarification on your policy coverage, please contact us at 1.800.USEBLUE® for assistance.