The fun and excitement of travel are usually the first things we think of when someone is planning a trip. However, preparing for the unexpected is not necessarily top of mind. But the reality is that accidents and illness can happen anywhere, not just at home! Whether you or your employee is off on vacation for the trip of your dreams or headed out of province for work, Out-of-Country, Out-of-Province, and Emergency Travel Assistance are the benefits that are designed to protect you. This coverage is all about protection in case of an unexpected illness, accident, or a medical emergency. Here are a few tips to make sure you and your employees are protected while traveling.
Travel insurance through your group benefits
Did you know that the travel insurance component of your group benefit plan is typically outsourced by insurance carriers? They use a separate provider for the travel benefit that’s built-in to your group plan. The travel benefit typically includes 100% coverage for emergency medical expenses outside the employee’s home province. Maximums range from $1,000,000 to unlimited, depending on the carrier. Dependants on an employee’s plan are also eligible for this benefit.
Check the Definitions
As with almost everything in a group benefits plan, travel benefits vary by insurance carrier. This is managed primarily through key definitions associated with the benefit which outline what is and is not covered. It’s important to read the fine print and be clear on what is included (or not). One of the best examples of this would be the common exclusion of pre-existing conditions in the medical emergency travel benefit. If you have a known and pre-existing medical diagnosis, your condition may not be eligible for a claim related to it while travelling away from home.
Review the Stability Clause
Many group benefit contracts also have a stability clause, where a condition that was not “stable” prior to traveling may not be covered. For example, seeing a doctor for a specific condition, receiving a diagnosis, or even changing your medication – these actions can activate a stability clause and therefore be excluded from coverage. Your group benefits contract and/or booklet will state if there is a specific amount of time that needs to have passed before travelling where a person’s health condition was completely stable. The standard is often 90 days, but this differs depending on the group plan and/or carrier. Carriers continue to tighten definitions around existing medical conditions so carefully reviewing the benefits booklet is essential. Which brings us to our next tip…
Educate Your Employees
Being familiar with the definitions and clauses around the medical emergency travel benefit is critical because these clauses can be so nuanced. And even more important is making sure your employees have a full understanding of what is covered. The unfortunate reality is that claims can be declined because a person did not know that their pre-existing condition wouldn’t be covered. Even definitions around how many weeks someone is into pregnancy are often included by the carrier. The cost for out-of-country emergency medical care can be upwards into the thousands. Help protect your people from catastrophic loss on their next trip.
Get in touch with us to review your medical emergency travel benefit and get familiar with the clauses and definitions.