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Out of Country Coverage and Covid, are you covered?


I don’t actually feel this way… well maybe some days.  I thought it was funny and a sense of humour goes a long way right now.

I am back from my vacation, where I spent the majority of my time trying to learn a new kite move.  The result so far is multiple face slaps in the water and I feel that I am no closer to the new move.  I am determined, hopefully my face will survive. 🙂

Down to business, Out of Country Coverage and Covid-19, are you covered?  If you are purchasing Out of Country privately, there are a couple options out there:

  • Met Life and Empire Life have teamed up to provide coverage for people travelling out of country on business .  You can do multiple trips throughout the year and there is a $300,000 benefit for Covid related illnesses.
  • A client of mine introduced me to Medipac, they don’t work with Brokers, so I have no idea who they are or their reputation for paying claims.  I called them directly and they said they would cover Covid-19.  I would read the contract carefully to ensure there isn’t a hidden exclusion.
  • I have contacted Manulife, Allianz and Tugo, which provide Individual Travel Insurance and they are not offering coverage for Covid-19.

Group Benefits

The Group Benefit Carriers seems to be operating under a different directives.  Please make sure you find the company you are insured with, since there are deviations in how Carriers are handling Covid coverage.  There were a few Insurance Companies that did not respond in time for my Blog, so if they aren’t here please contact them and get the answer in writing.

Below is the following that I have received from each of the Insurance Companies regarding Out of Country and Covid:

Empire Life

The Group Travel Emergency Assistance Program has no specific exclusions related to government travel advisories or COVID-19, therefore standard policy limitations and exclusions would apply. This coverage is for medical emergencies only. 

As you mentioned, although this travel insurance applies globally, it is recommended to check the government of Canada’s travel advisories before departure, please visit

There is a stability clause that restricts coverage for medical care related to changes in an insured individual’s health in the 90 days prior to travel.  This could include but is not limited to a change in their medication, the diagnosis of a new condition, or an emergent visit to a hospital. Anything related to changes in their health within 90 days of departure would not be considered sudden and unforeseen, and thus would not be eligible for coverage.

It is not necessary to advise us of dates of travel prior to departing. If insured individuals find themselves requiring emergent medical attention abroad, they simply call the number for Allianz Global Assistance that can be found in the centre of the benefits card as soon as possible, and they will assist with the claim.”

Benefits By Design

“Green Shield Canada (GSC) has announced a significant update to their travel coverage which affects your Travel Insurance.

What is changing? For the period of August 15, 2020, through June 30, 2021, all standard GSC travel plans will include
coverage for emergency medical expenses related to COVID-19, up to the existing maximums of each plan.

If your plan has out-of-country travel coverage under a pure ASO funding arrangement or you have an outof-country pooling limit, GSC is also extending the COVID-19 coverage to their plan.”

Canada Life – Previously called Great West Life

“Our Out of Country is not affected by COVID-19 and we will cover emergency medical needs as usual.

The only thing that is outside of our control is that:

  1. If the county the client is visiting has limited medical capacity (i.e. all beds are occupied by COVID patients), then we may not be able to assist them to find a proper medical care at their location.
  2. If the client cannot leave the county due to Covid lock-down etc., then their coverage will not be in effect after 60 days. We will not be able to extend the 60day per trip clause in such scenario.


“Head – Office confirmed as per below;

  • Out of country is limited to emergency medical care as a result of a sudden and unexpected injury or when a sudden, unexpected illness or acute episode of a disease occurs that could not have been reasonably anticipated based on the plan member or dependent’s prior medical condition.
  • This coverage is unchanged and subject to the normal plan provisions.  However; due to the current health pandemic, any expenses related to COVID-19 ‘will not’ be covered, as this would not be considered unexpected.”

Pacific First – Lions Gate Travel

“For any clients that hold a Lions Gate Travel Policy, other than for COVID-19 coverage would respond in the normal manner when travelling within Canada.

COVID-19 is not a covered condition due to no longer being “unforeseeable or unexpected”.

It has been recommended to us and to everyone to  adhere to the advice of government health officials with avoiding all non-essential travel. This includes travelling to other communities within the province of BC as well as visiting other provinces.″

Sun Life

I can confirm that nothing has changed with regard to our out of country coverage and COVID with the exception of coverage for students studying out of country.

During this time we will treat a medical emergency resulting from COVID-19 in the same way as any other medical emergency out of province/out of Canada.

For emergency medical expenses to be eligible for reimbursement, members must be covered under their plan at the time of the emergency.  They must also incur expenses for “emergency services”.   An “emergency” and “emergency services”  is defined as follows:

  • Emergency – an acute illness or accidental injury that requires immediate, medically necessary treatment prescribed by a doctor.
  • Emergency services – any reasonable medical services or supplies, including advice, treatment, medical procedures or surgery, required as a result of an emergency. When a person has a chronic condition, emergency services do not include treatment provided as part of an established treatment program that existed before they left their home province.

I have attached a plan sponsor FAQ and plan member communication on our out of country services outside of Canada during COVID-19.

We are currently honouring any extensions for students currently outside of Canada. Students who have not yet left the country are covered for the trip duration described in the employee booklet until they reach the dependent student age limit.

At this time, due to the Government’s travel advisory limitations, we are not approving any out-of-country coverage extensions.. Once the travel advisory is lifted, extension requests can be submitted using the continuation of group coverage smart form (You can visit the Government of Canada Travel advice and advisory site for the latest updates).

Once the travel advisory is lifted, client’s  can keep a dependent child studying outside of Canada under the plan and extend Out of Canada coverage up to a maximum of 10 months. In order to extend coverage, the dependent student must be studying full time, meet the eligibility requirements of a full-time student under the plan and have their provincial health coverage extended while studying abroad.

Please note that if the child is studying in the U.S.A. , our Canadian plan with out-of-country coverage and emergency travel assistance do not meet the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act requirements for coverage and we strongly recommend parents to purchase locally provided coverage available through the school

If you would like to work with a Broker who does the research, contact Glendinning Insurance Services.

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