We've all heard horror stories of families who have incurred thousands of dollars-worth of medical expenses while on vacation and returned home to find out that they weren't covered because of some limitation or loophole in their travel insurance policy. Well we'd like to help you avoid this!
Employee Benefits programs typically include Travel Insurance as part of your Extended Healthcare benefits. The purpose of the coverage is to protect you and your family from potentially significant medical expenses associated with emergency treatment for injuries or illnesses while travelling outside of your home province.
Travel Insurance is a great feature of your benefits plan, and important coverage to have. But the average plan member doesn’t always read the fine print.
Here are some common coverage limitations that you need to be aware of before you travel:
In recent years, many of the group insurance policies in the industry have been changed to include a stability clause. A stability clause states that coverage will not be available to plan members who have had a change in health within a specified period of time leading up to the trip (typically 3 months). So, for anyone who has had a recent change in health, been prescribed medication, or has had a change in dosage of an existing medication, coverage is not necessarily guaranteed.
Most group travel insurance policies provide coverage for trips between 60 – 180 days in length. It’s important for you to know what you’re covered for. Often times, coverage reduces for older employees. For example, The Chambers of Commerce Group Insurance Plan offers coverage for trips up to 180 days in length for individuals under the age of 65. Once you turn 65, coverage is reduced to 90 days.
FULL TIME EMPLOYMENT
In order to continue to be eligible for coverage through your workplace employee benefits program, you will often need to continue to work full time (ie. 20 hours per week). If you no longer work full time but remain on the plan, you could encounter problems at claim time. This situation has become common amongst company owners who are still somewhat involved in their business but no longer meet the group insurance eligibility criteria, possibly due to Winters spent down South.
Here are some tips to help you confirm that your coverage is in good standing, before your travel.
1) Contact your insurance provider. Speaking with their claims department, you will be able to get the confirmation you need to feel comfortable with your travel insurance policy.
2) Read the fine print. Know your policy details before you travel, not after. This can help you verify that you meet the coverage eligibility criteria.
3) Contact your advisor. Your insurance advisor Is well versed in policy wording and knows the common coverage limitations that may affect you.
4) Purchase top up insurance. If you are concerned that your group insurance policy doesn’t cover your needs, you can always buy additional coverage tailored to suit your situation.