Be a well-prepared traveller, whether you are planning a holiday with your family or a trip for business. Prepare for your trip by reviewing the following tips and guidelines so that you know what to do if medical situations arise when you’re abroad.
Review our Preparing for Travel checklist for easy reference.
Before your trip
Pack your health insurance information. This should include your:
- Sun Life coverage card available from mysunlife.ca or my Sun Life mobile app,
- BC Services Card as proof of your MSP enrolment,
- Medi-Passport information,
- emergency help numbers, and
- family doctor’s contact information.
Review your benefits coverage. We’ve summarized the highlights of your UBC benefits coverage, and you should also refer to the Sun Life benefit booklet for your employee group. Your travel benefits coverage falls under the Extended Health Plan and your lifetime maximum under this Plan is $2,000,000 per person. To learn what the Extended Health Plan balance is for you and/or each of your covered dependents, contact Sun Life at 1-800-361-6212 or 1-800-661-7334.
UBC is able to provide information about your coverage through the UBC group plans while travelling outside of BC; however, the decision to purchase additional medical or other insurance is yours to make. If you speak with your travel agent or insurance broker about additional coverage while travelling, have them refer to the Sun Life benefit booklet for your employee group. Note that coverage and exclusions and limitations vary across plans so it is important you read and understand your benefit coverage and conditions.
Fill your prescriptions if you take any medication on an ongoing basis. For a single purchase, you will be reimbursed for a 34-day supply and for maintenance drugs, you will be reimbursed for a 100-day supply. If you will be out of BC or Canada for a longer period of time and require more than a 34-day supply (or 100-day supply for maintenance drugs), pay the entire cost of the prescription at the pharmacy and then make an extended health claim to Sun Life at the end of each 34- or 100-day period. You must submit the same receipt at the end of each period to be reimbursed for your 34-day or 100-day supply (be sure to make a copy of the original receipt before you send your first claim).
- Note: If you purchase prescription drugs while outside the country, you can submit these expenses for reimbursement using a paper claim form when you return. The receipt must be in English and converted to Canadian dollars. While prescription drugs can be reimbursed, any doctor’s fees to write the prescription will not. Doctor’s fees are only covered in the event of an unexpected medical emergency. Going to a doctor to obtain a prescription for any medication you are taking on an ongoing basis is not considered a medical emergency.
Talk to your doctor if you have a medical condition and wish to travel. If you want to clarify your coverage while travelling outside of BC or Canada, contact Sun Life directly at 1-800-361-6212 or 1-800-661-7334 or send a secure e-mail via mysunlife.ca.
- If you have a pre-existing medical condition, you will be covered for emergency medical expenses related to that condition if it was stable and controlled at the time of departure from Canada and your doctor has cleared travel. It is strongly recommended you obtain a letter from your doctor clearing travel or request a note to your file.
- If you are pregnant, talk to your doctor to get approval for travel before your 36th week of pregnancy. As long as your doctor has approved your travel, you will be covered for emergency medical expenses related to pregnancy or childbirth up your 36th week of pregnancy. Beyond the 36th week of pregnancy, you will not be covered because Sun Life would not consider a birth sudden or unforeseen beyond this time. You are not covered for regular prenatal check-ups (even if received before your 36th week) or for travelling to another province or country with the intention to give birth.
Contact the BC Medical Services Plan (MSP) if you are going to be absent from BC for more than six months of a calendar year. MSP will allow:
- a total absence of seven months per calendar year for vacation purposes under certain conditions and
- with approval, temporary extended absences of up to 24 months once in a 60-month period for work or vacation.
Learn more about temporary absences from BC.
Provide your family members and travelling companions with details of your health insurance. Visit mysunlife.ca or my Sun Life mobile app to get extra Travel Cards, which contain vital contact information for Global Excel Management, the 24-hour emergency travel assistance service provider that you or the person you will travelling with will need to call if there is a medical emergency.
Check the travel report and health notices for your destination and all the points you will be visiting in-between. You will want to look at:
- Travel Advisories from the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) and
- Travel Health Notices from the Public Health Agency of Canada.
Learn more about Travel Advisories.
Determine if you need immunizations and/or are required to carry vaccination certificates when travelling to specific countries or areas.
Review the UBC Travel Policy. If you are travelling for work, review Policy FM8 – Business Expenses (formerly Policy #83) and note the exclusions that apply to the Accidental Death and Dismemberment business travel insurance plan.
Review WorkSafe BC Coverage. UBC faculty and staff who will be working outside of BC should contact Aidan Gregory firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Explore other travel-related information. The following web sites are a useful resource:
- Travel Benefit & Medi-Passport Brochure
- Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT)
- Useful Traveller Checklist from the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT)
- Well On Your Way – Canadian Guide to Healthy Travel Abroad from the Public Health Agency of Canada
During your trip
Carry your Sun Life coverage card and BC Services Card, along with the your Travel Card that contains Global Excel Management phone number, in your wallet at all times.
If you’re heading out to do field research or travelling to a venue for work, remember to review the WorkSafe BC guidelines and determine what safety precautions you may need to take.
If your travel destination becomes unsafe during your visit, check the national travel advisories for information on whether to stay or leave. In some cases, if you choose to stay, you may not be covered by UBC benefits.
Bookmark our What To Do in Emergency Medical Situations webpage – you never know when you’ll need it.
In the event of a medical emergency
If you experience a medical emergency, contact Global Excel Management (Sun Life’s travel benefits provider). Once you make contact with Global Excel Management, they will manage your case and where possible, will assume all of the expenses directly.
Physicians and hospitals can also call to confirm benefits and arrange direct payment.
Global Excel Management's operations centre is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
In the USA and Canada, call: 1-800-511-4610
Elsewhere, call: 1-519-514-0351 (call collect through an international operator)
Learn more about Emergency Medical Coverage.
Keep records of your expenses
Keep all out-of-pocket records of expenses for medical services or supplies. You will need these receipts for claim reimbursement after you return from your trip.
If you did not contact Global Excel Management before seeking treatment, you are responsible for any expenses required in order to submit the claim. These include fees for obtaining medical records, translating receipts into English, etc.
After your trip
Welcome home! If you had a medical emergency during your travels and paid out-of-pocket for services or supplies, you may be reimbursed for these expenses if Global Excel Management can confirm the circumstances of your emergency.
How to submit a claim for an emergency or non-emergency medical expense
Please see the Claims section for information on how to submit claims for emergency and non-emergency medical expenses you paid for while travelling outside of BC or Canada.
How to submit a claim for dental expenses
Please see the Claims section for information on how to submit claims for emergency and non-emergency dental expenses you paid for while travelling outside of BC or Canada.