If you are travelling for leisure or work outside of BC or Canada and you seek medical assistance, your emergency medical expenses for physician and hospital services may be covered by the BC Medical Services Plan and, if you are enrolled, your UBC Extended Health Plan.
For information on Out-of-Country Emergency Medical Coverage and COVID-19, please visit the Benefits While Traveling page.
The coverage provided by the BC Medical Services Plan is limited to covering physician and hospital services in the event of a medical emergency only. The coverage provided by the UBC Extended Health Plan supplements the costs covered by the MSP for your emergency care, and will also pay for the costs of ambulance services and some of your non-emergency medical services outside of BC or Canada. Your dependent family members are also covered if they are enrolled in the Extended Health Plan.
You should be aware of the limitations and exclusions of your coverage before you travel. Please review the Sun Life Extended Health booklet for your employee group before you travel outside of the province.
Depending on your situation, you may want to purchase additional travel medical insurance.
If you are travelling for work and you are injured or become ill while working, your medical expenses may be covered by WorkSafeBC. Any workplace-related injury or illness must be reported to Workplace Health Services within 24 hours.
Am I covered for medical expenses for when travelling outside of BC?
Yes, and coverage will depend on the expense.
BC Medical Services Plan
Your BC Medical Services Plan (MSP) will cover some medical expenses incurred outside BC or Canada in the event of an emergency only. You will be reimbursed for expenses that are typically covered by the MSP (such as physician and hospital services) in the event of an emergency only, if incurred outside of BC or Canada.
MSP will cover the cost of what the service or expense would normally cost in BC and considered the first payor. If you are also enrolled for the UBC Extended Health, this Plan will be the second payor. You will be reimbursed for 100% of the emergency medical expenses, less the annual deductible, up to your overall extended health lifetime maximum of $2,000,000. Only one claim form is required as the claim will be coordinated with MSP.
You must maintain your MSP coverage while temporarily outside BC. If you will be absent from BC for six months or more in a calendar year, contact Health Insurance BC to confirm continued eligibility.
Extended Health Plan
If you are enrolled in the UBC Extended Health Plan, expenses incurred outside BC or Canada that are typically covered by UBC’s Extended Health Plan (such as ambulance services, prescription drugs, medical equipment and supplies, vision care and paramedical services obtained from qualified practitioners in Canada and the United States only) are also covered in the event of a medical emergency and non-emergency, subject to the conditions outlined in your plan and the overall extended health lifetime maximum of $2,000,000. Payment for these expenses will be limited to the reasonable & customary charge within BC, and in Canadian funds.
It’s a good idea to also review what costs are not covered.
If you are faced with a medical emergency when traveling outside of your home province, your Medi-Passport supplements the emergency portion of your Extended Health Care. Medi-Passport coverage is provided through Allianz Global Assistance, Sun Life’s travel benefit provider.
See the Emergency Medical Coverage page for more information.
Employee and Family Assistance Program
The Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) provides confidential, self-referred counselling or other assistance to you or your family members. While travelling outside BC or Canada, you can arrange for telephone, email, chat (text-based) or video counselling through the EFAP services provided by Morneau Shepell.
If you are travelling on UBC work-related business outside of BC and you are injured or become ill as a result of your work requirements, your health-care expenses may be covered by WorkSafe BC.
For how long am I covered?
Coverage is provided for a period of 365 days of absence per trip. If you are hospitalized during this period as a result of a medical emergency, in-patient services are covered for up to 90 days.
If you will be absent from BC for six months or more in a calendar year, contact Health Insurance BC to confirm continued MSP eligibility. There is no need to contact Sun Life for Extended Health/Dental.
What if I have a pre-existing medical condition? Am I still covered?
Yes, if the pre-existing medical condition was stable and controlled at the time of departure from Canada and your doctor has stated that you are cleared to travel. It is strongly recommended you obtain a letter from your doctor clearing travel or request a note to your file.
If I’m pregnant or am the pregnant spouse of a UBC employee, am I still covered?
You are only covered for emergency services related to a pregnancy up to your 36th week of pregnancy. After 36 weeks, you will not be covered for emergency services because Sun Life would not consider the birth to be sudden or unforeseen after this point.
If you give birth prematurely up to and including your 36th week, medical expenses for the birth mother and newborn are covered while outside BC and Canada.
Regular prenatal check-ups (outside of BC) while you are pregnant are not covered, even if received before your 36th week of pregnancy. Travelling to another province or country with the intention to give birth is also not covered.
What medical expenses will not be reimbursed?
Not all medical expenses will be reimbursed. Before you leave BC or Canada, it is your responsibility to know whether you are covered for the costs of a medical emergency or non-emergency situation. You are responsible for understanding any conditions and limits that apply, including conditions and limits of other coverage you may have through a spouse’s plan, a credit card or purchased privately and not outlined on this website.
For complete details about the specific provisions of your plan, refer to the Sun Life Extended Health booklet for your employee group.
The following provides highlights of those exclusions that may apply while travelling for work or leisure. Please see the appropriate links for further information.
Extended Health and Dental Plan
Any expenses related to the following situations are not covered:
- trip cancellation (even if the reason for the cancellation is medically related), trip delay or lost luggage;
- services that are not immediately required or that could reasonably be delayed until you return to BC, unless your medical condition reasonably prevents you from returning to BC before receiving the medical services;
- services relating to an illness or injury that caused the emergency, after such emergency ends;
- continuing services, arising directly or indirectly out of the original emergency or any recurrence of it, after the date that Sun Life or Allianz Global Assistance, based on available medical evidence, determines that you can be returned to the province where you live and you refuse to return;
- services that are required for the same illness or injury for which you received emergency services, including any complications arising out of that illness or injury, if you had unreasonably refused or neglected to receive the recommended medical services;
- where the trip was taken to obtain medical services for an illness or injury, services related to that illness or injury, including any complications or any emergency arising directly or indirectly out of that illness or injury;
- illness resulting from the hostile action of any armed forces (military or police), insurrection, riot, civil commotion or terrorist activity that you participated in;
- any work for which you were compensated that was not done for the employer (UBC) as the provider of this plan; and
- Services for an illness or injury caused by your participation in a criminal offence.
Medi-Passport: Emergency travel assistance services
Allianz Global Assistance, Sun Life’s travel assistance provider, will not provide services in the province where you live, or during any trip taken to seek medical attention.
In some situations, you may be required to reimburse Sun Life for expenses paid by Allianz Global Assistance on your behalf. This could include amounts that were paid for services or supplies that are not covered by your plan, exceed the maximum amount of your coverage under your plan, or that you are responsible for, such as deductibles and the percentage of expenses you must pay under your plan.
Allianz Global Assistance reserves the right to suspend, curtail or limit its services in any area, without prior notice due to the following conditions:
- a rebellion, riot, military uprising, war, labour disturbance, strike, nuclear accident or an Act of God; and
- the refusal of the authorities to permit Allianz Global Assistance to fully provide service to the best of its ability during any of the above occurrences.
Due to conditions such as war, political unrest, epidemics and geographical inaccessibility, travel assistance services may not be available in some countries. For an up-to-date list of countries where travel assistance services may not be available, please contact Allianz Global Assistance (1-800-511-4610) before leaving on your trip. If conditions in the country, region, or city you are travelling to change while travelling, contact Allianz Global Assistance to determine if there are any changes to its ability to provide services.
Other excluded benefits
Under your UBC Extended Health Plan, you can only make claims for paramedical services provided in Canada and the United States if the practitioner meets the specific qualifications/designations for their profession and is also licensed/registered with an appropriate regulatory body or society where the service is received.
Optional Accidental Death and Dismemberment benefit claims will not be paid if caused by the following:
- suicide or attempted suicide;
- self-inflicted injury by firearm or otherwise;
- drug overdose;
- carbon monoxide inhalation;
- flying in, descending from, or being exposed to any hazard incident with any kind of aircraft, if you:
- were receiving aeronautical instruction;
- had any duties to perform in connection with the aircraft;
- were being flown for a parachute descent; or,
- were a member of any armed forces and the aircraft was under the control or charter of the forces; or,
- the hostile action of any armed forces, insurrection, or participation in a riot or civil commotion.
Income Replacement Plan/Disability Benefit Plan benefits will not be paid for any total disability resulting from:
- the hostile action of any armed forces, insurrection or participation in a riot or civil commotion;
- intentionally self-inflicted injuries or attempted suicide, while sane or insane;
- participation in a criminal offence.
- bodily injury that are sustained while you are doing any act or thing pertaining to any occupation or employment for wage or profit, outside of your duties and responsibilities with the University.
Allianz Global Assistance: Liability
Neither Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada nor Allianz Global Assistance is responsible for the availability, quality or results of the medical treatment you or your insured dependents receive, nor if you fail to obtain medical treatment.
Any physician or other health-care professional who provides direct services to a covered person will be acting on the person’s behalf only and will not be considered acting on behalf of Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada or Allianz Global Assistance.
Neither Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada nor Allianz Global Assistance assumes any responsibility or liability for:
- any medical advice given by any physician or other health care professional, and
- the negligence or other wrongful acts or omissions of any physician or other health care professional providing services under your plan.
No person will have any recourse against Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada or Allianz Global Assistance because Allianz Global Assistance suggested, or contracted with, a physician or other health-care professional.
Decisions by a physician or other health-care professional as to the need for providing any of the services covered by this benefit are medical decisions based on medical factors, and as such will be conclusive in determining the need for these services.
Are there additional exclusions when I am travelling for work?
UBC faculty and staff should note the following exclusions when travelling for work:
UBC’s accidental death and dismemberment business travel insurance plan does not cover any loss, fatal, or non-fatal, caused or contributed to by:
- suicide or intentionally self-inflicted injury;
- war, whether declared or not;
- participation in a riot, insurrection, civil commotion or disturbance;
- active, full-time, part-time or temporary service in the armed forces of any country;
- riding as a passenger or otherwise in any vehicle or device for aerial navigation other than as provided in the paragraph entitled “Aircraft Coverage”; and
- medical treatment or surgery, except if the medical treatment or surgery was needed because of an Accident.
WorkSafeBC: Out-of-province/country coverage
WorkSafeBC coverage is provided to a faculty or staff member who sustains an injury arising out of and in the course of their employment. Coverage does not extend to all activities that the staff/faculty member might participate in while travelling.
Should I purchase additional medical insurance?
You will want to consider whether you have other sources of coverage. These could include your spouse’s benefit plan or a credit card that provides medical insurance coverage while travelling.
It is up to you to decide whether to purchase additional travel medical insurance. If you are speaking with a travel agent or insurance broker about additional coverage while travelling, have them refer to the Sun Life Extended Health booklet for your employee group. Since travel insurance coverage and exclusions and limitations vary across plans, it is important you read and understand your benefit coverage and conditions.
You may wish to purchase additional medical insurance if your Extended Health Plan balance is low (the most you can be reimbursed in your lifetime is $2,000,000). You can find out your Extended Health Plan balance for you and/or each of your covered dependants by contacting Sun Life at 1-800-361-6212 or 1-800-661-7334.