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COVID-19 Information Centre


Please bookmark this page for the latest information on how this pandemic is impacting your plan and its members.

The content on this site will be updated on a regular basis – visiting here is the best way to ensure you are referencing the most up-to-date information possible.

Members can access the latest information about COVID-19 and their benefits at medaviebc.ca/covid19.


Frequently Asked Questions

All content reflects standard group coverage. Some group policies may differ.

How are premiums for fully–insured plans being adjusted to help support their sustainability through the pandemic?

In April, we instituted our pandemic premium relief program for all non-refund, fully-insured groups for the month of April. This initiative reflects our commitment to help ease the financial burden on plan sponsors during the most challenging economic crisis of our time.

We are now extending this program for the month of May.

Premium Relief Program

Retroactive to May 1, 2020, we will be providing a premium relief credit for all non-refund, fully-insured group clients for the month of May:

  • We are crediting 50% of dental premiums, to reflect the decrease in dental visits during the pandemic.
  • We are also crediting 10% of Health Premiums, on both Drugs and Extended Health Benefits. Although drug claim levels have not been impacted by the pandemic, this credit reflects the current reduction in paramedical and vision claims. We will continue to offer virtual options for many provider types to ensure that benefits can still be accessed in this time of need.

Note: The program applies for clients with the noted benefits.

Our approach to the program is to reflect the current reduction in claims, while balancing that claims will increase to higher levels in the future.

Depending on provincial guidelines, we are beginning to see some providers start to resume their services, although often using a modified approach. This will happen in phases, and we will continue to monitor the availability of health care provider services and impacts on claims experience as the landscape evolves.

Premium Credit Administration

These credits for May will automatically be applied to July invoices, with no action required by plan sponsors.

As an alternative, some group clients opted to receive the savings from the April credits with the next renewal, as a credit or applied toward the plan's rates. For these groups, the credits for the month of May will also be applied with the next renewal, with no action required by plan sponsors.

Given the persistence of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have extended many temporary administrative process changes. Please see below for new dates.


Will Medavie Blue Cross extend coverage to workers impacted by a temporary layoff during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Medavie Blue Cross recognizes the challenges many employers are facing in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. We will extend coverage for all benefits except disability benefits during a temporary layoff, per the temporary layoff provisions of the in force contract. This provision is typically for layoffs up to six (6) months. Employers should check their contract, as plans may vary.

Whether workers are paid or unpaid during their period of layoff, premiums must continue to be paid and coverage will be maintained if the plan participation level temporarily falls below the minimum participation threshold. In all instances, decisions to continue or not continue coverage during a layoff must be made at the group level.

With respect to disability, our contracts do not typically allow for the extension of disability benefits during a period of layoff. However, recognizing the impact of the global pandemic on businesses across Canada, Medavie Blue Cross is willing to extend this provision to disability coverage for up to 90 days, with premium, upon request if disability benefits are already in force. If the elimination period is satisfied during the period of layoff, benefits will begin the date the employee is scheduled to return to work, as indicated by the employer. Please speak to your Medavie Blue Cross representative.

If the contract does not have a temporary layoff provision, please speak to your Medavie Blue Cross representative.

This approach is considered a temporary administrative process change and is applicable until June 30th, 2020. It is being revaluated continuously and subject to change. Requests can be made retroactively, to a maximum of two weeks.


Will Medavie Blue Cross extend coverage to workers impacted by a temporary reduction in work hours during the COVID-19 pandemic if they fall below the ‘minimum number of hours worked’ requirement?

Yes. Medavie Blue Cross will temporarily allow members to maintain benefits even if their hours are reduced below the ‘minimum number of hours worked’ requirement. Salary based benefits will be adjudicated based on the coverage for which premiums are currently being paid. Should plan sponsors wish to modify this coverage, they must advise Medavie Blue Cross of the salary reductions for affected employees so this can be adjusted in the event of a claim during the period of reduced hours.

This approach is considered a temporary administrative process change and is applicable until June 30th, 2020. It is being revaluated continuously and subject to change.


If a plan member hasn’t completed their waiting period and are temporarily laid-off, when would they become eligible for benefits?

The time spent while temporarily laid-off due to COVID-19 counts towards a plan member’s waiting period. The plan member would therefore be eligible for benefits on the later of; their return to work date or the end of the waiting period.


What happens if an employer is unable to pay their premium on time because of the financial hardship they are experiencing during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Medavie Blue Cross understands that many employers are struggling in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Until June 30th, 2020, employers who are experiencing financial challenges and have concerns about their ability to pay their premium over the next 60 days can contact their Medavie Blue Cross representative to discuss available options.


What happens if an employer is unable to receive and/or evaluate their group benefits renewal because of the COVID-19 pandemic?

For small businesses (up to 50 employees) with a demonstrated inability to proceed with their renewal because of COVID-19, we will, upon request, postpone renewals scheduled for June and July that have not yet been completed, until August (i.e. June and July rate effective dates are now effective August 1). The renewal anniversary date will remain unchanged. May renewals not already completed were postponed until July, upon request.


Can a group temporarily discontinue/suspend all coverage and resume the same coverage when the COVID-19 pandemic is over?

We strongly recommend that employers give careful consideration to the consequences of any decision to discontinue coverage for any period of time (i.e. loss of life and disability coverage, loss of travel medical coverage for those still outside Canada, loss of prescription drug coverage, etc). Medavie Blue Cross can temporarily terminate all coverage and re-instate it on or before June 30th, 2020 without financial administration charges, while reserving the right to revaluate the pricing at the end of the discontinuation period if there are material changes to the group. Members would maintain their ID and claims history but losses or expenses incurred during the period of discontinuation are not covered.


If a plan sponsor chooses to pay all (or a portion) of the plan member share of disability premium, while their members are laid off work, how does this affect non-taxable disability benefits?

If an employer wishes to pay any portion of disability premiums on behalf of their employees, any disability benefit payments would be deemed taxable to the employee. If the disability benefit is currently non-taxable (i.e. 100% employee paid), a policy amendment is required. Professional tax advice is always recommended when considering changes to employee compensation or benefits.


How does the COVID-19 pandemic impact applications requiring medical underwriting (i.e. late applicants, coverage over non-evidence maximums)?

All applications where a standard Statement of Health questionnaire is the only requirement will be medically underwritten and a decision will be provided. If during underwriting, further information is required and the services of a health care professional are necessary, the decision will remain pending until service appointments resume. We are continuing to monitor this.

Can members still submit health and dental claims?

Of course! However, in light of the pandemic and potential impact to mail delivery, we encourage plan members to submit claims online via our website or mobile app. Click to learn more about how easy it is to submit claims online.


Can members be reimbursed for claims from health practitioners who offer their services virtually?

Yes. We have conducted a review of the scopes of practice for covered health practitioners to facilitate access to, and continuity of, needed care by virtual means. Currently we will accept receipts for virtual appointments from the health practitioners listed below. Members should consult their own provider(s) to determine if their specific care can be provided remotely. The list below is subject to change as we continue to assess scopes of practice. As always, providers must be registered with Medavie Blue Cross and all claims are adjudicated based on the member’s plan design and our reasonable and customary limits.

Audiologists
Chiropodists
Chiropractors
Counselling Therapists
Registered Dietitians
Naturopaths
Occupational Therapists
Optometrists
Physiotherapists
Podiatrists
Psychoeducators
Psychologists
Psychotherapists
Social Workers
Speech Therapists
Dentists

Guidelines around the types of services allowed, as well as specific protocols in providing virtual therapy, vary by the governing body of each provider type listed above. Again, members should speak with their health care provider to confirm what specific services they can deliver online and rely on them to follow the appropriate protocols.


Have you closed your Quick Pay locations?

Yes. As a precaution we have temporally closed our Quick Pay locations across Atlantic Canada. In support of physical distancing measures, drop boxes for members to submit payments and claims are no longer available at these locations.


Can members be reimbursed for dental care claims?

While non-essential and elective dental services have been suspended by dental societies across Canada, emergency treatments continue. To facilitate access to emergency dental care, Medavie Blue Cross is reimbursing teledentistry claims for the evaluation of the need for emergency treatment; and emergency prescriptions for prescription drugs. In person emergency dental care claims will continue to be paid in accordance with the member’s plan design and relevant fee guide.


The COVID-19 pandemic caused health and dental care appointments to be delayed or cancelled. When appointments are re-scheduled, will benefit maximums/coverage be extended for people: a) whose policy year ended (i.e. annual maximums were reset); or b) whose coverage is no longer in effect (i.e. over-age dependants)?

We will continue to administer our group benefits plan according to the terms of each contract, which means claims incurred during the current policy year and/or before someone’s coverage has come to an end will be paid according to the plan rules and benefit maximums for that policy year.


Have the terms of a Health Spending Account (HSA) and/or Personal Spending Account (PSA) changed?

HSA and PSA terms remain the same and these plans will continue to be managed in accordance with the contractual provisions. Members can check their benefit and grace periods in their benefits booklet and learn more about the many expenses they can claim against their HSA and/or PSA balances by checking their booklet or our online Help Centre.


Does group life insurance cover a death resulting from COVID-19?

Yes. If a covered plan member or eligible dependant were to die as a result of contracting COVID-19 then the life insurance claim would be payable, assuming all other terms of the group life policy are satisfied.

*Revised* What is the impact of changes in dispensing limits at pharmacies?

Provincial pharmacy regulators across Canada have issued the directive to pharmacists to limit the supply of prescription medications to 30 days per fill, in an effort to help protect Canada’s drug supply during these uncertain times. The Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association (CLHIA), of which we are a member, supports efforts to ensure Canadians will continue to have access to the drugs they need, when they need them. We respect the professional and clinical judgement of pharmacists to support the medication needs of our members during this challenging time.

We administer many different plan designs on behalf of plan sponsors. This temporary imposed pharmacy dispensing directive may result in some plan members having to pay additional pharmacy dispensing fees and/or copays per prescription. The sharing of these additional costs between members and employers will vary depending on the plan design selected and established in their benefit contract. As always, please let us know if you have questions or wish to make any changes to your plan design, otherwise, current plan contract provisions related to pharmacy fees and co-payments remain applicable.

Members who will face extreme hardship, and who are on long-term prescriptions with no expectation that their treatment will end, have the option of asking their pharmacist to consider an exception and dispense a larger quantity.

We support returning to a 90 day limit as soon as possible. We believe 30 day limits should only apply to drugs that have an actual supply issue.

We are collaborating with governments, pharmacy regulators, and others in the industry to ensure the best approaches are applied to help ensure adequate supplies of various drugs, while also minimizing financial strain on members. We are also working with plan sponsors, who are also dealing with the most challenging economic crisis of our time, to ensure the ongoing financial sustainability of health benefit plans.

In several provinces, including New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, 30 day prescription drug limits have been lifted for most medications. Members who have been denied their regular supply of a medication should confirm with their pharmacist that this drug has been identified as being subject to a supply shortage. We are currently consulting with the pharmacy industry to identify which, if any, drugs need this limit placed on them.


What can members do to help protect the health of themselves and other at the pharmacy?

We are closely monitoring the effects of COVID-19 on the demand for prescription drugs. We are working closely with pharmacy partners to ensure members have access to the drugs they need, when they need them.

In order to help keep pharmacists and their staff healthy, you are asked not to go to any pharmacy if you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, new onset of cough or difficulty breathing), in the 14 days after the onset of symptoms or if you think you have been exposed to the virus.

As always, members should ensure their refills are up to date, not waiting to the last minute or until their prescription runs out before reordering.

To help minimize social interactions, members can also consider receiving prescriptions through home delivery service. Members can talk to a pharmacist about their options.


How are you caring for members on treatments requiring Prior Authorization?

We understand that for members currently on a drug requiring prior authorization, it may be difficult right now to obtain the required renewal information, such as updated tests or exams.

If a member has a prior authorization set to renew between March 1, 2020 to May 31, 2020, we have extended their renewal period by 90 days from their current renewal date or until July 31, 2020, whichever comes first.

Certain drugs, such as for Hepatitis C, are excluded from this extension.

This extension applies to prior authorization renewals only. All new prior authorization requests will continue to follow existing practices.

What if a member cannot work because they are in quarantine because of COVID-19 or have contracted COVID-19?

The COVID-19 pandemic is evolving rapidly. New information emerges constantly and decision making is required frequently. We will continue to provide updates, as necessary. We remain committed to supporting members when an injury of illness prevents them from doing their essential work tasks.

Medavie Blue Cross continues to manage and pay short term disability claims according to our regular disability management guidelines. Regarding COVID-19 specifically and in light of the Government of Canada now waiving the waiting period for Employment Insurance for those in quarantine, the following guidelines now apply:

1. Positive COVID-19 test and member is unable to work from home because of illness or type of work: Qualify for Short Term Disability with the waiting period waived.

2. Not positive for COVID-19 but member is too ill to work due to flu-like symptoms: Submit a COVID-19 Illness form, reflecting inability to work. Standard waiting period applies.

3. Member is unable to work because they are being advised to quarantine, but they are not too ill to work otherwise: Member may qualify for Employment Insurance (EI) benefits with no waiting period. Learn more about qualifying for EI here. Member will not qualify for Short Term Disability coverage.

Medavie Blue Cross has created an ‘Employee Confirmation of Illness Form’ for claim submissions specific to COVID-19. This form replaces the Attending Physician Statement for COVID-19 claim submissions. The standard Employee and Employer Statement forms are still required.

Disability coverage varies by plan sponsor and it is best to check your specific disability coverage. Sick and vacation policies vary by employer and are outside the Medavie Blue Cross group benefit plan.

What mental health supports or resources are available to plan members?

We know that COVID-19 is taking a toll on the physical and mental wellbeing of many Canadians. For plan members that are experiencing stress or anxiety, and/or struggling to cope, please know that expert help is just a call or click away. Here are just some of the services and supports available to help our members get through this difficult time – from the security, privacy and comfort of your home.


How can I make my employees and plan members aware of these resources?

Please feel free to adapt or share the following message with your members using email, internal newsletter or your other communications channels:

To our valued employees,

During the Covid-19 pandemic you may be concerned about your health and/or the health of your loved ones. We would like to assure you that our benefits partner, Medavie Blue Cross, has many tools in place to support your physical and mental health through this time.

This includes:

  • The ability to claim for virtual visits with your practitioners, from physiotherapists to psychologists and many others. Learn more about virtual visits.
  • Access to online doctor visits through their Connected Care platform – connect with a doctor in minutes and get referred to specialists who can provide consultation and / or treatment online.
  • Access to digital Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (iCBT) which is a proven, effective tool to manage mental health concerns such as anxiety and depression. There are even modules available to help those who may be struggling to cope specifically due to the pandemic. Learn more through the Connected Care platform.
    • This service can be claimed as part of your psychologist benefit in the Medavie mobile app or plan member site. Here's how to claim for digital CBT.

For more information on these and other tools that are available to support your mental health during this time, visit the Medavie Blue Cross Covid-19 Mental Health Resources web page.

Groups with our inConfidence Employee & Family Assistance Plan Only: You may also access our Employee and Family Assistance Program, inConfidence, for support.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, the Canadian Mental Health Association advises that you call 1-833-456-4566 toll free (In QC: 1-866-277-3553), 24/7 or visit www.crisisservicescanada.ca.

Finally, to learn more about the services available through Medavie Blue Cross and access your benefits, visit the plan member centre or download the Medavie Mobile App from the App Store or Google Play.

Wishing you and your loved ones well,

Your HR team.

What is a Government of Canada travel advisory (i.e. warning)?

The Government of Canada (i.e. the federal government) issues travel advisories, available online, that show the overall risk level for a country or territory based on an assessment of the nationwide safety and security situation. If the safety and security situation of a particular region within a country or territory is assessed to be different than that of the rest of the country or territory, the Government assigns a separate risk level to that region. The risk levels are:

Level 1: Exercise normal security precautions
Level 2: Exercise a high degree of caution
Level 3: Avoid non-essential travel
Level 4: Avoid all travel

Travel warnings related to COVID-19 had previously been issued for specific countries and on March 13th, 2020, the Government of Canada issued a warning against all non-essential travel outside of Canada. This is a rapidly evolving situation and warnings are likely to change. It is strongly recommended that Medavie Blue Cross members with travel plans closely monitor travel warnings issued by the Government of Canada because these warnings can impact their travel insurance coverage.


What if there is a travel advisory/warning issued by an entity other than the Government of Canada?

Only travel warnings issued by the Government of Canada (i.e. the federal government) directly impact group travel insurance coverage issued by Medavie Blue Cross. Warnings issued by provincial or foreign governments do not impact coverage.


Are there options to remove an existing Government of Canada travel warning exclusion from a travel policy?

No. The COVID-19 pandemic is a known event. There is no option to modify existing group policy language. We have confirmed that our contract wording is aligned with the recommendation of the Canadian Life and Health Industry Association (CLHIA).

What approach does Medavie Blue Cross take with Emergency Hospital and Medical Travel Coverage if a member travels to a country or region with a Government of Canada issued travel warning?

Expenses related to Emergency Hospital and Medical Travel coverage are NOT COVERED if they are incurred while travelling in a specific country (or a specific region of a country) for which there is a Government of Canada warning to avoid all travel (Level 4) or avoid non-essential travel (Level 3), when such a warning was issued before the departure date and the loss or expense is related to the reason for which the travel warning was issued.

It is assumed that the member otherwise satisfies all other plan eligibility requirements.


What happens to a member’s travel medical coverage in light of the Government of Canada (i.e. federal government) warning to avoid all non-essential travel outside of Canada?

On March 13th, 2020, the federal government issued a global travel advisory to avoid non-essential travel outside of Canada. This warning overrides all other risk levels, with the exception of areas for which the federal government advises to avoid all travel (including regional advisories).

This impacts Medavie Blue Cross travel insurance coverage as follows:

Emergency Hospital and Medical: All hospital and medical expenses unrelated to COVID-19 remain COVERED, independent of departure date. Medical expenses related to COVID-19 are NOT COVERED when traveling anywhere outside of Canada, if the member departs on or after March 16th, 2020.


Does the travel warning need to be issued prior to departure? If yes, how is departure defined?

Yes. The Government of Canada warning must be issued before departure, which is defined as the date the member leaves their province of residence, independent of their itinerary.

If a member books a trip while travelling outside their province of residence (i.e. books a second trip while on their first trip), the member is covered while travelling as long as the Government of Canada warning is declared after the departure date from the country from which they are travelling.


What happens if a member is already in the country or region when the travel warning is issued?

The member is covered for all insured risks if they are already in the country or specific region of the country when the Government of Canada warning is declared.

If there was no warning on their date of departure, and the member has Trip Interruption coverage, they are eligible to interrupt their trip to return home.


If a member is travelling and unable to return home due to quarantine or unavailable flights, what is their eligible coverage?

If the member’s travel coverage is expired or about to expire (i.e. trip limit has been reached) and they are unable to return home due to circumstances directly beyond their control, Medavie Blue Cross will extend their coverage duration for up to 14 days.

If there was no travel warning on the member’s date of departure and the member is quarantined or stranded beyond their original travel dates at their destination, the member is eligible for meals and accommodations, up to the maximum coverage amount detailed in the relevant group contract/booklet.


Does the exclusion related to the travel warning only apply to losses or expenses related to the travel warning?

Yes. The limitation only impacts losses or expenses related to the reason for which the travel warning was issued, in this case, a diagnosis of COVID-19. All eligible expenses unrelated to COVID-19 remain covered.


Does the travel warning exclusion impact only losses or expenses incurred in the country or region with the travel warning?

Yes. The travel warning exclusion only impacts losses or expenses incurred in the country or specific region with the Government of Canada travel warning, independent of itinerary.


If a member has a cruise coming up and they contract COVID-19 while on their cruise ship, are their expenses covered?

On March 9th, 2020, the Government of Canada issued a warning to avoid all cruise ship travel. Consequently, expenses related to Emergency Hospital and Medical Travel coverage for COVID-19 are NOT COVERED for any cruise ship travel occurring after March 9th. This warning to avoid cruise ship travel currently extends until further notice. This is being monitored continuously and any changes will be communicated.


What should a member do if they get sick while travelling?

If members are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, they should contact our medical assistance provider, CanAssistance. They can be reached by calling collect at 1-506-854-2222 (worldwide) or toll free at 1-800-563-4444 (Canada and the USA).

CanAssistance will assess the symptoms described and direct members as needed to a hospital or clinic for the appropriate care. Depending on the situation and needs, they may also:

  • Provide simultaneous interpretation to help communicate with health care personnel
  • Advance funds to a service provider if required to pay for care up front
  • Plan emergency repatriation to the member’s home province if they are hospitalized
  • Monitor their case closely until they’ve recovered

During the consultation, members should inform the physician if they have visited any high-risk areas (crowded public areas etc.) or been in contact with any animals or persons who showed symptoms associated with COVID-19.


What if a member becomes ill after they return from a trip?

If symptoms develop and a member has travelled to a region with confirmed COVID-19 cases or have been in close contact with someone who has, they should:

  • Stay at home and avoid contact with others
  • Follow up with their health care professional

If members develop fever, cough or difficulty breathing in the next 14 days, they should:

  • Call their health care provider or local public health authority.
  • Tell them about their symptoms and where exactly they were travelling.
  • Let them know whether they’ve had direct contact with animals or persons with COVID-19 symptoms.

If members are ill and must visit a health care professional, they should:

  • Call ahead or tell them when arriving that they have a respiratory illness.
  • They may be asked to wear a mask while waiting for or receiving treatment to prevent the spread of the illness.

If members feel sick during travel to Canada or upon arrival, they should:

  • Inform the flight attendant, cruise staff or a Canadian border services officer, who will decide whether further medical assessment by a quarantine officer is required.

What approach does Medavie Blue Cross take with Trip Cancellation and Interruption Coverage if a covered member is scheduled to travel to a country or region with known cases of COVID-19?

Expenses related to trip cancellations outside Canada are COVERED; as long as the Government of Canada has issued a warning to avoid all travel (Level 4) or avoid non-essential travel (Level 3) to that destination and the trip was booked before the warning was issued. Expenses related to trip cancellations are NOT COVERED if the destination has a Level 1 or Level 2 advisory or is within Canada.


What happens to a member’s travel coverage in light of the Government of Canada (i.e. federal government) warning to avoid all non-essential travel outside of Canada?

On March 13th, 2020, the federal government issued a global travel advisory to avoid non-essential travel outside of Canada. This warning overrides all other risk levels, with the exception of areas for which the federal government advises to avoid all travel (including regional advisories).

This impacts Medavie Blue Cross travel insurance coverage as follows:

Trip Cancellation and Interruption (if applicable): Eligible expenses are COVERED for trips scheduled to depart within the next four weeks, so long as they were booked on or before March 15th, 2020. Members should NOT call about trips that are more than a month away and contact us closer to their departure date. All members should check COVID-19 website for updates.


Can a member cancel a trip that visits multiple countries if just one of those countries has a Level 3 or Level 4 travel warning?

Yes, as long as the warning was issued prior to departure.

A trip interruption claim may be eligible if the member is already in a country without a Level 3 or Level 4 Government of Canada warning and planned to visit a country with a Level 3 or Level 4 warning, so long as this warning did not exist when the trip was purchased.


Can a member cancel a scheduled cruise?

The Government of Canada has issued a warning to avoid all cruise ship travel until further notice. Cruise ship travel booked before March 9th and scheduled to depart within the next four weeks is eligible to be cancelled at present. This is being monitored continuously and any changes will be communicated.

If the travel itinerary involves a prolonged stay in a country in addition to the cruise, members should contact Medavie Blue Cross to determine what portions of the trip are eligible for trip cancellation or trip interruption.


Who should members contact first if they need to cancel their trip and want to be reimbursed?

Members should first seek reimbursements or credits through their airline carrier or travel agent. Medavie Blue Cross is the final payer on Trip Cancellation claims.


*Revised* How far in advance can trips to a country or specific region where there is currently a Level 3 or Level 4 advisory be cancelled?

At this time, only trips scheduled to depart within two weeks are eligible to be cancelled. This is a rolling two week window that is being monitored continuously and any changes will be communicated. This two week window is expected to continue until the outbreak begins to subside. Members should check our COVID-19 website about trips more than a month away closer to their departure date.


Is a member covered if: A) the government of the destination country is advising travellers that they must be self- quarantined upon arrival; or B) their provincial government is advising travelling that they must be self-quarantined upon their return?

Members are covered in scenario A or B if the trip was booked before the Government of Canada travel warning was issued. The actions and/or recommendations of a foreign or provincial government do not influence travel coverage. Members should contact their travel agent, airline carrier(s) and/or tour operator(s) regarding reimbursement.


Is a member covered if they are already in a country where the foreign government there has grounded flights out of the country?

Members are covered in this scenario if the trip was booked before the Government of Canada travel warning was issued. The actions and/or recommendations of a foreign or provincial government do not influence travel coverage. Members should contact their travel agent, airline carrier(s) and/or tour operator(s) regarding reimbursement.


What about the announcement that Blue Cross made on March 11th stating that Trip Cancellation claims related to COVID-19 would no longer be covered?

This announcement is about individual travel insurance policies. It DOES NOT apply to group benefit plans. Given that the outbreak of COVID-19 is now considered a “known issue”, individual travel insurance purchased as of March 12th or after does not cover cancellations due to the outbreak of COVID-19. Individual travel insurance purchased prior to this date covers cancellations due to the COVID-19 outbreak for destinations that were not already excluded. Individual health plans (i.e. Elements, Options Plus and Select plans) sold by Medavie Blue Cross in Atlantic Canada do not include trip cancellation coverage.

What is Medavie Blue Cross doing to ensure business continuity in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic?

Our role as a healthcare leader in our communities is always our number one priority. We understand the importance of our ability to serve our clients and plan members amidst this global health event. Rest assured, as we continue to adjust our business practices your needs are our priority focus. We have a detailed plan in place, are continuously monitoring the evolving global impact of COVID-19 and are in regular communication with federal and provincial health authorities.

We are prepared to minimize service disruptions related to COVID-19 outbreaks. We have enabled our work from home program and enacted additional social distancing, cleaning and disinfection measures to mitigate the risk of spreading COVID-19.


If it is not possible to obtain a ‘wet’ signature from a plan member or plan sponsor on a form, what other options are available?

We recognize that signing a required form in ink may pose challenges and we are now accepting many forms using the following digital means during the COVID-19 pandemic:

Plan members and plan sponsors

  • Complete the relevant form, print it and sign it then scan or take a photo of it and email it to us.
  • Complete the form using your smart phone, tablet or computer and save a copy of it. Apply an electronic handwritten signature (actual signature written on a screen) to the document by using your e-signature app and email it to us. Note: We are not accepting e-signatures that are not handwritten (i.e. those generated by ‘click to sign’ solutions).
  • Plan sponsor statements for disability claims can have the name and date typed on the form and submitted from an email address containing the plan sponsor domain. (i.e. @companyname.ca). Documents without a handwritten signature will not be accepted if sent from a personal email address.
  • Enrolment data can continue to be uploaded to us in digital format

Plan sponsors

There may be circumstances where a wet signature may still be required. We will advise members or sponsors when these circumstances arise and work together to arrive at a satisfactory solution.


What is Medavie Blue Cross doing to keep everyone informed?

For advisors and plan sponsors, Medavie Blue Cross continues to issue follow up communications and update this ‘COVID-19 Info Centre’ webpage.

For members, our contact centre is able to address member inquiries and there is an escalation process, when necessary. Our global travel assistance provider, CanAssistance, is also fully equipped to answer questions related to COVID-19 from members.

Medavie Blue Cross has also established a COVID-19 webpage in both English and French for relevant updates on COVID-19, which is featured prominently on our home page.

How is Medavie supporting the communities it serves during this pandemic?

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us all to think differently and consider new ways to invest in improving the health and wellbeing of Canadians.

Medavie’s mission is to improve the wellbeing of Canadians – and we have never been more committed to that goal than now. That commitment to caring for Canadians extends to our communities, as well. The needs of our communities are significant in this time of crisis, especially for our most vulnerable and at-risk community members.

That’s why, through the Medavie Health Foundation, we’ve committed $5 million to improving access to food and mental health support.

This funding will focus on initiatives addressing food insecurity, the mental health needs of adolescents, and frontline responders coping with COVID-19-related anxiety and post-traumatic stress. It will distributed to community organizations over the coming weeks and months to address urgent needs and provide support as they manage through – and beyond – this pandemic. We’re also relaxing requirements for organizations currently receiving funding so we can make it as easy and quick as possible to help those who desperately need it.

We will provide you with further details on funding recipients in coming weeks.

The health and wellbeing of our communities is at the heart of our Foundation, which was created over a decade ago as a separate entity for charitable purposes to support the communities where our employees and clients live and work.

This contribution, of course, is in addition to the initiatives we have put in place to help support our clients and stakeholders through this pandemic.


Improving the wellbeing of Canadians

For over 75 years, Medavie and our employees have maintained a strong tradition of supporting our communities. So it comes as no surprise that during this crisis they have risen to the challenge and continue to do so each and every day. Whether that means adopting new work practices and working from home, or dressing in full PPE gear as they face the front line of our healthcare response. Regardless of what ‘coming to work’ might mean for our team members today, one thing is for sure: their efforts unite us in our fight against COVID-19 and continue Medavie’s role as a not-for-profit health solutions partner.

Canadians have long believed in helping one another, especially our most vulnerable. It’s reflected in our daily lives, our society and our place on the world stage. It’s also reflected in our beliefs as an organization. There has never been a moment when our mission is as critical as it is now. Whether it is by supporting patients, clients, members, employees and our communities, we know Medavie has a vital role to play in the lives of Canadians.

What is a coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses which may cause illness in animals or humans. In humans, several coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The most recently discovered coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) causes coronavirus disease COVID-19. This new virus and disease were unknown before the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. (Source: World Health Organization)


Where can everyone learn more?

Additional information and resources related to COVID-19 can be found in both English and French on the Government of Canada’s website.



Downloads

Mental Health message template to share with your plan members English | French

Medication access during COVID-19 pandemic - English | French

COVID-19 Digital Tools Member Flyer - English | French

Message from the CEO - English | French

FAQ for Individual Business in Atlantic Canada - English | French

Employee Confirmation of Illness Form - English | French

Travel Insurance Claim Forms - English | French


As we support our clients and plan members through the pandemic, rest assured that all normal business needs are also being fully addressed. Please contact your Medavie Blue Cross representative if you have any questions about any of our products or services.