Information on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
The pandemic has adjusted the way that businesses operate globally. Many new guidelines have been introduced to protect the health and well being of our communities, including the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), distancing measures and increased sanitization. As health and dental practices re-opened during the recovery phase of the pandemic, we understand that some providers have started charging their patients for the cost of PPE and additional cleaning time.
Medavie Blue Cross also has an obligation to administer our benefit plans according to the benefit contracts we hold with our clients, which do not typically include coverage for charges related to PPE or the additional time required for cleaning of equipment. This means that you may have additional out of pocket expenses when accessing services from a health care practitioner or at a dental clinic during the COVID-19 pandemic. Consequently, we strongly encourage you to discuss any extra charges that you may incur at your health and dental care provider, prior to your visit.
While not eligible under standard health and dental plans, PPE surcharges from health and dental care professionals are covered under both Health Spending Account (HSA) and Personal Wellness Account (PWA) plans.
COVID-19 Testing and Vaccines
COVID-19 tests are available through government agencies, so are not covered by benefits plans.
Travel-specific COVID-19 tests are not covered by benefits plans. A prescription from a medical practitioner is required for any COVID-19 tests to be eligible for reimbursement through a Health Spending Account (HSA).
Similarly, because the distribution of vaccines is being managed by government agencies, coverage through your benefit plan does not apply.
Contrary to misinformation being shared online, receiving a COVID-19 vaccine will have no effect on the ability to obtain coverage or benefits from life insurance or supplementary health insurance.
These claims are incorrect and have no basis in fact whatsoever. Receiving the vaccine will not affect your individual or workplace life or health insurance benefits, or ability to apply for future coverage.
Mental Health Services and Support
We know that COVID-19 is taking a toll on the physical and mental wellbeing of many Canadians.
If you or someone you know is experiencing stress or anxiety, and is struggling to cope, please know that expert help is just a call or click away.
The Government of Canada warning to avoid all non-essential travel outside Canada remains in place and we continue to view this as the essential point of reference with respect to travel safety.
Any plan members with travel coverage should carefully consider the following:
1. All standard Medavie Blue Cross travel plans will now cover eligible emergency hospital and medical expenses related to COVID-19, subject to existing maximums and all other terms, conditions and limitations of your policy.
To qualify for coverage, before departure you must:
- Be symptom free
- Have not tested positive (or be awaiting a test result), and
- Have not been in contact with anyone who tested positive in the last 14 days.
Please note: due to the impact of COVID-19 on health and travel resources in foreign countries, although we will endeavor to provide access to health resources in case of an emergency, we may be limited in the support that can be accessed.
This COVID-19 coverage is effective until July 15, 2021. Any decision on extending this coverage will be made at a later date.
2. Medavie Blue Cross travel insurance does not cover:
- Any COVID-19 testing, including those required by governments to re-enter the country
- Any costs related to delays caused by testing requirements
- Any costs related to quarantines, including those mandated by governments.
If you do opt to travel internationally during this period, we recommend you carefully review the guidance available at travel.gc.ca around international travel and requirements around returning to Canada, and to regularly check the site for any new or updated information.
Please note: For plans with trip cancellation insurance, since COVID-19 is considered a known situation, cancelling or interrupting a trip for a reason related to the pandemic remains not covered.
As is noted above, for plans with trip cancellation insurance, since COVID-19 is considered a known situation, cancelling or interrupting a trip for a reason related to the pandemic remains not covered.
Trips booked after March 16, 2020 to any destination outside Canada are not eligible for Trip Cancellation coverage. Trip Cancellation coverage does not apply to inter-provincial travel. Most travel providers are providing refunds or credits for booked travel or events.
Claiming for virtual services
Did you know that you can get a lot of health services online or by phone? It’s a convenient option for getting the care you need during this challenging time.
Right now, covered services can be provided by:
You can submit like any other claim: either directly by the provider through ePay, or by sending us your receipt through the Medavie Mobile app or by logging in at medaviebc.ca. As always, all claims are subject to the coverage provided by your plan and our reasonable and customary limits.
Ask your health provider if they can provide their specific care remotely, and take care of your health even when you can’t meet in-person.
And don’t forget that you can also access Online Doctors at special preferred pricing, and Digital Therapy (covered by most plans), through our Connected Care platform.
Medication access during COVID-19 pandemic
We are closely monitoring the effects of COVID-19 on the demand for prescription drugs. We are working closely with pharmacy partners to ensure our members have access to the medications they need, when they need them.
Following official direction
During the first several weeks of the pandemic, provincial pharmacy regulators across Canada issued directives 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.
When this occurred, we collaborated 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. This included focusing on only those drugs that have actual supply issues, and returning to a 90 day supply as soon as possible.
These 30 day prescription drug limits have now been lifted for most medications. If a member encounters a situation where they are still dispensed a limited supply of their regular maintenance medication, they have the option of asking their pharmacist to consider an exception and dispense a larger quantity.
Protecting everyone’s health
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 your social interactions, you can also consider receiving your prescriptions through home delivery service. Talk to your pharmacist about your options.
Renewal of Prior Authorization drugs
We understand that for members currently on a drug requiring prior authorization, it may be difficult to obtain the required renewal information, such as updated tests or exams. If you have a prior authorization set to renew, but your appointment is after your current authorization has expired, please have your Patient Support Program (PSP) Case Worker reach out to our Special Authorization Unit directly, or call our Customer Contact Centre who can provide you with next steps direction.
Home Delivery of Prescription Drugs
In this era of online purchases and home delivery, more plan members than ever are looking for options to have the medications they take on a regular basis (“maintenance drugs”) delivered directly to them by a home delivery pharmacy.
My Home Rx provides convenient options for free home delivery of your prescription maintenance drugs that can help you save money, with the comfort and assurance of avoiding unnecessary trips outside the home.
If your benefits plan includes our disability coverage, this is in place to support you if you are unable to work because of illness or injury – and that applies to COVID-19 related illness. Here are some common situations:
Positive COVID-19 test, and unable to work from home because of illness or your type of work: Qualify for Short Term Disability once the waiting period is satisfied. Attending Physician Statement form and/or positive COVID-19 test report must be submitted.
No COVID-19 test but too ill to work due to flu-like symptoms: Submit the standard Disability application forms, reflecting your condition and inability to work. Standard waiting period applies.
Unable to work because you have been placed under quarantine, but not too ill to work otherwise: You may qualify for Employment Insurance (EI) benefits. You can find out more about qualifying for EI here. You will not qualify for Short Term Disability coverage.
For all Disability applications, the standard Employee and Employer Statement forms are still required.
Disability coverage varies by plan and it is best to confirm your specific disability coverage with your employer. Sick and vacation policies vary by employer and are not part of your health and disability benefits plan.
Disability application forms can be found here.
You can find out more about the coronavirus and related Government of Canada advisories at canada.ca
The COVID Alert app is provided by the Government of Canada to help Canadians reduce the spread of COVID-19. The free and voluntary app helps notify users if they may have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, and is available to Canadians in most provinces and territories. Learn more
The chat icon at the bottom right of this screen links to a COVID-19 screening tool, which helps you assess your current condition and recommends potential next steps to protect your health.
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 have been significant throughout this crisis, especially for our most vulnerable and at-risk community members.
That’s why, through the Medavie Health Foundation, we committed $5 million to improving access to food and mental health support. As of the end of 2020, more than half of the funds have been distributed to community-based charities addressing food insecurity and increasing access to mental health services for youth. Grant recipients include:
- Food for All New Brunswick
- La Rue des Femmes
- Indigenous Peoples Resilience Fund
- Black Creek Community Farm
- Partageons l’espoir (Share the Warmth)
- Innisfail and Area Food Bank
- White Buffalo Youth Lodge
- Pathstone Mental Health
- Atlantic Compassion Fund (supporting groups across the Atlantic provinces)
We’re not done yet. We’re continuing to grant out much-needed funds to help communities manage through – and beyond – this pandemic. We look forward to sharing an update in spring 2021.