Beyond Benefits

July 2021

Travel coverage under Group Benefits Plans: What you need to know

When booking a trip, you’ll likely be offered the option to purchase additional insurance. But is it really necessary? Before buying, it’s wise to see what coverage you already have under your group benefits plan. 

What are Group Benefits Plans?

A group benefits plan helps employees cover the cost of things that their provincial health care plans may not. It can include certain prescription drugs, and services such as dental, hospital, vision, and paramedical. 

Group benefits plans also offer emergency medical coverage when traveling outside of the country. It's Important to note that this is only for emergency medical expenses  and will not cover routine claims such as prescriptions for pre-existing conditions, or routine dental work like cleanings. 

How am I covered?

Benefits are covered at a maximum dollar amount (normally between $2,00,000 and $5,000,000) either per lifetime or per incident, and a maximum trip duration period of 30, 60, or 90 days. 

It’s critical to review how long you are covered, as being out of the country past the trip duration period may require additional travel insurance to ensure you’re covered for the complete duration of your stay. To find out more about your travel benefits, review your booklet from your groups benefits provider 

To ensure you’re prepared to leave, here are a few helpful tips to remember before traveling:

Compare your trip duration to your travel coverage

Review your travel plans prior to your departure to confirm that your group benefits coverage meets your needs. If you’re planning on being away longer than what’s covered in your benefits plan, you may want to coordinate additional coverage.

Always keep your benefits card on you

On the back of your benefits card, you will find your plan number and the phone number to call when you need to make an out-of-country claim. They will assist you in getting the care you need and how the process will be covered. In the event of an emergency, be sure to call ASAP.

Make sure there are no travel advisories

Call your benefits provider ahead of your trip to ensure there are no travel advisories in place where you’re going. Your claim may not be covered if you are headed to an area with travel advisories. This is also relevant during the pandemic, as COVID-19 restrictions are changing constantly.

See if your plan offers additional coverage

Some travel insurance through group benefits offers trip cancellation and lost baggage coverage. Review your plan to see if this is the case and if not, you may want to coordinate alternative coverage.

Ensure employees are properly enrolled 

As a plan administrator, it’s also important to make sure that all your employees are properly enrolled in the benefits plan within 30 days of their eligibility date. If a member is not properly enrolled and they have an out of country claim, this can be a massive liability to your business as these types of claims can be extremely costly. 

For peace of mind, we always recommend including the group benefits enrollment form in your onboarding package. This way, it’s never missed and is top of mind for both you and the employee during the onboarding process.

If you would like to review your out-of-country coverage, or look at enhancing your benefits offering, contact our benefits team at! We can help make sure your benefits plan fits your company and your employee’s needs.

Want to speak with someone directly? 

We’re here for you. Reach out to us at for additional assistance.

Beyond Benefits
Did you enjoy this article?
Get the latest articles in your email.