What type of insurance does Blue Cross sell?
Blue Cross began by selling health insurance products. Our health insurance policies reimburse you for costs associated with an illness or accident not covered by your government health insurance plan, such as prescription drugs, registered specialists and therapists, dental care, vision care, etc.
Enrolment into a Blue Cross health plan also grants you access to our exclusive Blue Cross Member Assistance program. This members-only program offers unlimited access to health and legal advice, home care assistance and other members-only benefits. Our worldwide travel assistance takes care of your needs while you are travelling.
Blue Cross also sells insurance to cover medical expenses while you're outside Ontario. Our travel insurance products primarily protect you in cases of unexpected medical emergencies and include coverage for
- Repatriation to Ontario
- Trip cancellation and interruption
- Accidental death or dismemberment, etc.
Who can Blue Cross insure?
Blue Cross health insurance is available to Canadian residents. You must have a valid health insurance card from your province of residence to apply. Although Blue Cross is available across Canada, the company in each province is run independently. For example, if you are a resident of Ontario, you must have a valid OHIP card to purchase insurance and contact Ontario Blue Cross, a resident of Quebec must have a RAMQ card to purchase insurance and contact Quebec Blue Cross, etc.
Health insurance is also available to individuals who need to obtain their provincial health insurance card, including Canadian citizens returning to Canada after a long absence, individuals awaiting immigration status and individuals coming to study or work in Canada on a temporary basis. Individuals who need this protection should contact Blue Cross in the province in which they reside.
Blue Cross also provides travel insurance plans for Canadians travelling abroad or outside their province of residence.
Can I purchase an assistance services contract?
No. Our assistance services are available only to Blue Cross policyholders as part of a purchased travel insurance plan. But, if you are injured or become seriously ill outside Canada, you can call Blue Cross travel assistance services even if you’re not a policyholder. We will offer immediate assistance and depending on your needs, we can help you facilitate repatriation to Canada. However, in these circumstances, the fees incurred will be your responsibility and will have to be paid in advance. For example, the costs for repatriation due to health reasons from Paris to Toronto can range between $25,000 and $45,000, depending on the type of transportation used. That's why we always recommend that you purchase a travel insurance plan before you leave your province of residence.
Can I replace OHIP insurance with Blue Cross insurance?
No. The law requires that all residents of Ontario are covered under the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP). Any supplemental insurance plans pay over and above for costs after they have been paid by the government health plan.
Is it really necessary to read my policy? Aren't all travel insurance policies the same?
A) Yes, reading your travel insurance policy is very important and necessary.
Always review the following:
- Your travel insurance certificate to ensure that the benefits listed are in fact the ones you selected and to confirm that your departure and return dates are correct.
- Your travel insurance policy. A contract is an agreement between two parties. You must know your responsibilities as well as those of the insurer. Above all, you must know when your coverage begins and ends, and understand what is covered and what is not.
Pay particular attention to the following sections in your policy:
- What is covered
- What is not covered
- Exclusions and reductions of coverage
If you review your travel insurance policy thoroughly, you will be aware of what is and isn’t covered if you need to file a claim.
B) No, not all travel insurance plans are equal.
Policies and insurers can differ on many levels. Unfortunately, some individuals become aware of these differences only in an emergency situation, when they need the best service available. Blue Cross is the most easily recognized insurer worldwide, and it is part of the largest and most respected medical network, which ensures that you have the best possible coverage, no matter where you travel.
Why are there always exclusions?
Every insurance policy has exclusions. An insurer cannot cover certain risks and still maintain affordable insurance premiums. The most common exclusions are
- A pre-existing illness, diagnosed before departure
- A trip taken against your doctor’s advice
- Risks taken by the insured that surpass those that are considered insurable, such as taking part in a race, an extreme sport or an illegal act, or using drugs
- Others, the details of which you can find in the What is not covered section of each benefit of your insurance policy booklet
Always read your policy so that you are prepared for any situation that may arise. You will find that almost all exclusions are standard in most travel insurance policies.
Do I have to complete a medical questionnaire?
A distinction must be made between a health declaration and a medical questionnaire.
A health declaration determines what will be covered and excluded, and indicates the travel insurance premium. The premium is based on risks associated with age, health condition and trip length.
A medical questionnaire is an option offered by Blue Cross to cover specific illnesses. You are not obligated to complete this questionnaire, but in some cases it is recommended. Simply ask your doctor to complete the questionnaire and send it to us. Your health condition will be assessed by the Blue Cross medical director; if you have a pre-existing condition that does not present an increased risk, it will be covered and you can leave on your trip with peace of mind.
I’m unable to purchase my travel insurance online. Why?
The online purchasing of travel insurance is not available for persons over 54 years old who are travelling for longer than 31 days and for persons over 75 years old regardless of the trip duration. Insurance premiums are determined by the risks associated with trip length, health condition and age, and with age, illnesses become more common. Determining the applicable rate involves many factors. For more information, please speak with one of our agents.
What is a pre-existing condition?
A pre-existing condition is a health condition that exists when you purchase your travel insurance contract or before you depart. A condition can be a cold, high blood pressure, or a recent or upcoming surgery, etc.
Based on your age, Blue Cross will determine whether your pre-existing condition is covered.
Can I get an insurance quote by email?
You can get a quote online or over the phone.
Unfortunately we cannot provide a travel insurance quote by email as quotes for certain trip durations and age groups are only available over the phone.
Can I purchase a travel insurance plan after I leave my province of residence?
Unfortunately, no. You must purchase travel insurance before you leave your province of residence.
I am planning a trip of more than 212 days. Why can’t I get a quote on your website?
Blue Cross travel insurance can be purchased only by residents holding a valid OHIP card, and most provincial health care plans have restrictions for trip durations out of the country. For trips longer than 212 days (in any 12 month period), a Blue Cross agent must verify that your OHIP coverage has been extended before allowing you to purchase a travel insurance plan to ensure that you are properly covered. If you are planning a trip of more than 212 days, please contact us.
How do I extend my travel insurance coverage if I travel for longer than originally expected?
You must contact us by phone before your contract or coverage expires. Requests for extension by email cannot be accepted. If you file a claim during the trip, your request for extension may be refused.
Can I extend my coverage online?
This functionality is not available at this time, but you can call us at no charge anytime before your policy expires to extend your coverage. You cannot extend your coverage if your policy has already expired.
How many destinations is my travel insurance policy valid for?
When you purchase a Blue Cross travel insurance plan, you are covered anywhere you travel in the world for the duration of the trip, as long as there are no travel warnings against the country, or war or hostilities indicated by the department of foreign affairs, trade and development.
Why can’t I select more than one destination when I get a quote online? How should I indicate that I want to visit more than one country during my trip?
We use trip destination information for statistical purposes only, so this doesn’t affect the validity of a policy. If you are visiting more than one country on your trip, you can indicate your main destination or select “Other.”
If I need to see a doctor during my trip, do I need to contact Blue Cross before I receive medical treatment?
Absolutely, unless it is impossible for you to do so. Contact our emergency medical assistance team, who will help direct you to the appropriate clinic or hospital and avoid delays and potential problems. Failure to contact us before you receive treatment could result in the denial of your claim.
Our assistance team is available 24/7 and will direct you to the best available services. Don’t forget to take your assistance card with you (detachable on the back of your policy) or add the emergency numbers as contacts on your mobile phone.
If I need to consult a doctor during my coverage period, should I contact Blue Cross first?
If a medical emergency prevents you from contacting us, or if you don’t have access to a phone, have someone contact us on your behalf.
If I am already covered by another insurance policy for the first portion of my trip, can I purchase additional insurance from Blue Cross for the additional days of coverage I require?
We offer top-up insurance, but you must verify with your other insurer that they permit top-up coverage from another insurer. Top-up coverage may only be purchased by contacting us.
Would I be covered if I had a planned treatment or operation during an out-of-province trip?
We do not provide coverage for planned medical treatment abroad. Travel insurance is designed to cover unexpected emergency medical care only, so someone awaiting a surgery or treatment cannot have the related condition covered by a travel plan.
If you must receive treatments abroad, the treatments will be covered by OHIP only if they are authorized first. If they are not, you are responsible for the medical and transportation fees. If you are seeking medical care abroad, we will not be able to sell you an insurance policy for your trip.
Is it possible to purchase a policy for more than one year?
The maximum permissible length of a policy is 365 days, with a possibility of extension. The extension can be requested only at the end of the one-year contract, before its expiry date. If a claim is submitted during the initial period of coverage, CanAssistance must approve your request for extension.
Can I contact Blue Cross toll-free while I’m travelling?
Yes, you can call us directly from within Canada and the United States. In the other countries, contact the international operator through the Canada Direct service and call us collect.
I have a chronic illness. Can I still be covered?
It depends on the illness, and its severity and stability. Travel insurance may not be available in cases of certain illnesses, but some illnesses are easily covered. Other illnesses require three- or six-month stability, depending on age. For specific illnesses, Blue Cross offers the possibility of coverage with a medical questionnaire (offered to persons over age 54 who are travelling for longer than 31 days and to those 76 years old and over), which should be completed by your treating physician. Blue Cross’ medical team will then evaluate your condition, and if it’s approved, you can travel worry-free: your chronic illness will also be covered.