Important information about COVID-19

Looking to get a COVID-19 immunization? Find a participating pharmacy near you.


For updates on travel restrictions, virtual care or prescriptions drugs, click here.

Version française

Travel information

Updated: September 24, 2021

Aligning with direction from the federal government advising against non-essential travel during the COVID-19 pandemic, and as international borders remain closed to most travel, Alberta Blue Cross® temporarily paused sales of all travel coverage plans (including emergency medical, trip cancellation and interruption and coverage extensions) until this situation was resolved. We also advised our customers with travel benefits through their employer that they would not be covered for COVID-19 in the event of a medical emergency outside of Canada.

The Government of Canada continues to advise Canadians to avoid non-essential travel outside Canada. We understand life goes on, and there may be cases where you choose to travel despite these advisories. And we’re happy to see that vaccination rates are continuing to rise, which is making way for both provincial and national re-openings and the removal of many pandemic restrictions.

Even though there’s still a travel advisory in place, we’ve heard from our customers and want to support them in their choice to travel. As of July 28, 2021, Alberta Blue Cross will resume selling travel insurance. We will also provide coverage for COVID-19 related incidents for customers who have emergency travel benefits through their employer benefit plan.

For all customers purchasing trip cancellation and interruption coverage, COVID-19 will not be an eligible reason for cancellation as it’s now a known and anticipated event.

While we continue to support the federal government’s position on avoiding non-essential travel, we do want to support our customers’ choice by providing travel coverage to protect them.

Both new and existing travel plans will include COVID-19 coverage for emergencies—including customers with travel benefits through their employer benefit plan and individual health plan members. This includes extended hospital stays, ventilators costs and transportation home. Coverage will not include vaccines, COVID-19 tests or costs associated with having to quarantine. We will also not be providing emergency medical coverage for COVID-19 for individuals who choose to go on cruises.

Note: we are ONLY lifting travel exclusions as they relate to COVID-19; other travel advisories for specific countries are still in effect. We encourage all travellers to consult the Government of Canada travel advisory page prior to any travel outside of Canada.

Your safety and well-being and health and wellness of our community are our top priority and we want to do our part to ensure we help prevent the spread of COVID-19. We believe that in such circumstances, limiting travel and encouraging our community to follow the recommendations of public health authorities is greatly aligned with our mission to be your partner in health and wellness. We encourage you to stay informed as this situation changes and monitor our website for the most up-to-date information.

If you have questions about this update, please contact our travel team directly at 1-800-394-1965 and select option 4.

Frequently asked travel questions

If navigating the current pandemic has taught us anything, it’s to not take certain things in life for granted—one of those being travel. For many of us, COVID-19 has impacted travel plans near and far and we are itching to find out when it will be safe to visit our favourite international destinations again.

Though we don’t have all the answers to your questions, here are some frequently asked travel questions and answers to help put your mind at ease.

For our individual health customers

If the testing is due to exposure and the individual is not symptomatic, this would not be emergent and would not be covered. If required for emergent care or the individual is symptomatic, this would be covered.

As COVID-19 is now a known and anticipated event, it will not be covered.

In the event of a medical emergency, please call our travel assistance provider using the phone numbers below before hospitalization.

Travel emergency contact info can also be found on the back of your Alberta Blue Cross ID card and at abcrosstravel.ca. For more information on what to do if you experience a medical emergency while travelling visit the CanAssistance website.

If you must extend your stay, promptly contact the Alberta Blue Cross travel department at 1-800-394-1965 (option four) to find out if you are eligible for an extension. Make sure you contact us before the expiry date of your travel coverage.

The coverage is for up to $5 million (CAD) per person per trip.

Medical evacuation air ambulance services must be medically necessary. The cost of air evacuation between hospitals, for hospital admission into your Canadian province or territory of residence, or when ordered by the attending physician or the travel assistance service provider and approved by your government health plan provider or by us will be covered. If the air ambulance benefit is used, the unused portion of your air ticket must be surrendered to us.

When your medical emergency is such that the attending physician or the travel assistance service provider specifies in writing that you should immediately return to your Canadian province or territory of residence for immediate medical treatment, we will reimburse the extra cost incurred for the purchase of one way economy airfare on a commercial flight.

In the event you are unable to return to Canada due to quarantine, we will automatically extend the emergency travel insurance coverage of insured members who have to quarantine because of COVID-19 and whose contract was in effect on the date the quarantine began.

We define a quarantine as being the isolation, for a determined period, of a sick or potentially infected individual to limit the transmission of a contagious disease.

To be considered “in quarantine” you must therefore be
  • potentially infected or infected with COVID-19; and
  • placed in isolation for a period determined by the health authorities (often 14 days) to protect the health of the population.

If you are placed in quarantine, your coverage will be extended free of charge until 72 hours after the end of the quarantine or until you return to your province of residence, whichever comes first.

Alberta Blue Cross travel benefit covers medical emergencies only. COVID-19 screening tests, meals, accommodations and a new airline ticket or change in departure resulting from the need for a COVID-19 test or a positive COVID-19 test result are not covered under the travel benefit.

Yes; you will be covered for COVID-19 if you have not had any symptoms or a diagnosis in the 90 days prior to your departure date. You also cannot be awaiting a test result or have been in contact with anyone who tested positive in the last 14 days.

No; if your service provider (travel agency or airline) offers you a travel credit, you will not be able to submit a claim for this amount.

No. You cannot insure a travel credit or voucher as they have no monetary value.

Alberta Blue Cross travel benefits cover medical emergencies only. COVID-19 screening tests, meals, accommodations and new airline tickets or changes in departure resulting from COVID-19 testing or a positive COVID-19 test result are not covered under the travel benefit.

You are eligible to purchase travel coverage if you haven’t been diagnosed with COVID-19 and you aren’t showing symptoms of COVID-19 within the 90 days prior to your departure date.

COVID-19 vaccinations can be claimed under your Health Spending Account as long as they are submitted with all of the required information, such as the pharmacy receipt, DIN, patient’s name and any other relevant information.

If you travel within Canada, you will be covered for COVID-19 related incidents, in excess of your provincial health coverage and in accordance with the terms of your policy. If you have an incident while travelling within Canada, most costs will be coordinated through your provincial health plan, but not all. For example, hospital and physician expenses are covered by provincial health plans, while medical repatriation and air ambulance are not.

You could be subject to another provincial government restriction. For example, entry refusal or requirement for you to self-isolate as you enter the province and return to your home province. Emergency travel benefits do not cover expenses for a self-quarantine period, unless medically required. We encourage you to check the government recommendations and restrictions for the province you are travelling to closer to your travel date.

If you are hospitalized within Canada and request repatriation to your home province, this would be considered when medically necessary, and then to the nearest appropriate facility.

The Government of Canada is advising Canadians to avoid all cruise travel until further notice. If you board a cruise while there is an avoid “all” or “non-essential” travel advisory in place for cruise ships before you leave, emergency medical coverage will not be provided to an illness or injury that is directly related to COVID-19.

For our customers who have benefits through their employer

Yes, COVID-19 test fees are considered eligible to deduct as a medical expense by the Canadian Revenue Agency under a Health Spending Account when accompanied with a prescription from a medical doctor, pharmacist, nurse or dentist. Tests are also eligible under a Wellness Spending Account with no prescription required. This applies to tests done within Canada and the new government requirement for tests done outside of Canada prior to boarding an incoming flight.

Medical evacuation air ambulance services must be medically necessary. The cost of air evacuation between hospitals, for hospital admission into your Canadian province or territory of residence, or when ordered by the attending physician or the travel assistance service provider and approved by your government health plan provider or by us will be covered. If the air ambulance benefit is used, the unused portion of your air ticket must be surrendered to us.

When your medical emergency is such that the attending physician or the travel assistance service provider specifies in writing that you should immediately return to your Canadian province or territory of residence for immediate medical treatment, we will reimburse the extra cost incurred for the purchase of one way economy airfare on a commercial flight.

In the event you are unable to return to Canada due to quarantine, we will automatically extend the emergency travel insurance coverage of insured members who have to quarantine because of COVID-19 and whose contract was in effect on the date the quarantine began.

We define a quarantine as being the isolation, for a determined period, of a sick or potentially infected individual to limit the transmission of a contagious disease.

To be considered “in quarantine” you must therefore be
  • potentially infected or infected with COVID-19; and
  • placed in isolation for a period determined by the health authorities (often 14 days) to protect the health of the population.

If you are placed in quarantine, your coverage will be extended free of charge until 72 hours after the end of the quarantine or until you return to your province of residence, whichever comes first.

Alberta Blue Cross travel benefit covers medical emergencies only. COVID-19 screening tests, meals, accommodations and a new airline ticket or change in departure resulting from the need for a COVID-19 test or a positive COVID-19 test result are not covered under the travel benefit.

In the event of a medical emergency, please call our travel assistance provider using the phone numbers below before hospitalization.

Travel emergency contact info can also be found on the back of your Alberta Blue Cross ID card and at abcrosstravel.ca. For more information on what to do if you experience a medical emergency while travelling visit the CanAssistance website.

Alberta Blue Cross travel benefits cover medical emergencies only. COVID-19 screening tests, meals, accommodations and new airline tickets or changes in departure resulting from COVID-19 testing or a positive COVID-19 test result are not covered under the travel benefit.

COVID-19 vaccinations can be claimed under your Health Spending Account as long as they are submitted with all of the required information, such as the pharmacy receipt, DIN, patient’s name and any other relevant information.

If you travel within Canada, you will be covered for COVID-19 related incidents, in excess of your provincial health coverage and in accordance with the terms of your policy. If you have an incident while travelling within Canada, most costs will be coordinated through your provincial health plan, but not all. For example, hospital and physician expenses are covered by provincial health plans, while medical repatriation and air ambulance are not.

You could be subject to another provincial government restriction. For example, entry refusal or requirement for you to self-isolate as you enter the province and return to your home province. Emergency travel benefits do not cover expenses for a self-quarantine period, unless medically required. We encourage you to check the government recommendations and restrictions for the province you are travelling to closer to your travel date.

If you are hospitalized within Canada and request repatriation to your home province, this would be considered when medically necessary, and then to the nearest appropriate facility.

The Government of Canada is advising Canadians to avoid all cruise travel until further notice. If you board a cruise while there is an avoid “all” or “non-essential” travel advisory in place for cruise ships before you leave, emergency medical coverage will not be provided to an illness or injury that is directly related to COVID-19.