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Travel information

Updated: June 23, 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® has temporarily paused sales of all travel coverage plans (including emergency medical, trip cancellation and interruption and coverage extensions) until this situation is resolved.

The Government of Canada continues to advise Canadians to avoid non-essential travel outside Canada. Even as vaccinations roll out in Canada and around the world, travel continues to present a risk of importing cases of COVID-19 and its variants.

Effective July 5, 2021, fully vaccinated Canadians can enter Canada without having to quarantine, as long as they test negative for COVID-19. This is the first phase to easing Canada’s border measures.

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. We look forward to serving your travel coverage needs once it's safe to travel again.

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.

No, Alberta Blue Cross is only selling travel plans for essential travel or if you are travelling within Canada. We will start selling travel plans once the travel advisory is downgraded or lifted and the Canada-United States border re-opens.

Under the Travel benefit:

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.

Under the Extended Health benefit:

COVID-19 testing costs are not covered under the Extended Health Benefit.

Under a Health Spending Account:

Currently all COVID-19 testing costs are not covered under a Health Spending Account.

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.

This can be claimed under your Health Spending Account as long as it is submitted with all of the required information, such as a pharmacy receipt, DIN, patients name and other relevant information.

If you are travelling, subject to the terms and conditions of your benefit plan, you may be covered for emergency-related incidents excluding anything related to COVID-19 (any costs incurred due to isolation or quarantine are considered COVID-19 related.)

As of March 13, 2020, the Government of Canada has issued an official notice to avoid all non-essential travel outside of Canada. In accordance with this notice, Alberta Blue Cross emergency medical travel insurance will not provide coverage for any claims related to COVID-19 incurred outside Canada for departures commencing March 14, 2020 or after.

We recommend you check the Canadian travel advisories frequently. But, it’s critical to check before you book your trip and right before you leave.

Currently, the Government of Canada travel advisory is at a level three, which is to avoid non-essential travel. So, before we can sell travel insurance again, this advisory will need to become a level two: to exercise a high degree of caution, a level one: exercise normal security precautions or be removed completely.

Our number one priority is your safety and the safety of others, which is why we must abide by these levels. For more information on the risk levels, visit the Government of Canada’s travel advisories webpage.

Similar to the above, the current level three travel advisory advises against non-essential travel including travel to the United States. Before we can sell travel insurance to go to the United States, this advisory also needs to become a level two, one or removed completely. Plus, the Canada-U.S. border will need to re-open.

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.

Trip cancellation coverage is intended to cover non-refundable and non-transferrable costs; credits or vouchers are not eligible.

Effective March 12, 2020, COVID-19 is no longer being considered an unknown risk. COVID-19 is now considered a “known issue”. If you purchase trip cancellation, interruption and baggage insurance on or after March 12, 2020, you will not have coverage for claims related to COVID-19—regardless of whether there was a travel ban or advisory published prior to travel.

Please visit the Government of Canada’s travel website for travel advice and advisories.

Several provinces and territories have implemented travel restrictions for those who are not residents of that region. Some provinces are also imposing mandatory 14-day quarantine for travellers coming from other parts of Canada.

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, 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.

If a Government of Canada travel advisory to “avoid non-essential travel” or “avoid all travel” is not in place, full travel benefits, including COVID-19 related incidents, are eligible in accordance with the terms of the policy.

The Canada-U.S. land border remains closed for non-essential travellers.

If you were travelling prior to the border closures and travel restrictions and voluntarily chose to remain at your destination, your coverage has not been extended.

It is imperative that you follow the travel advisory to avoid all non-essential travel as Alberta Blue Cross may be unable to assist you due to the scale of the crisis and the limited availability of medical resources abroad.

As of March 13, 2020, the Government of Canada has issued an official notice to avoid all non-essential travel outside of Canada. Alberta Blue Cross will ensure all plan members who are required to cross the border for their job and are deemed to be essential by the government, such as truck drivers and pilots who are transporting essential goods and services, will continue to receive emergency medical travel coverage including any claims related to COVID-19. This is subject to all other terms and conditions of their benefits plan.

As this situation is quickly changing we will continue to keep you informed if there are any changes.

If you experience a medical emergency or you’re quarantined while travelling, please contact travel assistance.

Travel emergency contact info can 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.

As of March 9, 2020, the Government of Canada advised Canadians to avoid all cruise travel due to coronavirus (COVID-19). As a result, Alberta Blue Cross now considers all cruise ships to be regions or areas with COVID-19 related travel advisories. If you take a cruise after this date, and 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 if your illness or injury is directly or indirectly related to COVID-19.

If you would like to submit a refund request for an upcoming trip, fill out and submit the Travel Refund Request form or call us at 1-800-394-1965. We offer full refunds for trips not taken.

At this time, we will not be selling plan extensions.