Travel Medical Coverage

You and your eligible dependents enrolled in the health plan have emergency travel medical coverage, which is important when you are travelling outside of Canada. Support for this coverage is provided by Sun Life’s partner, Global Excel Management (GEM).

Medical Emergency

A medical emergency means an acute illness or accidental injury that requires immediate, medically necessary treatment prescribed by a doctor.

What's Covered

Reasonable medical services or supplies, including advice, treatment, medical procedures or surgery, required as a result of a medical emergency.

Coverage is available for a maximum of 180 days from your date of departure. There is no maximum dollar limit.

What isN't Covered

When you or your family member has a chronic condition, emergency services do not include treatment provided as part of an established management program that existed before leaving your province of residence.

The plan does not cover expenses if you need to cancel your trip before you leave home, or if you experience delays on your trip that are not related to a medical emergency. For protection from these types of expenses, you may wish to purchase trip cancellation/interruption insurance.

Before You Leave Home

  • Pack your Sun Life travel card, which shows the telephone numbers for GEM. You can find a card:
    • on the My Sun Life mobile app.
    • by logging in to your My Sun Life  account.
    • in your travel brochure (make sure to fill in your name, contract 25379 and your university ID).
  • Take your provincial health card with you or know your number.
  • Consult the Government of Canada's Travel and Tourism information or call GEM to ensure there are no travel warnings for your destination.

In a Medical Emergency

Call GEM immediately, even before seeking medical attention. If you can't call immediately, call as soon as possible. You can call collect or ask the customer service representative to call you right back. If you have to pay for the call yourself, keep your receipts and submit them to GEM for reimbursement.

You are required to contact GEM at the time of the medical emergency. If you don’t call and emergency services are provided when contact could reasonably have been made, then payments could be limited or denied for all expenses related to the emergency.

When You Call

  • You will be asked to describe the situation and reason for your call.
  • GEM will collect your personal details to confirm coverage, arrange treatment and stay in touch.
  • You will need to sign a medical release form authorizing GEM to gather information required to monitor your care.
  • GEM will give you a file number — write it down for future reference. You will need it when you call for updates.
  • If you need a referral to an appropriate provider (e.g., hospital, doctor, pharmacy), GEM will make arrangements and call you back with details, usually within the hour. They will explain where you are to go and the time of your appointment. When you arrive, the provider will be expecting you.
  • Your medical condition and treatment are monitored throughout the emergency. GEM will stay in contact with your provider and will follow up with you regularly to ensure you're receiving the care you need.
  • Sometimes based on the medical information and treatment plan provided, GEM medical staff will determine whether you should be transported home or to a different medical facility to ensure appropriate treatment. All transportation arrangements will be made by GEM and explained to you.

How Expenses are Paid

  • GEM medical staff must pre-approve all invasive and investigative procedures (e.g., MRIs, CT scans) prior to being performed to determine whether they are emergency services. You and the provider will be called with any pre-approvals, usually within two hours of your initial call.
    • Note: Your benefits cover only emergency services.
  • Whenever possible, GEM arranges medical expense payments to a provider. You should not receive an invoice from a provider, but if you do, don't pay it — just send it to GEM.
  • If you incur eligible out-of-pocket expenses, such as prescription drugs, you can send your receipts directly to GEM for reimbursement.
  • Since GEM coordinates payment of your expenses with your provincial health care plan, you must complete an authorization and release form so they can submit your claim. The form will usually be sent to your home address and will be there when you return home. Otherwise, you’ll receive it after you submit your claim to GEM.

Submit a Claim

  1. Collect original and itemized receipts. Receipts must show the services provided, dates, diagnosis and the names and addresses of the providers (e.g., hospital, doctor).
  2. Obtain a copy of your medical records from your providers.
  3. Contact GEM to confirm which form(s) you need to use and where to send them.

Coverage While Travelling During COVID-19

  • A medical emergency resulting from COVID-19 will be treated the same way as any other medical emergency outside Canada.
  • If you do not have a medical emergency, you will not be covered for accommodation, travel or related expenses you incur due to trip delays or cancellations.
  • If your travel home is delayed by a border closure due to COVID-19 or a wait for a COVID-19 test, the travel duration limit continues to apply.