What you should know and expect when travelling outside Canada

When travelling internationally, unexpected events can happen. Everything from extreme weather and political unrest to contagious diseases can potentially spoil your trip. If you’re thinking about booking your winter travel, it’s important to prepare yourself with as much information about your destination as you can.

Travel and COVID-19

Government and health authority restrictions and guidelines due to COVID-19 have changed the nature of travel and vacationing. In the midst of a global pandemic, common wisdom suggests avoiding travel altogether. If restrictions on travel lift, and you must travel, there are many new considerations that will most definitely affect your journey. Here are a few examples of things to be aware of before you leave home:

  • Keep up to date on the COVID-19 situation at home and at your destination. The spread of COVID-19 seems to rise, fall, and rise again. Areas that appear to be stable can experience unexpected spikes in the number of cases being reported. Be aware of this and be prepared for entry and exit requirements to change quickly and unexpectedly. For example, some destinations will require you to quarantine for 2 weeks upon arrival, and you might also need to quarantine for 2 weeks after returning home. You might need to complete questionnaires, provide proof of good health and so on.
  • If you have any symptoms of COVID-19, stay home. Be prepared to be tested for COVID-19 symptoms at the airport.
  • If you have Trip Cancellation* coverage, for most plans, COVID-19 is deemed a known event  (check your benefits booklet to confirm). Learn more: Frequently Asked Questions - COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) and your Manulife Group Benefits plan
  •  As each country or region deals with COVID-19 in their own way, many new procedures and restrictions are being put in place. Furthermore, medical resources (hospitals, doctors) might be stretched. This means it can be much more difficult for Allianz to provide travel assistance if you experience any kind of emergency (COVID-19 related or otherwise), and there could be lengthy delays. For example, consider a patient who needs to be airlifted because he has the coronavirus: all aircrew flying the plane and all medical staff on the air ambulance could be required to quarantine after a single flight. You can imagine the pressure this puts on these vital but limited resources.

Remember, even if you are travelling by car, there’s still a risk. So, plan carefully and know what to do if you experience an emergency. As long as COVID-19 presents a health risk, travelling between regions is going to be more complicated and a riskier undertaking.

*Travel insurance does not cover everything. All claims will be reviewed on an individual basis, and will remain subject to the terms, conditions and exclusions of the policy. For complete terms, conditions, limitations and exclusions, please refer to the policy. Group Trip Cancellation benefits are underwritten by Allianz Global Risks US Insurance Company and administered by Allianz Global Assistance, which is a registered business name of AZGA Service Canada Inc.

We want to help make sure you have a safe and happy trip, so we have some tips to share – especially if you are travelling outside of Canada.

Before you travel

1. The Travel Assistance phone numbers are located on your benefits card, including the toll-free number. Additional information for how to dial from popular destinations is located at the end of this communication. If you are unsure of how to contact Allianz from the destination you are travelling to, call Allianz (1-800-265-9977) before you leave to confirm the best number to use from the country you’re visiting. Keep it with you while travelling.

In case of an emergency, know how to make local calls and calls to back Canada while travelling internationally (use a landline when possible). It may be helpful to contact your mobile phone provider for details and tips for use while travelling.

2. Download the Allianz Global Assistance TripWise app for iPhone and Android.

Features include:

  • Flight status check
  • International hospital locator
  • Medication dictionary
  • Plus, your Allianz Global Assistance toll-free contact numbers can be stored right in the app, so they’re ready when you need them.

3. Take photos of important documents so there’s no need to search for the originals, e.g. passport and benefits cards.

4. Find out as much as you can about the places you’re travelling to.

Be aware of any:

  • Health risks, e.g. COVID-19 outbreak
  • Weather warnings, e.g. hurricanes
  • Political or civil unrest, e.g. acts of terrorism
  • Any other recent or anticipated event that might affect your travel to and from the area, or your health and safety during your stay.

Note: It’s highly recommended that you check travel advisories for the countries you will be visiting. Do this before you book your trip and before you travel.

Visit: travel.gc.ca/travelling/advisories

Remember, if you have Trip Cancellation coverage (check your benefits booklet to confirm), COVID-19 travel related advisories are not a covered reason as COVID-19 has been deemed a known event.

5. Visit these websites:

For information on:

  • Local currency/exchange rates
  • Visa requirements
  • Vaccinations/inoculations
  • Health risks, etc.
  • Requirements to provide proof of out-of-country travel health insurance.

Note: If you need to carry proof of coverage, contact Manulife’s Customer Service Centre using the number on your benefits card or through Send A Note on the plan member secure site. They’ll send you a letter or email to confirm that you have out-of-country travel health insurance through your group benefits plan. Carry this letter and your benefits card with you when travelling.

6. Read and understand your benefits plan and what it covers. Pay special attention to anything not covered in various situations, e.g. the use of alcohol.1

7. Ensure you have enough of your medications and carry each in its original packaging (but leave any cannabis products at home).

Note: It’s particularly important to understand the benefits of Emergency Travel Assistance – what you need to do and who you need to call if you need medical aid while travelling abroad.

While you’re travelling

What to do if you require medical attention

As soon as possible: if you’re able, call the 24-hour emergency phone number on the back of your Manulife benefits card. If you can’t make the call yourself before seeking treatment, have a friend or family member call Allianz Global Assistance from the hospital once you are there. Do not rely on the hospital to call for you.

Allianz will ask some questions about your emergency and any potentially related medical history. Providing accurate information will help make sure you receive the right help and information about your coverage.

Here are a few things the Allianz Global Assistance representative will ask:

  1. Details about the incident and the type of assistance you require.
  2. Your full name, group plan number, plan member certificate number, and benefits card group number.
  3. The patient’s name and confirmation of provincial health insurance coverage.
  4. Details about you, your symptoms and location to provide guidance on next steps and identify the appropriate care for your situation.

For more information:

https://www.allianz-assistance.ca/aga/assistance-en/emergency-medical-care.html

Coming soon! Virtual Care

To assist when you need it most, Allianz Global Assistance provides guided care, collecting details to understand your emergency and making a recommendation for the right level of care based on your unique situation. This helps to avoid potentially unnecessary, lengthy Emergency Room visits and will soon include Virtual Care, Allianz’s Telemedicine services, as a part of your travel benefits.

When medically appropriate, Virtual Care will allow patients to obtain the necessary medical care from their current location via mobile device, without the need for transportation arrangements or long waits, and it limits the contact and exposure to contagions such as COVID-19.

If asked to pay up front

Call Allianz Global Assistance immediately. They will attempt to pay the medical provider directly, so you’re not out of pocket. Acceptance of billing information is solely at the discretion of the medical provider, so at times members may be required to provide the up-front payment. Ensure you obtain an itemized invoice for your claim submission.

Note: Some policies have a Small Claims Filing Clause, which means that if the total cost of treatment is less than $200 CAD, you will pay up front. To claim this back you would:

  1. Submit the receipt to your government health insurance, who would provide partial reimbursement, then
  2. Submit the remaining amount to your group benefits provider.

Do not surrender your passport

If asked to surrender your passport due to a medical incident or emergency, refuse to do so and contact Allianz Global Assistance immediately.

About your coverage2

While travelling outside of your province of residence, you’re covered for:

  • Immediate medical treatment for a sudden, unexpected injury, a new medical condition or a specific medical problem or chronic condition that was medically stable3 prior to departure.
  • Emergencies related to normal pregnancies, so long as travel is completed at least 4 weeks (check benefits booklet to confirm) before the due date.

Valid Government Health Insurance Plan (GHIP) coverage is required for you and your dependents.

Note: A medical emergency ends when, based on the medical evidence, a patient is considered stable enough to return to their home province or territory.

More helpful things to know

Medical records: Depending on the nature of the incident, medical records may be required from a plan member’s Canadian medical providers as well as from the medical provider who was seen during the medical emergency. You may be asked to provide your authorization to access these records.

Travel claims can take longer to process than regular health and dental claims: When you call Allianz Global Assistance and start the claims process, you’ll be sent the required forms. As soon as Allianz receives these forms, they can begin to collect the information necessary to process your claim. Please be aware that COVID-19 has also created unusual delays in travel claims processing.

Collection notices: Sometimes medical providers involve collection agencies to recover overdue payments. Call Allianz Global Assistance immediately if you receive a call or collection notice related to your out-of-country emergency claim. Allianz Global Assistance will work directly with the medical provider or collection agent to resolve the issue.

Coming soon! Claims portal

An easier way to submit your claims. Coming soon, Allianz will launch a self-serve Claims Portal. If you couldn’t contact Allianz in real time and incurred out-of-pocket expenses, you’ll be able submit your claim online. The tool allows you to submit your claim digitally, upload documents, and track the status of your claim directly online.

Watch for more information coming soon.

Calling Allianz Global Assistance

The Canada/U.S. toll-free or collect numbers are printed on the back of your benefits card (1-800-265-9977). You can also reach Allianz Global Assistance toll-free from countries that participate in the Universal International Toll-Free (UITF) service by using the international toll-free number printed on the back of your benefits card.4

Note: In some countries, calls may be routed via the internet to a US phone carrier. If the international toll-free number does not get you through to Allianz Global Assistance, please dial the Canada/USA 1-800 number, or call collect.5 See below for tips on how to call from Cuba, Mexico and the Dominican Republic.

If you are planning to take your cell phone out of country, please ensure your phone is set-up to do so before you travel, including enabling roaming. This will help you be prepared and prevent possible issues when you are trying to use your cell phone in the event of an emergency. Contact your cellular provider for more guidance (before you travel). Landlines are a reliable option.

  • Certain destinations prevent outbound collect calls, such as Cuba and international cruises. If you need to contact Allianz Global Assistance from a location from which you are unable to access the toll-free number, dial directly: 1 519 741-8450. You can ask Allianz Global Assistance to call you back to minimize your out-of-pocket costs. You will be reimbursed for telephone charges incurred to call Allianz Global Assistance, excluding roaming charges.
  • Toll-free from Mexico: 00 1 800 514-3702. In some areas of Mexico, only one zero of the international code (i.e. 001) is needed. You should confirm the prefix numbers upon arrival.
  • Toll-free from Dominican Republic: 1 888 751-4403.
  • UITF: Country code + 800 9221-9221. The UITF number is an 11-digit number with the middle set of numbers comprised of four digits, rather than the three-digit North American format. The country code refers to the country you are calling from and not the country you are calling. Again, you should confirm the correct country code when you arrive at your destination. Check online or take advantage of the pre-trip assistance services offered by Allianz Global Assistance to find country codes before you leave.

1 Travellers are required to meet the terms, conditions and eligibility requirements of their travel insurance policy in order for their coverage to be in effect. The requirement to purchase additional coverage does not void or cancel the existing coverage from Manulife.

2 All plans are subject to specific limits and maximums. To confirm which services you are eligible for, you should refer to your benefits booklet, or speak to your plan administrator or a Manulife representative.

3 A medical problem or chronic condition is considered medically stable if, in the past 90 days, you have not been treated or tested for new conditions or symptoms; your existing symptoms haven’t increased or worsened; you haven’t changed treatments or medications; you haven’t been hospitalized for treatment of an existing condition; you do not have appointments or tests planned after your return home.

4 UITF countries include Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea (South), Luxembourg, Macao, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, United Kingdom (England and Scotland). This listing is subject to change. For countries not reflected on the current list, plan members should continue to use the collect number provided on their benefits card.

5 The reliability or quality of phone lines outside Canada are not guaranteed. This is beyond our control.

What to carry checklist

  • Passport (original and photo)
  • Benefits card (original and photo)
  • Provincial health insurance card (original and photo)
  • Proof of out-of-country travel health insurance if needed
  • Allianz Global Assistance toll-free/collect call numbers
  • The TripWise app on your Android device or iPhone

Allianz medical emergency scenario specific resources:

Calling Allianz Global Assistance

If you need to call from Cuba, call Allianz Global Assistance directly:

1 519 741-8450

Cuba does not allow for toll-free calls or collect calls. Dial Allianz Global Assistance directly and you can ask them to call you back to minimize your out-of-pocket costs.

Toll-free from Mexico:

00 1 800 514-3702

In some areas of Mexico, only one zero of the international code (i.e. 001) is needed. You should confirm the prefix numbers upon arrival.

Toll-free from Dominican Republic:

1 888 751-4403

UITF:

Country code + 800 9221-9221

The UITF number is an 11-digit number with the middle set of numbers comprised of four digits, rather than the three-digit North American format. The country code refers to the country you are calling from and not the country you are calling. Again, you should confirm the correct country code when you arrive at your destination. Double check the country code before you leave on your trip. If you need assistance call Allianz Global Assistance and their pre-trip assistance team can help you.

Want to know more about Manulife travel insurance?

Visit https://www.manulife.ca/for-you/insurance/explore/travel.html

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