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Posted by Vincent Soucy, FCIA, FSA, March 11 2020
News
Covid-19 and Your Group Insurance Coverage

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The coronavirus has been making headlines non-stop for the past few weeks, and its impact on people’s daily lives is becoming increasingly apparent (cancelled events, postponed trips, etc.). Of course, the outbreak is also raising its share of questions pertaining to group insurance. What will happen if I catch the virus while I am travelling? Does it fall under disability coverage? What if my employer asks me to remain in quarantine (for example, for 14 days)? Here are some answers to the questions you may have!

TRAVEL INSURANCE 

If your plan includes this benefit, the travel cancellation expenses could qualify for reimbursement, providing the Government of Canada notice recommending to avoid travel to the destination was issued after the insured member finalized the arrangements for the covered trip. A maximum amount is also applicable to the reimbursement based on each policy’s provisions (often $5,000). 

Please note that several airlines have announced that they would allow customers to postpone flights without charge for tickets purchased before the travel warning advisory was issued. 

If your group insurance plan does not include the travel cancellation benefit, you could check with your credit card provider, as many cards come with such coverage. Of course, to get this protection, the expenses must have been charged to this card. 

TRAVEL CANCELLATION INSURANCE 

If your plan includes this benefit, the travel cancellation expenses could qualify for reimbursement, providing the Government of Canada notice recommending to avoid travel to the destination was issued after the insured member finalized the arrangements for the covered trip. A maximum amount is also applicable to the reimbursement based on each policy’s provisions (often $5,000).

Please note that several airlines have announced that they would allow customers to postpone flights without charge for tickets purchased before the travel warning advisory was issued. 

If your group insurance plan does not include the travel cancellation benefit, you could check with your credit card provider, as many cards come with such coverage. Of course, to get this protection, the expenses must have been charged to this card.

MEDICAL EXPENSES IN CANADA 

So far, there is no specific treatment or vaccine for COVID-19. Therefore, no specific reimbursement should be expected. The other medical expenses and prescription drugs will be covered as stipulated in the policy. 

DISABILITY 

Insured members who miss work because they contracted COVID-19 will have their absences treated just like any other absence under the disability provisions of the policy. 

Moreover, under certain conditions, an insured member who is quarantined for a certain period (e.g.: 14 days) could be eligible for short-term disability benefits. If a group insurance plan does not include short-term disability coverage, the employee could turn to Employment Insurance that provides sickness benefits because of quarantine, if certain conditions are met. Of course, if an employee is able to continue working from a remote location (telecommuting), no benefit will be payable.

OTHERS QUESTIONS?

AGA Benefit Solutions is closely tracking the coronavirus situation, and we will keep you informed of any developments that may affect group insurance plans. 

Do you have any other questions? Do not hesitate to consult our dedicated webpage on the coronavirus.

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Holding a Bachelor degree in Actuarial Science and a Fellowship with the Canadian Institute of Actuaries, Vincent Soucy worked for the first 10 years of his career in an actuarial consulting firm where he advised national clients on their benefit and retirement plans. He joined AGA in March 2014 and now supervises the consulting, underwriting and actuarial teams.
Vincent Soucy, FCIA, FSA