Out of country benefit

An important and valued feature of the extended health benefit is the Canada Life (formerly Great-West Life) out of country travel benefit which covers 100% of medically necessary services or supplies required as a result of a medical emergency, up to $1,000,000 (Canadian) per lifetime per covered person.

Note that the benefit pays the difference between reasonable and customary charges of medically necessary services or supplies and the amount paid by the government health insurance plan for the treatment of a medical emergency.

A medical emergency is defined as an "unforeseen event." That is, a sudden, unexpected illness or injury or an acute episode of disease requiring immediate medical attention.

Routine visits or treatments relating to an unstable pre-existing condition are not covered. Pre-existing conditions would be any personal illness or health condition that was known and existed prior to travel, i.e. heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, type 2 diabetes, and asthma are some examples. A previously identified medical condition must be stable and controlled for a period of three months immediately prior to the patient's departure from Canada. In such cases the patient may be required to provide medical documentation showing there were no complications such as hospitalizations, medication changes or doctors’ visits (the cost of obtaining this documentation is the members' responsibility). As well as no new or ongoing symptoms for that condition during the three month period immediately prior to their departure date. Your decision to travel should be supported by your medical records and your doctor.

Emergency contact information

United Healthcare Global (UHCG) is the provider Canada Life (formerly Great-West Life) partners with for emergency medical assistance. If you have a medical emergency, you must call UHCG using the helpline number as soon as possible. The helpline numbers are available for use anywhere in the world, 24 hours a day seven days a week, to obtain assistance. Our group policy number is 57130 and your certificate number is your employee ID number.

Always travel with your benefits ID card, which includes your policy number, employee ID number and the necessary emergency contact numbers.

Toll free:

  • From within Canada and U.S.A call 1-800-527-0218
  • From within the United Kingdom call 0-800-252-074
  • From within Mexico call 001-800-101-0061

Call collect from anywhere in the world:

  • Baltimore, U.S.A call 410-453-6330

If you have difficulty with any of the toll-free numbers, please call Baltimore collect.

Coverage

Depending on the nature of your emergency, UHCG will be able to coordinate direct billing on your behalf (Canada Life (formerly Great-West Life) pays provider directly). However, there are some items that may require you to pay for the expense first, and receive eligible reimbursement afterwards as follows:

  • eligible medical expenses less than $300 (Canadian)
  • eligible prescription drugs;
  • costs of medical appliances;
  • early return trip of dependent children when parent is ill or injured;
  • transportation of a family member to the bedside of sick or injured insured person;
  • return of deceased.

Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) regulations require that claims be made within 12 months of the date of service, and therefore you are encouraged to send claims to Canada Life as soon as possible to ensure eligible reimbursement by both the government plan (OHIP) and Canada Life. There are two claim forms that must be completed for an out-of-country claim - an out-of-country expenses claim form (PDF) and an OHIP Authorization and Release form.

Eligibility for both extended health and out of country requires Canadian residency and continuation of provincial health coverage. For employees and eligible dependents without provincial health coverage, the University provides access to the UHIP and Welcome Plan. Please contact Human Resources at hrhelp@uwaterloo.ca for more information. 

Travel to Cuba

If you or any covered dependents are traveling to Cuba, you may need to provide proof of medical coverage from the University. Proof of health insurance may be:

  • your benefits ID card
  • an insurance policy
  • an insurance certificate
  • a medical assistance card (photocopies are accepted)

For more information please visit the Government of Canada's website for entry/exit requirements to Cuba