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How student benefits are affected when they travel out of country

Are you covered when you travel?

Benefit plans offered by ASSOCIUM include out-of-province/out-of-country travel coverage. This allows individuals to claim emergency health-related expenses that are incurred when they travel.

To offer these benefits, insurance companies create large pooled travel plans so that expenses don’t impact the individual employers’ claims experience.

Unfortunately, many employees do not understand the limitations of the travel coverage that comes with their benefits plans. There are two particular implications for students studying abroad:

  1. How long students are covered by student benefit travel plans

Our travel plans are not intended to cover individuals living part-time abroad such as snowbirds, or people on extended trips. They cover a maximum of 60 days of continual absence, though if a person returns to Canada for a period of time they may be able to “reset” this time limit.

Travel benefit plans are also not intended to cover long-term foreign study. There are no exceptions to these policies that will accommodate studying at foreign schools for a school term or full year, or other extended educational activities (e.g., a six-month archaeological dig).

Also note that most U.S. schools will not accept benefit plan travel coverage as these plans do not meet Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) coverage requirements.

  1. The types of health expenses covered by student benefit travel plans

These plans only cover emergencies requiring immediate medical treatment, such as acute illness or accidental injury.

Expenses related to any pre-existing conditions will not be covered, such as chemotherapy or other health management program established before leaving home.

The individual must report any changes to their health or medication before they travel, and coverage may also be affected if the student is visiting an area under a travel advisory.

Students studying in other countries may be away for eight or more months at a time and medical issues may arise during that period. It is the family’s responsibility to determine and purchase adequate medical coverage.

Most schools require foreign students to purchase local medical coverage. These plans are often available through the institutions themselves, and we highly recommend taking advantage of this option.


ASSOCIUM Benefits is a very unique employee group benefits provider, focused on supporting benefits advisors and their employer clients. We provide Brokers and Plan Sponsors with a range of solutions from traditional group benefits to more customized, cost and tax effective employee compensation. Let’s connect to find out how we can help.

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