March 5, 2020

ARTA’s Emergency Travel Plan

While ARTA offers a number of benefits to its members, one of the most popular benefits enjoyed by ARTA’s members is, by far, access to one of the best emergency travel plans available in Canada today.

If you participate in ARTA’s Emergency Travel plan (that is, if you have either Total Health or Ultimate Health Extended Health Care coverage), you are automatically covered for every trip you take outside of your province of residence, up to ninety-two days per trip. In order to reset your trip duration, you simply need to return to your province of residence and can then leave on another trip up to ninety-two days duration.

Keep in mind if you and your spouse are travelling together, and each of you are covered by the Emergency Travel plan, then each of you must prove you returned to your province of residence; we recommend buying a coffee with a credit card if your return is a short visit, or hang onto your boarding pass if travelling by air.

Adding Fun to a Special Trip

If you are planning a trip longer than ninety-two days, Supplementary Travel coverage is available for single trips lasting up to 212 days. All you need to do is let our plan administrator know you want to extend your upcoming trip. Additional travel days for single trips are available in fifteen-day increments. We always recommend purchasing additional travel days before you leave on your trip if you think you are going to need them; while it is possible to add the days after you have already left on your trip, there is a possibility you may not be allowed to do so, especially if you have already made an Emergency Travel claim on your current trip. If you return home early, contact the plan administrator as soon as you return, and the premiums you have paid for any unused fifteen-day Supplementary Travel coverage will be returned to you. For example, if you purchased two fifteen-day increments, to extend a single trip from ninety-two days to 122 days, and you return home on day 100, the premiums paid for the second fifteen-day increment will be returned. No premiums for the first fifteen-day increment will be returned since a portion of the days were used, and the premiums cannot be prorated.

The ARTA Plan Difference

ARTA’s Emergency Travel plan is unique in that it covers pre-existing conditions in most cases. Most other travel insurance plans, including a number of group plans, have exclusions in their contract that state pre-existing conditions must be stable and controlled for a period ranging from 90 to 365 days, depending on the condition. In addition, if you visited your doctor prior to leaving on your trip, anything you discussed with your doctor may not be covered while you are on your trip if your travel coverage includes pre-existing conditions and stability clauses. For this reason, some people may actually avoid visiting their doctor prior to leaving on their trip, even if they know something may be affecting their health. For the record, we would never advise taking this approach.

ARTA’s travel plan is different. Our plan covers any medical emergency which is considered to be ‘sudden and unforeseen’ in nature. We encourage people to visit their doctor prior to their trip to ensure they are healthy enough to travel. If your doctor advises you not to travel, it is best to cancel your trip and not put your health — or your emergency travel coverage — at risk. This also applies if your doctor has advised you to undergo further medical exams — it is best to cancel your trip to ensure your test results do not indicate any adverse medical conditions, since these may not be considered sudden and unforeseen if your doctor has raised any concerns with your health. One of the additional benefits of the ARTA travel plan is that if this sort of issue arises, you will get your money you’ve paid for your trip back via the built-in Trip Cancellation benefit, which covers pre-paid expenses (up to $10,000 per incident) for each covered person.

Travelling in Canada

ARTA’s Emergency Travel plan also covers trips you take within Canada that are outside of your province of residence. While provincial health care plans cover you when you are in your province of residence, coverage under these public plans is quite limited when you are travelling outside of your province of residence. For example, air ambulance costs to return you home are not normally covered by provincial health care plans, and incurring such expenses could cost you tens of thousands of dollars if you do not have appropriate coverage in place. ARTA’s travel plan includes coverage for medical transportation back to your province of residence if recommended by a physician.

If you would like to learn more about ARTA’s Emergency Travel plan, the booklet and plan summaries are available here on the ARTA website.

ARTA members continue to have access to one of the best travel benefits available to retirees in Canada well into their retirement, for as long as they need it. That’s one thing that will never change.