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January 27, 2022

ARTA Emergency Travel Insurance: Contract Changes: COVID-19 Coverage Inclusion as of February 1, 2022

The ARTA Benefit Plans have long been considered among the best extended health care plans in the country, especially because of their Emergency Travel Insurance. ARTA’s Emergency Travel Insurance has attractive features that many other travel plans do not, including a lengthy coverage period of 92 days per trip. ARTA’s Comprehensive and Build-Your-Own plans also lack stability clauses, pre-existing conditions clauses, and termination ages, making them an excellent fit for retirees with many years of travel ahead of them. Being able to secure these numerous benefits meant that ARTA’s Emergency Travel Contract came with other exclusions and limitations, including an exclusion on global travel advisories (which, until the COVID-19 pandemic, had not been an issue). This exclusion allowed ARTA to maintain the premium cost at a reasonable rate.

On December 15, 2021, the re-instatement of the COVID-19 global travel advisory highlighted the negative impact of this particular exclusion. It created undue stress for ARTA members who were out of the country when the advisory was re-instated, and for ARTA members who had planned trips for the winter season. Additionally, the call volume made it extremely difficult to reach Allianz Global Assistance to secure COVID-19 top-up insurance.

ARTA has been exploring multiple alternatives for our Emergency Travel Insurance to allow for COVID-19 coverage — all while maintaining the 92-day travel period, the absence of stability clauses, pre-existing conditions clauses, and termination ages — and keeping the plan premiums sustainable.

We are excited to announce that effective February 1, 2022, the following change to the ARTA Emergency Travel Insurance contract will take place:

Exclusions and Limitations
A. This policy does not cover loss (fatal or nonfatal) or expenses caused by or resulting from:
CURRENT WORDING
13. Injury, Sickness, or Disease suffered from or contracted in a specific country, region, or area for which the Government of Canada has issued a travel advisory or formal notice, before the Day of Departure advising Canadians not to travel to such specific country region or area. If the travel advisory is issued after the Day of Departure, coverage for a Medical Emergency that is attributable to the reason for which the travel advisory or formal notice was issued is limited to a period of ten (10) days from the date the advisory was issued, or the period reasonably necessary to evacuate the country, region, or area.

NEW WORDING AS OF FEBRUARY 1, 2022
13. travel to a country, region, or city for which the Canadian government issued a written warning prior to the Day of Departure advising to avoid all travel or to avoid non-essential travel to that city, region, or country, and the claim is related to or due to the reason for the warning. This includes written warnings to avoid non-essential travel, or to avoid all travel, on a common carrier.
Note: This exclusion does not apply to Medical Emergency expenses which are related to COVID-19, even while a travel advisory related to COVID-19 is in effect.

Trip cancellation due to COVID-19 related events remain exempt from coverage as COVID-19 is a “known event” -> except in the case where a member contracts COVID-19 PRIOR to the trip taking place and cannot travel. Evidence of nonrefundable fees & eligibility rules apply.

The Emergency Travel Contract is currently being updated and will be posted on the ARTA Benefits website when available.

What does this mean?

  1. Effective February 1, 2022, ARTA will now cover medical emergency expenses related to COVID-19, even while a travel advisory related to COVID-19 is in effect.
  2. In the future, if a travel advisory for a region is issued (for example: civil unrest in a particular country), and an ARTA member is already travelling in that region, they will retain their coverage. It removes the ten-day window to return home.
  3. Trip cancellation or interruption due to COVID-19 related events remain exempt from coverage as COVID-19 is a “known event,” except in the case where a member contracts COVID-19 prior to the trip taking place and cannot travel.

These changes are being put in place with no change to current ARTA monthly premiums.

What do I need to do?

  1. ARTA members who did not purchase COVID-19 top-up plans or are not travelling before February 1, 2022: no action needed.
  2. ARTA members travelling after February 1, 2022: no action needed — you will automatically be covered for COVID-19 moving forward.
  3. ARTA members waiting for an Allianz COVID-19 top-up call back: if you are on the call back list, Allianz will still call you, but you will not be sold a plan beyond February 1, 2022, as the ARTA Emergency Travel plan will cover you for COVID-19 related medical expenses going forward.
  4. ARTA members who purchased a COVID-19 top-up: read next section of this email for information on the refund process.

If you purchased a COVID-19 top-up policy through Allianz

ARTA members who purchased an individual COVID-19 top-up policy through Allianz after the December 15 Global Travel Advisory re-instatement are entitled to a partial refund (where there are no claims) for the days February 1, 2022, and forward.

As Allianz and ARTA both continue to experience extremely high call volume, ARTA will be managing the refund process for ARTA members, and we ask that you submit a refund request by following the steps below:

  1. Download a copy of the Allianz Refund Request Form
  2. Complete and return the form along with a copy of your Individual COVID-19 insurance plan confirmation to covidrefund@arta.net

Please allow four to six weeks for a refund to be processed. Your refund will be processed in the same manner you paid for your policy.

Please also keep in mind ARTA’s Emergency Travel coverage will cover you for sudden and unexpected health care claims arising from COVID-19, but does not include other benefits your top-up insurance may include, such as quarantine meals and accommodation expenses, and denied boarding benefits. If these benefits are important to you, you may wish to keep your top-up policy through Allianz rather than requesting a partial refund.

If you purchased a COVID-19 top-up policy through a different provider

ARTA is only able to assist in refunds for COVID-19 top-up insurance that has been purchased through Allianz. If you purchased top-up insurance elsewhere, you will need to contact that insurance provider to find out if you are eligible for a partial refund.


We sincerely thank you for your patience and understanding as we negotiated these contract changes. We thank you in advance for your patience as we process each individual member refund.