Travel & Health Insurance Guide

Herein you may find information on travel and health benefits. For other retiree Benefits refer to the section  SFU Retiree Benefits

Guide to Extended Health Care and Travel Insurance

This Guide compares features of the three group plans available to SFU retirees that provide Extended Healthcare (EHC) insurance and offers suggestions to help you choose among them. These are group plans with premiums that do not depend on your age or medical conditions. Since our first edition in early 2020, one of these has substantially improved benefits and another has become available since then.

We describe Travel Medical Plans suitable for SFU retirees that provide coverage for travel medical emergencies. We explain why some of these should be avoided because they are not first payers. The premiums for individual travel medical insurance plans depend strongly on trip length, age, and medical condition. Because one of our group EHC plans offers good travel medical coverage that is independent of these conditions, your decision on both healthcare and travel insurance becomes complicated by your plans for travel, your age, and medical condition. With this guide we hope to help you through this confusing decision-making process.

We have described features of three EHC plans available to SFU retirees, some individual Travel Medical plans and Trip plans of interest. We provide links to websites and plan booklets that lead to further details. To make good choices, a retiree needs to evaluate them in the light of their individual needs. Some additional considerations are:

  1. The EHC benefits of the Pacific Blue Cross (PBC) plan have been significantly improved. They are now somewhat better than those offered by the Retired Teachers of Ontario (RTO) and Green Shields Canada (GSC) plans.
  2. The PBC EHC plan can only be started upon retirement and cannot be renewed if canceled, whereas the RTO and GSC plans can be started or stopped at any time if a group plan like the PBC, RTO or GSC plan is currently held.
  3. CUPE and PolyParty retirees, who are no longer eligible for the PBC EHC plan, can subscribe to the RTO plan upon retirement. 
  4. When the $150,000 lifetime maximum in your PBC or GSC plan is approached, you can switch to the RTO plan. 
  5. Individual Travel Medical plans are available at low cost for younger, healthier retirees. But their premiums depend strongly on age and medical condition.
  6. The RTO EHC plan also includes good travel medical benefits. Since its premium is independent of age or medical condition, it would be of interest to older retirees or those with certain health conditions. These retirees could supplement their EHC plan with this plan in years that they travel.