COVID-19 information

Updated: April 21, 2022

COVID-19 information

Updated: April 21, 2022

We are committed to keeping you up to date. New information will be posted as it becomes available

Our top priority is the health and well-being of our employees, Clients, advisors, consultants and communities.

We continue to monitor developments related to COVID-19 and adjusting our processes, practices and procedures as the situation evolves.

Update on out-of-country travel insurance

Updated March 17, 2022

On February 28, 2022, the Government of Canada revised the travel advisory and border entry requirements for fully vaccinated travelers. Under Travel Advisory Level 2, Canadians are advised to continue practicing enhanced health precautions when travelling internationally. We strongly encourage plan members (employees) visit the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 and International Travel website and understand the border entry requirements for their destination country, prior to leaving Canada.

Here are some important reminders:

  • Trip Duration Limit: the trip duration limit in your contract still applies. Employees need to check their contracts to ensure their trip duration falls within these limits. We won’t extend the trip limit even if travel home is restricted.
  • COVID-19 coverage: Our standard contracts don’t exclude or limit coverage in the event of epidemics or pandemics. We’ll treat a medical emergency resulting from COVID-19 in the same way as any other medical emergency outside Canada.
    • However, please note, if employees do have a medical emergency while outside of Canada, medical resources at the destination may be limited or unavailable.
    • Travelers may experience delays in assistance that are beyond the control of Sun Life and Allianz.
    • We won’t cover plan members who are required to quarantine unless they require immediate emergency medical treatment. This includes employees who:
      • Test positive for COVID-19 but are asymptomatic or are experiencing mild symptoms that do not require immediate medical treatment; or
      • Test negative for COVID-19 but are still required to quarantine.
  • Trip cancellation or delays: plans don’t cover the cost of:
    • Flight cancellations, delays, or other expenses caused by border closures.
    • Difficulties meeting Canada’s border entry requirements, or other trip disruptions due to COVID-19.
  • COVID-19 tests: Sun Life does not cover the cost of COVID-19 tests under Out-of-Country Travel, EHC, or standard Personal Spending Account. Plan members may have coverage under Health Spending Account if prescribed by a medical doctor or nurse practitioner. Canadians do not require a prescription to obtain a test to travel.

This plan member communication provides an overview of what plan members need to know if they still plan to travel abroad. Please share with your employees. It’s important they know their coverage details before they decide to travel.

Extending out-of-country coverage for students studying abroad

Updated: March 23, 2022

Plan members (employees) may have a dependent who is, or will be, studying abroad. Here’s how we’re handling medical emergency coverage for students.

  • Students with an approved extension. If we’ve approved a request for an extension of medical emergency coverage, we’ll continue to honour their extension. We outlined the coverage period in their approval letter. 
  • Students without an approved extension. These students have coverage for the trip duration limit outlined in the contract. You can submit an extension request using our Continuation of coverage smart form. You can find the latest version of the smart form:
    • on our Plan Sponsor Site, or
    • by sending an email to your Group Benefits Representative or Client Service Administrator

We base our decision to extend coverage on the travel advisories from the Government of Canada at the time you submit the form,

For all students, coverage ends on the date they reach the dependent student age limit. Your contract outlines this age limit.

At this time, we’ll continue to treat a COVID-19 medical emergency the same way as any other medical emergency outside of Canada. It’s essential employees know their coverage details before their dependent studies abroad. Out-of-country coverage for students studying abroad, outlines important information about leaving Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic. We encourage you to share this communication with your employees.

Confirmation of Illness form has been updated

Updated: January 21, 2022

We will continue to accept the Confirmation of Illness form for STD claims submitted for COVID-19 or symptoms of COVID 19. This form is for COVID Short-Term Disability (STD) claims with a maximum duration of 10 days. The form has been updated.* Please be sure to access and submit the most recent version. 

If a plan member is still not able to work after 10 days, they will need to submit an Attending Physician Form. 

We reinstated our standard requirement for a completed Attending Physician Statement as part of a new claim submission, effective November 1, 2021. The Attending Physician Statement must be completed by a Physician or Nurse Practitioner.

* Fillable web forms may not work in certain internet browsers such as Google Chrome. If this occurs, you can try: Right clicking on the form and select “Save link as” to your desktop. The saved PDF on your desktop should open.

Testing and isolation guidelines

Updated: January 6, 2022

As Omicron COVID-19 cases surge, we’re evolving our practices to align with public health guidelines.   

Testing guidelines

Due to changes across the country regarding PCR test shortages and backlogs, we will now accept a positive rapid antigen test as confirmation of a COVID diagnosis, where PCR tests are unavailable.

Isolation guidelines

It’s important to check your provincial public health guidelines to properly assess your isolation period. Guidelines may differ based on vaccination status and occupation (i.e. health care), so be sure to review local public health rules before making a Short-Term Disability (STD) claim.

Please remember to take care of yourself and prioritize your well-being. Our support for you and your employees continues to be our top priority during these difficult times.

COVID tests and vaccines under Health Spending Accounts (HSAs) and Personal Spending Account (PSAs)

Updated: April 21, 2022

Are COVID tests or vaccines covered under a Health Spending Account (HSA)?

If prescribed by a medical doctor or nurse practitioner, costs for COVID vaccines and tests are eligible for reimbursement under HSA plans.

Canadians do not require a prescription for COVID tests taken to satisfy an employer’s health and safety requirements or for personal wellness reasons (which include traveling or visiting a vulnerable person).

Are COVID vaccines covered under a Personal Spending Account (PSA)?

No. COVID vaccines are not wellness-related expenses. As a result, they aren’t eligible for reimbursement under PSA plans.

Are COVID tests covered under a Personal Spending Account (PSA)?

Sun Life does not cover the cost of COVID-19 tests under a standard Personal Spending Account.

Sun Life to continue reimbursing claims for virtual dental assessments

Updated: January 10, 2022

In April 2020, we first let you know that we’d temporarily reimburse virtual dental assessments while dental offices were open for emergency treatments only. As a reminder, our standard dental contracts cover emergency dental services, but not virtual assessments.

In consultation with dental associations across Canada, we made a temporary change. We began reimbursing virtual dental assessments using the dental codes recommended by the Canadian Dental Association (CDA), and the Association des chirurgiens dentistes du Québec (ACDQ).

Starting in 2021, dental offices in Canada reopened for regular visits. However, we continued to reimburse claims for virtual dental assessments as provinces and territories were still experiencing waves of COVID-19 variants throughout the year.  The Omicron variant is now posing significant challenges in all provinces and territories. As a result, we’ll continue to reimburse virtual dental assessments covered by these codes for the duration of the pandemic. We’ll continue to monitor the situation, and re-evaluate once the pandemic is over.

Plan members can contact our Client Care Centre at 1-800-361-6212 if they have questions about their claims.

COVID-19 vaccines and your group benefits plan coverage

Updated: October 27, 2021

The Canadian rollout of COVID-19 vaccines is in full swing. You and your employees may have questions about whether getting the vaccine impacts group benefits coverage. Check out our Vaccine FAQ. It covers key questions and concerns about vaccines and benefits coverage.

For more information on COVID-19 vaccines, please visit Lumino Health or the Government of Canada

Personal protective equipment costs due to COVID-19

Updated: June 29, 2020

COVID-19 has created new health and safety standards for many health care providers. All health care providers must follow these additional standards as set by their associations, regulatory bodies, and levels of government. Please read this communication for information on personal protective equipment (PPE) and group benefits plans.

Continuing benefits coverage during COVID-19

Updated: October 28, 2021

In 2020, we allowed you to continue coverage for temporary lay-offs for up to 6 months, with disability ending at 3 months. This is now changing. Effective November 1, 2021, we’ll start applying contractual limits for temporary lay-offs again.

This means that for any lay-off starting on or after November 1, 2021, you can maintain benefits up to the limit indicated in your contract. The standard is 3 months, but your contract may have a longer period. For all lay-offs starting prior to November 1, 2021, you can decide to apply the contractual limit or choose to grant 6 months as per the previous exception. You must apply your coverage decision equally to all employees within the same class.

In 2020, we allowed you to suspend coverage for all your employees for three months. Effective November 1, 2021, we’re no longer allowing policy suspensions.

This means that if there are no active plan members on the billing date (generally October 25), we’ll end your policy. If your policy is currently suspended, it’ll remain active for a total of 3 months.

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