Frequently asked questions

Group plans

When will my benefits become effective?

Contact your plan administrator to determine the effective date of your plan.

If I cancel my coverage, can I reapply when I want to?

Contact your plan administrator to determine re-enrollment eligibility based on the rules of your plan.

How do I cancel my coverage?

Contact your plan administrator to determine cancellation eligibility based on the rules of your plan.

My group coverage is ending. Can I continue coverage on my own?

Yes. We have a selection of personal plans available to meet your needs, including the Blue Choice Conversion plan. If you are transitioning from another plan with comparable coverage, avoid the three-month dental waiting period by applying within 60 days of loss of coverage. Coverage will be continuous as long as you pay premiums for the first month of coverage loss. If you choose to apply for the Blue Choice Conversion plan within 60 days of your employer group health and dental benefits coverage ending from any recognized Canadian group benefits plan, there is no medical questionnaire and approval is guaranteed, so you’re covered for any pre-existing conditions.

If your group life coverage is ending, please contact your plan administrator as you may be eligible to convert your life benefits to an individual policy.

Individual plans

Do I need to be a Manitoba resident to apply for a plan?

You must be a Manitoba resident, registered with and entitled to benefits from Manitoba Health or be a resident of Nunavut.

When will my benefits become effective?

Your benefits will become effective on the first of the month following the effective date. There is a three-month paid waiting period* for dental.

* If you are transitioning from another plan with comparable coverage, we will waive the waiting period provided you apply within 60 days of loss of coverage.

How do I cancel my coverage?

You may request cancellation at any time; however, re-enrollment would have to be authorized by Manitoba Blue Cross (unless you have cancelled as a result of obtaining comparable coverage through an employer, group or spouse).

To cancel your coverage, notify Manitoba Blue Cross in writing (by email or letter). Upon receipt of notification, your coverage will be cancelled on the last day of the following month.

If I cancel my coverage, can I reapply when I want to?

You may be eligible to re-apply. Contact Manitoba Blue Cross or your insurance broker/agent.

Retiree plans

Note: This information is specific to personal health retiree plans.
Who is eligible to apply for the retiree plan?

You are eligible to apply if you are between the ages of 55 and 70 and are coming off of an employer/group sponsored benefit plan. This application age is based solely on the age of the applicant. There are no age restrictions for a spouse or any dependents provided that the applicant is eligible for the plan. You must apply within 60 days of termination from your group benefit plan. You must also be a Manitoba resident, registered with and entitled to benefits from Manitoba Health or be a resident of Nunavut.

How long do I have to apply after leaving my group plan?

If you apply within 60 days of the termination of your group benefit plan, a medical review is not required. Coverage will be effective the first of the month following the group plan end date.

If you apply for coverage from 61 to 182 days after leaving your group plan, medical information for each participant is required to determine acceptance.

After 182 days of leaving your group plan you will not be eligible to enroll on the retiree plan.

Does this plan include couple or family rates?

A couple or family rate does not apply for this plan, as all rates are per plan participant.

If your plan includes a spouse or dependents, rates for each additional plan participant are determined using the rates specified within their age bracket at the coverage level you've chosen. The monthly premium is calculated as the sum of all rates for each of the plan participants included on the plan. These rates will change as each plan participant reaches a new age bracket or upon changes to the overall rate by Manitoba Blue Cross.

When will my retiree plan be effective?

The effective date of your retiree plan can be the first of the month following the termination of your employer-sponsored group plan or it can be backdated to the first of the month in which your employer-sponsored group plan ended.

Can I change the plan I selected after I've enrolled on the plan?

A member can transfer from a Retiree Standard plan to a Retiree Basic plan at any time. When enrolled on a Retiree Basic plan, a member cannot transfer to a Retiree Standard plan unless the request is made within 182 days of their termination from an employer/group sponsored benefit plan. Medical information may be required.

At what age does my retiree plan terminate?

The plan does not have a termination age. However, travel coverage outside of Canada, which is included as part of the Retiree Standard plan, terminates at age 75, based on the age of the individual plan participant. For example, when you turn 75, your outside-of-Canada travel coverage will terminate, but your spouse's will remain active until he or she turns 75. Travel coverage within Canada, but outside Manitoba, does not have an age restriction.

I often vacation for extended periods outside Manitoba during the winter (a snowbird, for example). Am I eligible to keep my retiree plan?

Yes, as long as you maintain your status according to the requirements of your Manitoba Health plan, you can remain on the retiree plan. Note that Manitoba has rules for individuals maintaining their health care coverage, and you should review the rules. Please refer to the Province of Manitoba website:

What if I retire in Manitoba but then move to another province?

Our retiree plan provides coverage for our customers outside of Manitoba for a period of up to three months. However, all Blue Cross plans across Canada have reciprocal agreements with each other for individual plan transfers. If you move to another province, you should contact the Blue Cross office in that province to enroll in one of their plans.

I left a Manitoba Blue Cross group plan that had a travel benefit. Is the travel coverage included in the retiree plan the same as my previous plan?

No, there are differences between the travel coverage you had with your group benefit plan and your individual retiree plan. The most important difference is the stability clause that applies to the retiree plan. This states that a claim will not be paid for services related to a medical condition that was not deemed stable 90 days prior to your trip departure date.

What is considered a pre-existing condition for the retiree plan?

Manitoba Blue Cross defines that a pre-existing condition is a sickness, injury or medical condition, whether or not diagnosed by a physician:

  • for which you exhibited signs or symptoms; or
  • for which you required or received medical consultation, treatment or
  • hospitalization; or
  • for which you were prescribed a new medication or given a change in prescribed medication; and
  • which existed prior to the departure date of your coverage
What does stable mean?

Manitoba Blue Cross defines stable as a medical condition that is not worsening, and there has been no change in prescribed medication for the condition, nor any other treatment prescribed or recommended or received.

What does change in medication mean?

Not all changes to medication will be affected by the stability clause. A change in prescribed medication means any increase or decrease in dose, strength or frequency of a prescribed medication, as well as the addition or discontinuation of any medication. The following are not considered changes in prescribed medication:

  • The daily sliding scale or glucometer adjustments for insulin injections.
  • A change from a brand name medication to the generic form of the same medication provided the dosage is the same.
  • The routine adjustment of Coumadin, Warfarin, or other anticoagulant medication except where newly prescribed or stopped.
When does the 90-day stability clause apply?

The 90-day stability clause applies at time of claim and is calculated back from your trip departure date. Manitoba Blue Cross will determine if the claim relates to a medical condition, symptom or illness that you experienced 90 days prior to your trip departure date.

What if my doctor says that I am stable enough to travel? Does the 90-day stability clause still apply at claim time?

Yes, being deemed medically stable to travel in a doctor’s opinion is not the same thing as meeting our definition of stable as it relates to coverage of a medical condition. Your medical condition may be considered stable from a medical point of view; however, due to the timing of the most recent change in symptoms, medications, treatment, requisition or recommendation for a test or procedure, that does not necessarily mean you’ll be covered in the event of an emergency relating to that condition.

If a pre-existing medical condition was directly or indirectly related to the need for emergency medical care during your trip, we will access your medical records to confirm whether the medical condition in question met our definition of the 90-day stability period.

In addition to the stability clause, are there other exclusions that I should be aware of?

Yes, every travel plan you purchase or have through a group benefit plan includes specific limitations and exclusions. It is important and your responsibility to carefully read and understand your travel plan benefits, eligibility, exclusions and limitations.

Your travel benefit contains limitations and exclusions that could affect your coverage. Some exclusions include the following:

  • medical conditions that are not stable;
  • participation in high-risk activities or extreme sports;
  • seeking treatment, medical consultation or a second medical opinion while travelling;
  • travelling against medical advice; or
  • travelling after your receipt of a terminal prognosis
What happens when I have reached the age of 75 and my outside-of-Canada travel coverage has terminated on my Retiree Standard plan?

Even though outside-of-Canada travel benefits are no longer available for you on the Retiree Standard plan upon turning age 75, you are still eligible for a retiree plan travel discount of 10 per cent when you purchase travel coverage from Manitoba Blue Cross. You will continue to have travel coverage within Canada and outside of Manitoba.

Do I need to return to Manitoba for a certain number of days for the travel-day limits to restart?

Yes, you need to return to Manitoba for your travel-day limit to restart. Each trip length begins when you leave Manitoba and ends when you return to Manitoba (you can leave on a new trip immediately upon return). Manitoba Health states that you need to be physically present in Manitoba for at least 212 days in a 12-month period to remain eligible for your Manitoba Health coverage.

The Retiree Standard plan's out-of-Canada travel benefit limits each trip to 60 days. If your trip exceeds the 60-day limit, you will be required to purchase top-up coverage. In the event of a claim, you will be required to provide proof of departure and return dates. Contact Manitoba Blue Cross for more information.

How much travel coverage do I have?

All plans cover emergency medical claims to a maximum of $5 million per trip. See your retiree plan agreement for complete coverage details.

Travel plans

Why do I need travel health coverage?

Health expenses resulting from accidents or unexpected illnesses that occur outside of Manitoba are not fully covered by Manitoba Health. The difference between what Manitoba Health will pay and the actual cost may be substantial.

What are the advantages to having travel coverage within Canada?

Based on the reciprocal billing agreement, Manitoba Health will pay the standard rate if you see a doctor or are admitted to an approved hospital in Canada; however, not all expenses are covered.

Do I have to live in Manitoba to purchase travel coverage?

You must be a Manitoba resident, registered with and entitled to benefits from Manitoba Health to apply for travel coverage.

Residents of Nunavut may also apply for travel coverage by contacting our customer service centre toll-free at 1.888.596.1032.

When should I buy travel health coverage?

Travel health coverage must be purchased prior to departure.

Plans that include cancellation coverage (Air, Holiday or Tour Package) must be purchased at time of deposit (within 72 hours) or prior to any cancellation or penalty period.

If I have coverage through another company, can I top up or extend my coverage through Manitoba Blue Cross?

No, coverage must be purchased for the entire duration of the trip. Conversely, you cannot extend or top up your Manitoba Blue Cross coverage with another carrier. Any extension or top up with another carrier will invalidate all coverage for that trip.

What is the maximum amount of time that I can purchase travel health coverage for?

Coverage maximums vary by plan.

  • For our Deluxe Travel Health plan, the maximum allowable duration is:
  • ~ 183 days for Deluxe Blue or Gold
  • ~ 62 days for Deluxe Silver
  • For our Deluxe Travel Health with Coronavirus Coverage plan, the maximum allowable duration is:
  • ~ 183 days for Under Age 55 (Blue)
  • ~ 183 days for Age 55 to 74 (Gold)
  • For our Annual Travel Health plan, the maximum allowable duration is 32 days. However, if you are under the age of 55 you may purchase additional days, up to an additional 30 days (total trip duration cannot exceed 62 days).
  • For our Annual Travel Health with Coronavirus Coverage plan, the maximum allowable duration is 32 days. However, if you are under the age of 55 you may purchase additional days, up to an additional 30 days (total trip duration cannot exceed 62 days).
  • For our Tour Package Plan, the maximum allowable duration is 32 days.
  • For our Holiday Cancellation and Airfare Cancellation plans, the maximum allowable duration is 183 days.
What does treatment mean?

Manitoba Blue Cross defines treatment as a medical or diagnostic procedure prescribed, performed or recommended, including but not limited to, prescribed medication, investigative testing and surgery. Treatment does not include:

  • a medical condition that is Stable and Controlled;
  • the unaltered use of prescribed medication for a medical condition which is Stable and Controlled; or
  • a previously identified medical condition where the Physician observes no change in the condition during the stability period specified in your travel plan.
Can I buy travel health coverage if I have an existing medical condition?

Yes, however there are many factors that may affect what is covered on a travel health plan.

It is important to disclose all medical conditions at the time of purchase so that you can be aware of any exclusions to your plan when travelling. Always discuss any concerns with your travel agent or contact us for further clarification.

When purchasing travel health coverage, am I required to complete a medical questionnaire?

Deluxe Travel Health

You are not obligated to complete this questionnaire; however doing so may give you a definite advantage.

For individuals aged 55 to 74 on date of departure, answering the medical questionnaire determines eligibility for our Gold Deluxe Travel Health Plan. Our Gold Plan allows for trips of longer duration and offers preferred pricing.

Deluxe Travel Health with Coronavirus Coverage

For individuals aged 55 to 74 on the date of departure, answering the medical questionnaire is required and determines eligibility for our Deluxe Travel Health with Coronavirus Coverage plan.

Can I buy cancellation insurance for a flight purchased with points?

We are unable to insure points of any kind. We are only able to insure out-of-pocket costs.

If I am away and need to stay longer, what do I do?

You may extend the duration of your original policy if:

  • Medical attention has not been received during the initial term.
  • A claim has not been incurred during the initial term.
  • You request the extension prior to the expiry date of your policy.
  • The extension is for all benefits purchased on the original policy.
  • If you are hospitalized due to a medical emergency, your benefits will remain in force throughout the period of hospitalization, plus 72 hours following your discharge from hospital at no extra cost. For more details, view our Extensions information page or contact us.
  • If your return is delayed due to the fault of the carrier in which you are a fare-paying passenger, your Travel Health benefits will be extended for up to 72 hours after the scheduled return date at no extra cost.
    Note: This must be supported by a letter from the transportation authority confirming the period of delay.
I've lost my annual travel ID card. How can I get a replacement?

A copy of your travel ID card is located on the second page of your receipt. Log in to My Policy to reprint your receipt at any time.

Can I get a refund on my travel health coverage?

Our Annual Travel, Tour Package, Airfare Cancellation, and Holiday Cancellation plans are non-refundable.

For our Deluxe Travel Health plan:

  • A complete refund is available if the entire trip is cancelled and Manitoba Blue Cross or an authorized agent receives notification prior to date of departure.
  • A partial refund is calculated based on the date Manitoba Blue Cross or an authorized agent receives notification.
  • Refunds are based on categories of time as per rate chart.
  • No refund is available if a claim was incurred during the term of coverage or if your policy has been extended.

Life insurance

What is life insurance?

Life insurance can be very comforting to you and your loved ones. It provides a one-time payout to your loved ones, giving you the peace of mind you need to know that they are protected in the event of your death. When you purchase a policy, you choose an amount and indicate who you want the money paid to if you pass away.

How does it work?

For most policies, you pay a monthly or annual fee (called a premium) for an amount of coverage determined by you. You choose the amount of coverage – from $50,000 up to $10 million – and the length of time the policy will cover you, up to 25 years. If you pass away with this coverage, your loved ones named in the policy can make a claim for the amount of money insured. You can take comfort knowing that the money is tax-free and can be used for anything they need like funeral expenses, paying off a mortgage and more.

Do I need life insurance?

Everyone has different needs. Most Canadians who are married, own a home, have children or someone who depends on them, such as an elderly parent, or significant financial commitments want the peace of mind that comes with life insurance. The money you leave behind can help your loved ones reduce financial stress as they struggle with your passing.

You may need term life insurance if you are:

  • getting married
  • supporting aging parents financially
  • carrying a loan or debt, including a mortgage
  • self employed
  • wanting to leave your loved ones well cared for
How much coverage do I need?

Your needs are unique. That’s why we have a simple coverage calculator to help you find the right coverage to protect your loved ones (under “How much coverage do I need?” in Easy answers to tough questions). You can also talk to an advisor for guidance on what is right for you. To contact an advisor, phone 1.800.873.2583.

What if I want to add more coverage at a later date?

With Blue Cross Life, you can increase the initial insurance amount, without new evidence of insurability, when obtaining a new loan (such as a mortgage); increasing an existing loan; or if there is a major life event (marriage, divorce, adoption or childbirth, or graduation with a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree or doctorate).

This allows you to be sure that the coverage amount changes as your life changes. (The amount insured can be increased before age 60 up to 25% of initial insurance amount up to $125,000, if the insured is not disabled. This benefit must be used within 60 days following the events mentioned above. The premium for the new policy or rider will be based on the sex and age of the insured at the time of the new policy or rider.)

Do I need a medical exam?

If you are under 45 years of age, you can get up to $999,999 in coverage with no medical exam. If you are 45 years or older or you would like coverage over $1 million, a medical exam will be required.

I have coverage through my employer. Why do I need another life insurance policy?

You may think you don’t need life insurance if you have coverage through your employer, but have you considered:

  • You may not have enough life insurance through your employer benefit plan to cover your debts and your family’s expenses without your annual income.
  • You would lose your coverage if your job situation changed.
  • Buying additional coverage gets tricky if your health situation changes or declines.
  • It is not always possible to get life insurance for your spouse, or it may not be enough through your employer.

If you rely solely on your group insurance, and you are no longer able to work because of a medical condition, you may be losing your life insurance coverage just when your family may need it the most.

What if I become critically ill or have a disability – can life insurance assist me financially?

Blue Cross Life is more than just life insurance. All life insurance policies include a built-in extreme disability benefit. This ensures that if the insured, before the age of 60, is in a state of extreme disability for a continued period (longer than six months), 50 per cent of the amount insured may be payable in advance (up to $250,000). Extreme disability means the insured is affected by a medical condition that renders him or her in a state of total and irrecoverable disability as a result of which the insured cannot perform four out of the six activities of daily living (bathing, dressing, toileting, continence, transferring or feeding) without a reasonable expectancy of recovery as determined by a physician.

You can also add critical illness insurance up to $50,000 (without exceeding 50 per cent of the initial life insurance coverage) to your life insurance purchase.

What is critical illness insurance?

Critical illness insurance provides you with financial security in the event that you are diagnosed with a serious illness. It provides a tax-free, lump-sum payment to help you take care of expenses, including mortgage, childcare or whatever you need, so you can focus on your health and recovery. The serious conditions that are eligible include heart attack, stroke and cancer.

How much does it cost?

Life insurance is more affordable than you might think. For a cost similar to your monthly cell phone bill, you can ensure financial peace of mind for you and your loved ones.

How do I buy life insurance?

It’s simple. The good news is that you can get a quote in seconds and purchase online in about 15 minutes. If you have questions or need extra support or guidance, a local Blue Cross representative is available to listen to your needs, give you helpful advice and walk you through the process. To schedule a call, phone 1.800.873.2583.