Travel Coverage & Requirements

Leaving Manitoba to Travel, Work, Study or Move

1. Before you leave checklist
2. Manitoba Health’s coverage and requirements
3. U of M’s coverage and requirements
4. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Before you Leave Checklist

  • If you have a medical condition, consider talking to your doctor about whether it’s safe to travel. Follow up with Great-West Life (GWL) if you need clarification of out-of-country coverage under your plan. 
  • Be sure to pack your confirmation of coverage letter (if required), travel insurance information, along with emergency help numbers, your provincial health insurance card and your family doctor’s contact information. 
  • Let family members and travelling partners know the details of your travel insurance.
  • If you have lost your Global Medical Assistance card, visit Great-West Life’s GroupNet for Plan Members website to print a new card, or call the Staff Benefits Office. A new card will be mailed to you.

Review Your Benefit Coverage On Employee Self Service (ESS)

To review your benefits and covered dependents, sign on to ESS and click on the tab “My Benefits.” You will be able to view your coverage, your dependents and your beneficiary designations.  If your dependents are not listed, they are not covered, so if you want this changed, please contact our office. [phone, email?]

Keep Contact Information Current

It is important to keep your contact information current with Manitoba Health and the University of Manitoba. Manitoba Health needs to know of any address and name changes as well as notification about moving away from Canada for extended periods.

At the U of M, you can update your address in ESS. All changes will then be forwarded to both Great West Life and Manitoba Blue Cross.

2. Manitoba Health's Coverage and Requirements

When visiting another Canadian province or territory and need hospital or medical care, show your Manitoba Health card. In most cases, the doctor and hospital bill will be sent directly to Manitoba Health for processing.

When you travel outside of Canada, you are responsible for some of the costs of emergency hospital or medical care. Prescription drugs purchased in countries other than Canada are not covered.

If you are planning to reside outside of Manitoba for an extended period for the purposes of vacation or an extended travel leave, you can be absent from the province for up to seven months and remain eligible for Manitoba Health coverage. Report any expected absence of 90 days or more in a 12-month period to Manitoba Health prior to your departure. To ensure that you are eligible for out- of-country benefits while abroad, you must apply for a Term Registration Certificate.

If you are a Manitoba resident leaving the province to attend school on a full-time basis, the following must be provided to Manitoba Health prior to your departure: 

  • A letter or completed Manitoba Health form requesting continued coverage from Manitoba Health.
  • A letter from an accredited educational institution confirming your full-time attendance and duration of studies. You must reapply for coverage and provide confirmation for each subsequent year.

If you are leaving Canada specifically to obtain medical treatment, you should contact representatives of your provincial healthcare plan and Great-West Life to determine if coverage is available.

For more detailed information and other requirements, refer to or call the Registration and Client Services Unit, Manitoba Health at 204-786-7101.

3. University of Manitoba’s Coverage and Requirements

Out-of-country coverage is provided for all active, eligible employees covered under the University of Manitoba Supplementary Health Plan. Great-West Life’s out-of-country coverage is designed to provide benefits during a medical emergency while you or your dependants are temporarily outside Canada for business, education or vacation.

Below are some examples of what might be considered a medical emergency: 

  • A sudden, unexpected injury.
  • An acute episode of a medical condition that was not identified or being treated prior to departure from Canada.
  • An unexpected and unforeseen acute episode of a previously identified medical condition that was stable and controlled at the time of departure from Canada.

In assessing whether a previously identified medical condition is stable and controlled at the time of departure, Great-West Life may consider whether, within three or more months prior to your departure:

  • You have new medications or changes in dose.
  • Your doctor has prescribed or recommended any medical, surgical or diagnostic procedures for you.
  • Your medical condition has worsened.

Great-West Life will also consider whether your doctor has advised you not to travel. In some cases, Great-West Life will require your medical records to assess your claim.

Out-of-country coverage generally covers expenses associated with the initial treatment of a medical emergency, such as doctor fees, lab fees and hospital fees. Here are some examples of out-of-country expenses that may not be covered:

  • Non-emergency care or followup care after the initial emergency treatment.
  • Expenses related to pregnancy or delivery after the 34 th week of pregnancy or at any time prior to the 34 th week if the patient’s Canadian physician considers the pregnancy to be high-risk.
  • Continued medical care following an emergency outside Canada if the patient’s medical condition permits a return to Canada for treatment.

If you have a medical condition, you may wish to check with your doctor before travelling. If you are advised it is safe to travel and you would like clarification of your out-of-country coverage, call Great-West Life at 1-800-957-9777. You will need to provide them with your policy number (20778) and your employee ID number.

4. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How does out-of-country coverage differ from GWL’s Global Medical Assistance?

  • Out-of-country coverage provides benefits for the medical costs associated with a medical emergency, such as doctor, hospital and lab fees. 
  • GWL’ s Global Medical Assistance coverage includes such services as 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week access to co-ordinators who can direct you to an appropriate healthcare facility or assist with travel arrangements following a medical emergency. 
  • NOTE: none of the above includes coverage for trip cancellation, trip interruption or loss or damage of baggage. You may want to consider obtaining these types of coverage from other sources, such as travel agencies.

When travelling to Cuba, does the out-of-country coverage change?

If you are travelling to Cuba, you may be required to provide proof of medical coverage. An “Out of Country Confirmation Letter” can be obtained from the Great-West Life website at for this purpose. Click on the link for GroupNet for Plan Members. The letter template can be found on the Forms and Cards tab. This letter can also be obtained by calling Great-West Life at 1-800-957-9777. Make sure you have your policy number (20778) and ID number handy.

Who do I contact in case of a medical emergency?

If you experience a medical emergency while outside Canada, contact the Assistance Centre or have someone call on your behalf. The phone numbers (which can also be found on the back of GWL’s Global Medical Assistance care) are listed below.

Call collect:
From anywhere in the world: 1-204-946-2577
From Cuba: 1-204-946-2946

Call toll-free:
From Canada or the U.S: 1-855-222-4051
From the United KIngdom: 0-800-252-074
From Mexico: 0-1-800-522-0029
If the operator is unable to assist in making a collect call, plan members can opt to pay for the call and submit a claim for reimbursement later to cover the cost of the long distance charges.

What do I need to do when making a claim? 

As a plan member, you are ultimately responsible for managing your out-of-country claims; this includes correctly filling out forms. You should submit your claims directly to Great-West Life along with an authorization for the provincial plan to reimburse Great-West Life for the province’s share of the claim cost. Great-West Life will reimburse you for both the province’s share of the claim cost as well as the balance of expenses covered under your group plan.

Time requirements for claim submission vary by jurisdiction. Please be aware of these requirements to ensure you submit claims within the designated time period.

When submitting an out-of-country claim to Great-West Life, please ensure you complete an out-of-country claim form, rather than a healthcare expenses statement.

If you have questions or want more information, visit and click Client Services or use the GroupNet for Plan Members website. All general questions regarding out-of-country coverage can be directed to GWL, 1-800-957-9777.