GeoBlue for Employees
Northwestern faculty and staff traveling internationally on Northwestern/university business will be automatically covered by Northwestern's business traveler insurance plan (“the plan”) provided by GeoBlue. However, completing a one-time registration is necessary to maximize employee benefits and access provider details. Pre-registration will expedite any need for services during travel. No travel dates or destinations are required to register.
"Northwestern/university business" is international travel in support of one's Northwestern duties and responsibilities. Such travel should be funded by Northwestern through operational or grant funds. Examples include conference attendance, data collection, collaborative research, short-term teaching or research assignments, recruitment, and site visits as well as employees who accompany students abroad for research, study or volunteer activities supported by Northwestern.
- The plan covers “benefits-eligible” employees, including post-docs and fellows and any spouse, partner, or unmarried dependents who may be accompanying such employees traveling on university business or business sojourn (leisure trip directly connected before, after or during a business trip). Refer to the definition of "eligible dependents" in the Business Traveler Certificate of Coverage to ensure coverage.
- Exceptions can be made to cover employees who are not “benefits-eligible,” but will travel on university-affiliated trips and charged with student oversight or support. Examples include third party or independent contractors such as adjunct faculty or part-time staff serving as trip leaders on faculty-led group trips, athletic trainers traveling with teams for competition, and community faith leaders leading NU service trips abroad. Each traveler in this category should report their trip to Cydney Epp in the Office of Risk Management (ORM) before traveling so that potential claims can be approved in an expeditious manner.
- McGaw medical residents, NRSA post-doctoral scholars, independent contractors, volunteers, adjuncts or Emeritus employees who travel abroad on temporary assignment for Northwestern are not eligible for the plan
- Visiting international scholars also do not qualify for the plan, but eligible individuals have limited travel medical and assistance coverage under a separate, special plan
- Classes of individuals who do not qualify for the student or employee GeoBlue plan are strongly recommended to individually enroll in a GeoBlue’s commercial product; departmental reimbursement may be available if the travel is required for one’s job performance
- Contact Cydney Epp in the Office of Risk Management for questions about eligibility for the GeoBlue employee plan
Duration (including COVID-19 exceptions)
- The duration limit on travel is 180 days (roughly 6 months).
- For travel exceeding 180 days, a separate GeoBlue plan can be purchased for the additional time, and reimbursement may be honored on a case-by-case basis if the long-term travel is related to university business; email firstname.lastname@example.org to enroll.
- Northwestern employees hired to permanently work overseas, or whose permanent residence is outside the U.S., are not eligible for GeoBlue; contact the Human Resources Benefits office to discuss alternative coverage options
- Before travel, employees should complete a one-time registration at www.geo-blue.com and entering (or copying and pasting) Northwestern’s Access Code: QHG9999NWBTY with a Northwestern email address
- Registration is optional, but recommended, to maximize employee benefits and access provider details – a lack of registration may impede Northwestern and GeoBlue's ability to provide immediate assistance to you during an emergency abroad
- Before or during travel, access the GeoBlue website or download the free mobile app to find international doctors, hospitals and pharmacies, make appointments for any health care needs and set up direct pay, if available
- There is no deductible, and there will be no cost to the traveler or department for the plan, assuming the traveler meets the eligibility criteria
- Employees will receive primary medical insurance coverage for any medically necessary care needed while traveling abroad on business, up to a maximum of $250,000 per trip
- There is no need to provide travel plans or pay a premium to the insurance company
- Medical as well as security evacuation coverage is provided if relocation due to an emergency situation is needed; read more about political or natural disaster evacuation procedures
- Northwestern does not centrally restrict travel to certain countries for faculty or staff, but employees should consult with their supervisor, unit director or dean prior to scheduling travel to higher-risk locations. However, Crisis24, Northwestern political, security and natural disaster evacuation (PEND) provider requires disclosure of planned travel to a list of countries considered high risk. Refer to pre-approval for high risk destinations for further instructions.
- Employees accompanying students abroad should contact the OGSS for trip leader training
- There is no age limit for travelers
- More information about specific conditions, exclusions and other terms are outlined in the GeoBlue Employee Member Guide
Care and Claims
- Once abroad, if the costs for COVID-testing is not covered by the event organizer, host government, institution, GeoBlue will cover medically prescribed testing and testing after exposure, even if asymptomatic. Pre- and post-travel testing to board aircraft, for example, is NOT covered by GeoBlue. Travelers should expect to pay for these tests if not made available on-site for free. (See COVID-19 Coverage flyer for more information.)
- If you have a pre-existing conditions, be sure to contact GeoBlue in advance of your departure. Most prescription medications are easily transportable abroad. However, certain prescribed medications, such as those to control psychosis, attention-deficit disorder or chronic/severe pain, may not be available or are considered illegal in some foreign countries and could be confiscated by customs agents if discovered. Read more about this at the Traveling with Medications webpage
- To arrange routine physical or mental health care during extended visits or direct payment of medical expenses, follow the directions under accessing routine (non-emergency) care abroad
- In case of medical emergency abroad, the traveler should go to the nearest clinic or hospital then follow directions under medical emergencies
- If traveler's pay up front for care, follow directions for seeking reimbursement for care by email, fax or postal mail
For employee eligibility questions, contact Cydney Epp in the Office of Risk Management; for all other questions related to the GeoBlue for Employees plan, contact email@example.com.