Employee Benefits

There have been many changes and meetings held throughout the year.  This report will hopefully highlight the most important changes.

  1. Health Plan Premiums Increase
  • Premiums are going up by 4.9% starting September 1, 2017 (This is not the Dental Plan – Please read further down for that)
  • They will go up another 1.8% starting January 1, 2018
  • Why the increase? – The plan experienced double digit claims cost increases primarily in prescription drug costs and in paramedical services
  1. Reasonable and Customary Charges
  • A major change that some people may have already experienced, is starting September 1, 2017, paramedical services will now have reasonable and customary Charges
  • You will still have the same amount each year (eg: $850 for massage), however, the cost per visit will now have a limit
  • The plan will cover 80% of the reasonable and customary charge but if your service costs more than the reasonable and customary charge set for that paramedical service, you will have to pay the rest of the amount
  • Please see the following chart to see the reasonable and customary charges for each paramedical field:

 

Per Visit Maximums (Reasonable and Customary Charges) (effective Sept/17)
Paramedical Practitioner Per Visit Maximum
Acupuncturist $85
Athletic Therapist Initial: $77.73

Subsequent: $52.91

Audiologist $115
Chiropractor $50
Clinical Psychologist $180
Foot Care Nurse $45
Massage Therapist $80
Naturopath $170
Occupational Therapist $165
Osteopath $140
Physiotherapist Initial: $73.70

Subsequent: $59.35

Podiatrist Home Visit: $92

Office Visit: $62

New Patient Office Visit: $72

Registered Dietician $145
Speech-Language Pathologist $110

 

*The plan covers 80% of the per visit maximum (reasonable and customary charge) for eligible paramedical services. *

 

  1. Preferred Pharmacy Network
  • Introduced in January 2017, there are 2 preferred pharmacies in this network that were set up to save you money. These are:
    • Costco Pharmacy (Winnipeg) for short term prescriptions
    • Express Scripts Canada (ESC) Pharmacy® for long term maintenance prescriptions (They will deliver to your mail box)
  • At these two pharmacies, the plan will pay 90% of the cost of the prescription (instead of 80% with other pharmacies) so that you will only pay 10% of the prescription cost
  • You can sign up for ESC online at express-scripts.ca/mpse and use the VIP code: MPSE
  1. Dental Plan Increases:
  • The BLSD dental plan premium will go up 3% as of September 2017 and will go up an additional 3% in January 2018
  • This increase was voted on by the Executive and Council in June 2017 under the recommendation of Glen Anderson
  1. . Maternity/Paternity Leave Seminar
  • Borderland Teacher Association hosted this seminar in December and had very good feedback from it
  • We are hoping to keep doing these seminars if there continues to be interest
  1. Early to Mid-Career TRAF Seminars

Here are some reminders from the seminar this year:

  1. Set Up an online account with TRAF
  • It is very easy and user friendly
  • This allows members to see what their pension will be
  • As well, it also allows to see and participate in online seminars
  • Also has a Pension Estimator to see how much you should expect to see (IF things stay the same with our pensions)
  1. Voluntary Contributions
  • Remind members, they can always up their contributions to TRAF if they so choose
  • However, those contributions will not be matched by the government
  1. Maternity/Parental/Adoptive Leave
  • Remind members they can buy back their service from leaves
  • VERY IMPORTANT: You can transfer money from your RRSPs into your TRAF to buy back your service
  • This is very important as it will increase their pension when they retire
  1. Defined Benefit Plan versus Target Benefit/Shared Risk
  • Tell members to get a better understanding of these two types of pensions
  • Defined Benefit Plan: What we have currently, pension for life and always stays the same
  • Target Benefit/Shared Risk: Pension for life but payout will fluctuate depending on markets and can go up and DOWN with no promised payout
  • Manitoba Government has started changing legislation to allow defined benefit plans to be converted to Target Benefit Plans

 

  1. Changes are coming
  • Encourage members to go to a mid-career seminar soon
  • The government is done with healthcare and is setting their sights on Education
  • There are several things that could be changing:
    • Changing the retirement age
    • Increasing our contributions without the government matching them 50/50
    • Switching to Target Benefit Plan
    • No more Early Retirement provisions
    • No more COLA (cost of living adjustments)
  • These are all different levers that can be changed to make the pension sustainable or that the government may want to change as other provincial governments have and the Manitoba Government also changed some of these things for Manitoba Nurses
  • Going to the Seminar gives members a say to tell MTS which change is the most acceptable to them when they sit down with the government to negotiate pensions

 

  1. Increase to Life Insurance Premium
  • There will be a $20 increase per year to our life insurance premium
  1. Important websites:

 

Respectfully Submitted by Larissa Boyd