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FAQ ‑ Benefit renewal rates

Posted by Courtney Dillman on May 1, 2017 in Community

As a follow up from the last DPMG Annual Meeting, benefit renewal rates took effect April 1, 2017. To provide further clarification, I’ve taken your questions and compiled them for the benfit of all our members. 

If you have additional questions, contact courtney.dillman@Dal.Ca.



Can improvements be made to vision care and orthodontic coverage?

This was previously brought forward at the Employee Benefits Advisory Committee in 2015/2016. Any change in coverage comes with a rate change for every plan member, as usage increases.

Plan changes must be approved by all employee groups (DPMG, NSGEU 77 and 99, and DFA) who are affected by the change.

Dalhousie’s Benefit Consultants were asked to analyze the projected increase in cost. These increases were merely an estimate, as usage and trends are reviewed annually. These increases would impact the monthly cost as follows:

(80% reimbursement)

·  Up to $250 – increase in cost – 6.30%
·  Up to $300 – increase in cost – 7.70%
·  Up to $500 – increase in cost – 11.50%

Massage (80% reimbursement)

·  Up to $250 – increase in cost – 8.10%
·  Up to $500 – increase in cost – 10.80%

Cumulatively, if these benefits were both introduced the rates would be substantially impacted

·  Up to $250 – increase in cost – 14.40%
·  Up to $500 – increase in cost – 22.30%

Orthodontic coverage
If implemented would see an increase of 8.70%
For a maximum coverage amount of $3,000 per person per lifetime

The committee members were asked to circulate this information to their members. After discussion with their members, it was decided not to implement changes due to the increase of initial cost and potential future cost.

If these costs had been added previously to the recent increases, the plan would see a significant increase in the monthly premiums.    

Is there an option to have a two tiered medical coverage plan, where employees could pay more to extend their benefits to include more items (vision, massage, etc.)?

A flexible plan option was discussed at the Employee Benefits Advisory Committee in recent years.  Dalhousie’s Benefit Consultants met with union executives as well as held focus group sessions to obtain feedback.

A detailed analysis occurred integrating all aspects of implementing a plan design change. It was determined not to implement a flexible benefit option, to ensure stability of Dalhousie’s plan. 

Every member is entitled to a health spending account (non-taxable benefit) which provides members with flexibility and choice. Decisions on how the health spending account is used is up to the member and can vary year to year at the member’s discretion.  

If Long Term Disability is driving up the premiums for employees, what is being done to transition those LTD employees back into the workforce?

There are many factors and variables with respect to long-term disability durations. Forms of many measures are being conducted regularly.

These measures include:

·  Continuous communication updates with LTD case     managers and rehab specialists.
·  Monthly meetings with the carrier
·  Collaborative working relationships with departments
·  Conversation with Benefit Consultants in collaboration     with the carrier to focus on cost saving measures

Dalhousie is actively engaged with the Rehab Specialist at Manulife on returns to work as soon as the employee is medically able.