Health & Welfare

2019 TRUSTEES’ REPORT

WHAT’S NEW 

Health & Welfare

The following Plan changes will be effective January 1, 2020.

 Supplemental Health Account

To streamline administration of the Supplemental Health Account the following changes will be effective January 1, 2020.

  1. The Supplemental Health Account benefit will now be applied automatically to any dental, optical and/or hearing aid overage up to the $750 supplemental limit. See the Dental/Optical/Hearing Aid heading for more information on this.
  2. The Supplemental Health Account will no longer apply to Health Practitioners. Health Practitioners are covered thru Pacific Blue Cross (PBC), while the Supplemental Health Account is self-administered thru our welfare office, going forward the Supplemental Health Account will only apply to Dental, Optical and Hearing Aids.
  3. To offset this change the annual limits of the most used Health Practitioner categories have increased as follows:
    • Massage Therapist and/or Physiotherapist (increase from $500 to $750)
    • Chiropractor and/or Naturopath (increase from $500 to $750)
    • Clinical Psychologist/Clinical Counsellor (increase from $1000 to $2000 per person)

Plan C

To qualify for Plan C coverage members must apply between their 65th and 70th birthday and must have been on our plan 48 months of the past 60 months immediately before applying for Plan C.

 

Plan C will now include hearing aid coverage within its dental and/or optical benefit, and the amount will increase from $1,000 to $1,500 for dental, optical and/or hearing aids.

Plan D

Plan D is discontinued 

Online Optical

Firmoo Optical Store at firmoo.com is added to the approved online optical suppliers list. Clearly Contacts at clearly.ca and firmoo.com are the only approved online suppliers.

 

 

This report provides a summary of benefits and includes Audits of both the Welfare and Pension plans for the last fiscal year July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2019.

 

Our Annual meeting to discuss plan affairs will be held immediately after the December 2019 Unit

#2 meeting on:

 

Date:   December 12, 2019

Time:  About 8:00 p.m. following the Unit 2 meeting

Place:  The Union Auditorium, Richard Dowling Centre 1424 Broadway Street Port Coquitlam

 

All plan members regardless of the Unit they belong to are welcome to attend this meeting as this is an opportunity to discuss plan affairs.

 

OUR MISSION

 

“The Trustees of the Local 213 Electrical Workers’ Welfare and Pension Plans will fully employ their individual and combined skills to:

 

  • Protect the assets of the Trust Funds by investing these funds in a prudent manner using quality governance and management practices.
  • Provide the best possible benefits for our members and their families in a cost effective and reliable manner.
  • Meet our pension and benefit promises to the membership in a timely, accurate and courteous manner.
  • Provide an open, accessible and responsive method of communicating with the Plans’ membership.”

 

WELFARE PLAN UPDATE

 

Medical Services Plan (MSP) premiums will end January 1, 2020.  Although premiums have been eliminated, enrolment in MSP remains mandatory for all British Columbia residents. Members currently registered with MSP thru our plan will remain registered with our Group MSP account.  New members can register for MSP as part of our Group MSP by completing the MSP form at our office when applying for benefits, or in the alternate choose to register for MSP with Health Insurance BC (HIBC) as an individual by registering for MSP thru the gov.bc.ca/managingyourMSPaccount website.

In previous years under the BC Liberals MSP premiums had been steadily increasing.  The health and welfare plan has been absorbing the increases thru prudent management.  The contribution amount had been $2.10/hour for over a decade and increased to $2.30/hour in 2016.  In comparison the other BC IBEW locals are at $2.50/hour for their H&W plan and most other building trades are at $2.50/hour or higher.

The elimination of MSP premiums is welcomed news.  The Trustees have decided to allocate the savings to increase plan reserves, which will allow for some investment income funding to mitigate future contribution increase.  In addition, the Trustees have engaged a consultant to do actuarial modelling to study plan funding with the thought of future retiree subsidy increases or if possible, eliminate premiums for retirees entirely.

The Welfare Plan membership currently consists of our brothers and sisters working in the following areas:

Construction Wiremen

Marine Wiremen

Motor Winders

ADT/Tyco

Cable TV

  • The total number of members covered this year is 3,019 as of August 2019, which means there is an increase from 2018 when the total was 2,823.

 

In addition to the members who are covered through employment our plan provides coverage for eligible members in the following categories:

  • Wage Indemnity
  • EI Sick
  • Income Continuance
  • Workers’ Compensation
  • Apprentices in School
  • Maternity Leave

SELF PAY

 

Members who are working elsewhere can self-pay for plan coverage as long as they maintain their membership in the Union.  These members can self-pay Plan A for the first 3 years after employment through our Union and thereafter may only pay Plans B until they return to work through the Union.

 

Members who retire early can purchase Plan A or B coverage, up to age 65 when the Provincial Pharmacare program and our retired members’ benefit package (Plan C) becomes available to them.

 

To be eligible to pay Plan C, members must apply between their 65th and 70th birthday and must have been on our plan 48 months of the past 60 months immediately before applying for Plan C.

 

Retired  members  on Plan C that return to work for a contributing employer will have the choice of staying on Plan C and have the hours contributed provide Plan C coverage or have the hours provide Plan A coverage but be in-eligible for self-pay of Plan C when their hour bank is depleted.

 

Currently the self-pay rates are:

 

Plan A

Coverage costs $440/month and consists of:

  • Basic Medical (MSP) – Group Administration
  • Extended Health (Pacific Blue Cross)
  • Life Insurance –under age 65 ($100,000)
  • Life Insurance – 65 and older ($35,000)
  • Spousal Insurance ($5,000) – With dependent children ($10,000)
  • Member Death Benefit (formerly Bereavement Fund) ($10,000)
  • Wage Indemnity-Income Continuance – (only when working for contributing employer)
  • Dental/Hearing Aids & Optical – ($2,500 dental/hearing aids, $500 optical per family per year)
  • Children’s Orthodontics (75%)
  • Supplemental Health Account ($750 per family per year)
  • Bereavement Wage Loss ($250 per day maximum 3 days when working for contributing employer)
  • Members Assistance Program

 

Plan B

Coverage costs $240/month and consists of:

  • Basic Medical (MSP) – Group Administration
  • Extended Health (Pacific Blue Cross)
  • Life Insurance ($100,000)
  • Spousal Insurance ($5,000) – With dependent children ($10,000)
  • Members Assistance Program

 

Plan C

  • Coverage costs $165/month and consists of:
  • Basic Medical (MSP) – Group Administration
  • Extended Health (Pacific Blue Cross)
  • Dental/Optical & Hearing Aids ($1,500 per family per year effective January 1, 2020)
  • Members Assistance Program
  • Life Insurance: as follows:
  • Age 65 $10,000
  • 66     9,000
  • 67     8,000
  • 68     7,000
  • 69     6,000
  • 70+     5,000

*Extended Health coverage is limited to $100,000 per member or dependent (including out of Province coverage) per lifetime.

 

To be eligible to pay Plan C, members must apply between their 65th and 70th birthday and must have been on our plan 48 months of the past 60 months immediately before applying for Plan C.

 

BASIC MEDICAL (MSP OF BC)

This year we paid $1,928,488.25 in premiums to the BC Medical Services Plan for basic medical coverage.  These monthly premiums are a taxable benefit for the 2019 tax year and a T4A for these and other taxable benefits will be mailed out to the membership in 2020.

Effective, January 1, 2020 the Government of BC will be eliminating MSP premiums.  The Ministry of Health and Health Insurance BC will continue to require MSP registration for BC residence after premiums have been eliminated.  Local 213 Electrical Workers’ Welfare Plan will continue to administer our group MSP account for plan members, including:

  • Member and dependent enrollment (for administration)
  • Member and dependent removal (for administration)
  • Address changes
  • Dependent post-secondary student verification

 

DENTAL, OPTICAL AND HEARING AIDS

 

Reimbursement cheques are issued every 2nd Friday. All required forms, receipts and/or supporting documents must be in the Welfare Plan office no later than the Wednesday at 12:00 noon prior to the Friday of reimbursement.

Please be aware that the deadline for reimbursement is March 31 of the year following the year of the expense.

The Plan has a “Fine” policy in place with regard to fraudulent claims.

 

DENTAL/HEARING AIDS

 

Our annual dental/hearing aid allowance is $2,500 per family per calendar year.

We have direct reimbursement available for dental offices.  To take advantage of this service the dental office should contact the benefits office to get enrolled.  Each member is responsible for maintaining the balance of their dental benefit.  This balance will not be given to dentists.

 Please be aware that our dental plan does not cover unnecessary or cosmetic dentistry, including bleaching and veneers except with the consent of the Plan Trustees.

For dental reimbursement we require an original paid receipt and a Standard Dental Claim Form, which are available from all Dentists’ offices.  If there is another plan involved in making a partial payment, confirmation of the amount paid will be required in the form of a supporting document.

Please be advised that the Plan Trustees have the ability to pro-rate coverage.  Members with less than 4 months of coverage in the calendar year will be pro-rated to 1/12 of the dental limit for each month of coverage.

 

OPTICAL

Our annual optical allowance is $500 per family per calendar year.

Members are allowed to use their annual $500 optical benefit for corrective laser eye surgery, and eye examinations that are not covered by the BC Medical Plan.

Only prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses are reimbursed under our optical plan rules and an itemized paid receipt along with a copy of the prescription is required for reimbursement.  Receipts issued by online suppliers are not accepted with the exception of those issued by Clearly Contacts or Firmoo Optical Store.

Also, be aware that Your Eyes Only Optical and Skylight Optical are no longer approved optical suppliers for reimbursement.

 

 

SUPPLEMENTAL HEALTH ACCOUNT

 

The Supplemental Health Account reimburses expenses that exceed the annual maximums for Dental, Optical, and/or Hearing Aids.  This allows for an extra seven hundred and fifty dollars ($750) in total that can be applied toward these benefits.  Effective January 1, 2020 the supplemental health account form has been eliminated to streamline administration.  This benefit will now be applied automatically to any dental, optical and/or hearing aid overages up to the $750 supplemental limit.  If a member is managing their benefits and does not want the supplemental benefit to be applied automatically, the member must indicate this by written request when submitting claims that may lead to overages.

In order to qualify for this benefit, members must have at least 4 months coverage in the calendar year.

Effective January 1, 2020 Health Practitioners can no longer be claimed under the supplemental health account benefit.

 

 

CHILDREN’S ORTHODONTIC PROGRAM

 

This benefit is for members’ dependent children up to their 18th birthday and is separate and apart from our regular dental plan.

 

The Plan reimburses 75% of treatment costs up to a limit of $7,000 for a total payable amount of $5,250.  An estimate must be submitted to Local 213 Electrical Workers’ Welfare Plan office before the work commences.  The Trustees may require a second estimate if they consider the first estimate too high.  Members using this benefit should be aware that they are required to pay for full Plan “A” coverage when they are self- paying, as our other plans do not cover orthodontics.  Please be aware that the deadline for reimbursement is March 31 of the year following the year of the expense.

 

 

WAGE INDEMNITY (WI)

 

Our Wage Indemnity benefit is $80 per day ($560 per week) for a maximum period of 52 weeks, including any EI sick benefit entitlement.  The changes to EI have not affected EI sick benefits except that the maximum payment is $562 per week and it now only requires 600 hours of insurable employment to qualify for EI sick benefits.  If you become disabled while on an existing EI Claim, you simply apply to EI to convert your claim from regular to sick benefits any time during the claim period and there is no waiting period.

Members must use up any EI sick benefits entitlement before coming onto our Wage Indemnity Plan.  The waiting period for a new EI claim is 1 week, if eligible the waiting period will be paid by our plan.

When a covered member has exhausted their EI sick benefits, or does not qualify, then our Plan will pay benefits as outlined above.

We reimburse up to twenty-five dollars ($25) for the cost of Doctors completing the wage indemnity claim forms.  A paid receipt should accompany the Wage Indemnity claim form.

Please note that to qualify for our Wage Indemnity benefit, members must:

  • have a current Hour Bank
  • have worked within 90 days of disability
  • provide EI claim information provided by Service Canada

 

Benefits are payable on the fourth day of sickness and the first day of a non-occupational accident. Benefits will not be paid prior to the first day you are seen by a doctor. A claimant must be unable to perform any occupation, and the disability requires the full time monitoring of a doctor recognized by the college of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia.

 

Exclusions

 

No benefits will be paid for periods of disability arising from:

 

  • Occupational accidents or illness
  • Self-inflicted injuries or diseases
  • Injuries or diseases resulting from war, or participation in a riot, or arising while serving as a member of any armed forces
  • Medical conditions existing prior to commencement of coverage
  • Disability must occur within a 90 day period immediately following the last day of work with a contributing employer
  • No benefits are payable for injuries or illness as a result of an automobile incident for which ICBC or other automobile insurance applies
  • No benefits will be paid for any period for which the person has, or will, received vacation pay for an annual vacation or V.O. time (V.O. time may be collected for the three day waiting period)
  • No benefits are payable for E.I. overpayments, violations or other penalties imposed under the Employment Insurance Act

INCOME CONTINUANCE

 

If a member is still disabled after 52 weeks of Wage Indemnity, they may be entitled to the $1,000 per month Income Continuance benefit.

Income Continuance is payable up to age 65 for members with more than 10 years of membership in Local 213 IBEW  Members with less than 10 years of membership will be prorated according to their number of years in Local 213 IBEW.

Members must have been covered by our Welfare Plan for 48 of the last 60 months preceding their disability to qualify for Income Continuance.

 

JURY DUTY

Plan members are covered for straight time wages less the amount received by the Sheriff’s department while on jury duty under the terms of the Wiremen’s Agreement.

 

Members working under the terms of the Wiremen’s Agreement called for jury duty, who are not chosen, can still collect straight time wages for actual time lost upon receipt of confirmation from the Sheriff’s department.  Application forms are available from the Welfare Plan Office.

 

For other covered members of this plan, the jury duty payment is $150 per day based on a five day week, for actual days missed from work for a contributing contractor upon submission of a Sheriff’s receipt to the Welfare Office.

 

BEREAVEMENT WAGE LOSS

 

The bereavement wage loss benefit of $250 a day for up to 3 days is paid in the event of the death in their immediate family.  To qualify, members must be on Plan A, working for a contributing employer that has no bereavement benefit and miss work due to the death of a family member named in the benefit policy.  Immediate family will be recognized as the employee’s spouse (including common-law spouse), mother, father, step-mother, step-father, sister, brother, son, daughter (including adopted or step son or step daughter), grandfather, or grandmother.

 

MEMBER DEATH BENEFIT

 

The plan will pay up to a $10,000.00 bereavement benefit to the beneficiary or relative of the deceased member who pays the funeral expenses.  This is a non-taxable benefit.

 

 LIFE INSURANCE

Current life insurance coverage is $100,000 for members under age 65 and $35,000 for active members 65 years old and over. With the $10,000 Member Death Benefit (formerly Bereavement Benefit) outlined above, active members under age 65 have an effective total of $110,000 Life Insurance protection and active members age 65 and over have a total of $45,000.

Spousal Life Insurance is $5,000, which is payable to the member upon the death of their covered spouse.  The covered spouse will be the spouse who is covered for other Welfare Plan benefits by the member.  For those members with dependent children this benefit is increased to $10,000. 

As a BC Life and Casualty group member you are eligible to convert your group life insurance benefit ($100,000) to an individual policy provided you are not retired and under age 65.  You must apply for this conversion privilege within 31 days of the date your group insurance terminates and you are not required to provide evidence of good health or take a medical exam.  All members are eligible for this benefit. Monthly premiums paid to Life Insurance Companies on your behalf are a taxable benefit.

 

EXTENDED HEALTH – PACIFIC BLUE CROSS (PBC)

For calendar year 2020, you will be required to pay the first $100 deductible (per family, per calendar year) and 20% of all eligible expenses after that.  Once an individual has had $1,000 in claims reimbursed in a calendar year, all further eligible expenses are covered 100%.

This benefit incorporates the BC Fair Pharmacare program and it is not necessary to mail in forms for reimbursement from either Pacific Blue Cross (PBC) or Pharmacare for prescription drugs.  You are required to produce the PBC “Blue-NET” membership card for this convenient direct pay prescription service.

“Eligible expenses”, which are over and above basic MSP coverage, include:

  • Prescription Drugs
  • Emergency out of Province Medical Expense
  • Specialist Services
  • Special Nursing
  • Private or Semi-Private Hospital Rooms
  • Ambulance
  • Wheelchairs, Crutches, Splints, etc.
  • Health Practitioners

Members travelling outside of the Province should be aware that our Extended Health Coverage is unlimited (except Plan “C”). Therefore, if you plan on travelling in the USA or other countries, it may not be necessary to purchase additional medical insurance.

Members should also be aware that they can convert to an individual PBC extended health plan within 60 days of termination of their group plan.  PBC will waive the pre-existing condition under this conversion option.  Please refer to the “Termination of coverage” section of the PBC extended health brochure.

Every member should have a “Medi-Assist” card which lists telephone numbers for assistance in emergencies when travelling in other countries.

Medi-Assist cards and PBC Claim forms are available at the Welfare Plan Office and our PBC group numbers are 183149 for active members and 149402 for our retired members.

 

HEALTH PROFESSIONALS

Health professionals are covered under our Pacific Blue Cross coverage and will be paid at 80%.  Please consult the PBC brochure for a further description of these services.  These claims will be included in the $100 deductible under PBC coverage.

The following Health Practitioners are covered per person per calendar year:

Acupuncture $500

Podiatrist $500

Speech Language Pathologist $500

Effective January 1, 2020 the following health practitioner limits have been increased per person per calendar year:

 Massage Therapy/Physiotherapy combined dollar maximum of $750

Chiropractor/Naturopath combined dollar maximum of $750

Psychologist/Clinical Counsellor combined dollar maximum of $2,000

 

MEMBERS ASSISTANCE PROGRAM

Our member assistance program provides a wide assortment of comprehensive counselling and crisis management services as well as prevention oriented health promotion and online programs.

Counselling for individual and personal problems, family and marital issues, stress, anxiety and workplace issues and counselling for other areas of concerns as identified by the client either in person, by telephone or through e-counselling.

Caregiver Services

  • New Parents
  • Childcare and Parenting
  • Elder and Family Care giving (includes Phone Support)
  • Life Planning Services
  • Financial Advisory Service
  • Legal Advisory Service (Lawline)
  • Career Counselling
  • Pre-Retirement Planning
  • Shift Worker Support
  • E-Courses
  • Health Management Services
  • Smoking Cessation
  • Nutritional counselling
  • Health and Wellness Companion Crisis Management Services
  • Crisis Management Services

Call any time 24/7 your MFAP services are completely confidential 1-800-663-1142 or www.homewoodhealth.com or use the Homewood Health app.

 

 REHABILITATION PLAN

The services of the Rehabilitation Plan are available at no charge to members that have contributions through their collective agreements.

  • The program is run at the office at 402-223 Nelson’s Crescent, New Westminster. They have three Masters level clinicians, one Bachelors level case manager and an Executive Director who is also a Master level clinician. The staff provides a 12 month treatment plan that is tailored to each client based on the 3 PILLARS OF PREVENTION & PROMOTION, TREATMENT, and BUILDING RESILIENCY. Clients that require residential treatment are treated at outside facilities when a bed is available.

The staff are available to assist any member with alcohol or substance use problems by phoning 604-521-8611 or 1-888-521-8611 (for out of town members).  Members can also contact our Plan Administrator, John Pesa, for assistance in this regard.

This Plan’s counselling services include family, financial and emotional problems and assistance is also available to members’ spouses and dependants.  Recovery is very often a family affair and confidentiality is guaranteed!

 

CATV ADDENDUM

In addition to the benefits outlined in this Welfare Plan Report (with the exception of Income Continuance) there is a Cablevision benefit package which is self-paid by the CATV membership.

This additional package is provided by BC Life (PBC) and consists of:

Long Term Disability – up to $2,000 per month

Accidental Death & Dismemberment – $60,000

Group Term Life – $25,000

 

It is with regret that we report the deaths of the following members, including Retired

Members, who have passed away since our last report:

Mohammad Afrasiabi                         Douglas Arthur                       Walter Bagnall

Aleksandar Bakalic                            Allan Baptiste                         Gerry Bardock

Nicholas Bassianiotis                         Jean Beauregard                     Sam Burton

Harry Chudyk                                     Arthur Crampton                    Robert Crowle

Horst Deichmann                                Gordon Engstrom                   Fergus Erickson

Larry Gillie                                         Dave Hales                             Harold Hartwig

Norman Hass                                      Darwyn Henry                        Haneiff Hosein

Ronald Houlden                                  Albert Hurstfield                    Marijan Ivancic

Kenneth Kilby                                    Hans Knudsen                         Klaas Korver

Ben Larsen                                          John Lengyel                          Jack Long

David McCarthy                                 Robert Musgrove                    Robert Novy

Bradley Rempel                                  Richard Slamon                      Ken Swart

John Todrick                                       Arthur Uren                            Elizabeth Wallace

Ross Williamson                                David Worsfold

 

Submitted by your Trustees and Administrator with many thanks to our Office Staff:

 

Chairman:                 Scott Ashton

Secretary:                  Brian Kennedy

Vice-Chairman:        Jim Lofty

Trustee:                      Darcy Biln

Trustee:                      Adam Van Steinburg

Administrator:          John Pesa