Travel top-up and direct billing enhancements

We are pleased to share two travel coverage enhancements to the Manitoba Public Service Retiree Health Plan:

  1. The ability to purchase travel top-up coverage to extend your travel health benefits beyond the 60 day maximum.
  2. Expanded direct billing in the US; members with Manitoba Blue Cross travel health coverage will be eligible for direct billing with the 95 per cent of physicians, hospitals and clinics across the U.S. who are a part of the CanAssistance network.

Please see this document for all of the details about these enhancements to the plan.

2022 Annual Renewal

As a result of this year’s review, we are pleased to announce several changes that will begin February 1, 2022:

  1. A decrease in the premium rates for Option 1: Ambulance/Hospital coverage;
  2. Coverage for Option 3 has been upgraded; and
  3. A new Option 4 is available with enhanced benefit coverage.

Plan members have been sent the details of these changes by mail. There will be an open enrollment period from February 1st to March 31st, 2022 for members who wish to change their coverage.

The upgraded Option 3 will now include these additional coverages: vision care and extra paramedical services such as acupuncture, massage, naturopath, and osteopath under the paramedical services maximum.

The new enhanced Option 4 adds value to your benefit plan with higher maximums on drugs, paramedical services, vision care, and the addition of major dental and child orthodontics coverage.

2021 Annual Renewal

We are pleased to inform our members that we are satisfied that the decrease in premium rates that Manitoba Blue Cross has set for the 2021 plan year reflects the costs to support the payment of the group administrative expenses, and the payment of member claims.

We are also pleased to announce improvements to coverage for plan members who have extended health and dental coverage, effective February 1, 2021. These members will now have coverage for hearing aids, up to a maximum of $1,000 per person every five years. Also, the coverage for paramedical services has been expanded to include chiropractic services. There is a combined maximum of $750 per person, per year for paramedical services.

COVID-19 and Your Benefits

Below is the answer to a question recently asked by a plan member that we would like to share regarding your Blue Cross Health Plan and your access to benefits during the COVID-19 restrictions:


I was wondering why we are still being charged for Travel Insurance when no one is allowed to travel at this time. We also do not have access to dental, physiotherapists, chiropractors and the like so why are we also paying for these services?

Several insurance companies, namely Canada Life Assurance and Sun Life Financial Inc. Financial Corp are reducing dental premiums by 50 percent and extended health care premiums by 20 percent (excluding drugs). Manulife Financial is also reducing their dental premiums by 50 percent and extended health care premiums, including prescription drugs, by 10 percent.


We understand your position. During the pandemic, the concerns that you have expressed are similar to others who are in benefit plans. As such, requests have been made to Manitoba Blue Cross to determine if there can be relief provided to plan members during this difficult time.

It is correct that the many insurance carriers, including Manitoba Blue Cross, have reduced premiums for some group benefits plans for the month of April and are continuing to monitor the situation on a month to month basis. Unfortunately, reductions of premiums do not apply to all group plans and will depend on how the benefit plan is set up (this policy is consistent among the insurance carriers). At this time, the PSET Plan is not eligible for a reduction in premiums; instead, Manitoba Blue Cross is looking at future pricing to compensate for the any potential reduction in coverage/claims (i.e. this would be done with the plan’s renewal in January, 2021).

As the travel insurance product is a pooled program and coverage and pricing is based on the overall pool’s experience, Manitoba Blue Cross will not yet know the full impact of the travel claims given there is a natural lag in claims (as all claims have to go through Manitoba Health first) and coverage has been extended on exception basis for those who are stranded out-of-country due to the global pandemic. Therefore, Manitoba Blue Cross is hesitant to make any financial decisions until the experience/usage is known.

At this time, there are also some initiatives that the provincial government is taking to support seniors during this pandemic and that can sometimes can have an impact on what the group benefits industry does. We will continue to monitor this situation with Manitoba Blue Cross and the other insurance carriers and inform plan members as new information or changes become available.

Expanded diabetes coverage

The Public Service Employees Trust is pleased to announce expanded coverage for plan members with diabetes.

Effective March 1, 2020, coverage for Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) systems and Flash Glucose Monitoring (FGM) systems will be added as a standalone Extended Health Benefit for eligible members with Type 1 diabetes or Type 2 diabetes who require intensive insulin therapy.

Please see this PDF document for additonal details of coverage addition.