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:

Question:

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.

Answer:

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.

Travel insurance top-up

The Public Service Employees Trust is pleased to announce that, effective March 1, 2020, there will no longer be a top-up restriction on the travel health benefits coverage for the Manitoba Public Service Retiree Health Plan.

Members will now be able to purchase coverage to extend their coverage beyond the 60-day trip maximum offered by the plan. Previously, purchase of coverage to extend coverage beyond the 60-day maximum would invalidate the coverage for the trip.

We are very pleased to have made this improvement to the travel health benefits for members, and continue to welcome your feedback on the plan.

2019 Annual Renewal

The 2019 annual renewal information has been mailed to plan members by Manitoba Blue Cross. We are pleased to report that we are satisfied that the premium rates that Manitoba Blue Cross has set for the 2019 plan year are reasonable in relation to the benefits provided, the costs to support the payment of the group administrative expenses, and the payment of member claims.