Public Sector Benefits Update

May 3, 2017

The BCGEU was not invited to participate in the decision to change benefit carriers, but we have monitored progress on your behalf to ensure your benefits are protected. We have been assured by government there is no change in coverage, and will continue to verify this is the case.

The following are the three most common issues that members have raised regarding the transition from Pacific Blue Cross (PBC) to Great West Life (GWL).

We expect that as the transition process continues and we receive further information there will be subsequent communications.

1. ID Cards

Employees who haven't received their ID cards can register on GroupNet – groupnet.greatwestlife.com – using the plan number 50088 and the ID number on their existing PBC ID card. Once registered, you can print off new cards from GroupNet.

Alternatively, employees can call GWL at 1-855-644-0538 to be sent a new card.  

2. Questions and Problems?

The Public Service Agency (PSA) has advised that members with other questions should consult the Frequently Asked Questions on MyHR, as most common questions have been answered there. If you need further information about claims or coverage, contact GWL directly.

Their general number is 1-855-644-0538 – operating hours are Mondays to Fridays from 5:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

3. Travel Insurance

While travel insurance is an optional item, not covered by our collective agreement, members who have bought an annual travel medical insurance plan with Pacific Blue Cross have raised a number of questions.

The BCGEU has been advised that current PBC annual individual travel medical insurance plans will continue until the expiry date on the policy. This individual travel medical plan is specific to PBC and has not been transitioned to Great-West Life.

However, Pacific Blue Cross has advised that your PBC individual travel plan will no longer be “first payer” after March 31, 2017 – “first payer” ensures that payment is made directly from the travel insurer before impacting coverage with other insurance plans.

PBC has advised that pro-rated refunds for annual plans are not available. Questions on the impact of this change should be directed to Pacific Blue Cross.

A “first payer” optional medical travel plan is available for purchase through Great West Life. 

As we begin to prepare for our next round of negotiations, we are considering whether to seek an improvement to our benefits package to include travel insurance. We would like to hear from our members – please reply with your thoughts to communications@bcgeu.ca