Employees at the CBC will be seeing changes in the way our Supplemental Health Care Plan is administered in the New Year, and they include changes that the Canadian Media Guild has advocated for years at the Consultative Committee on Staff Benefits.
We’re finally getting a drug card through Great West Life, something our members have wanted for a long time. The CBC and GWL will be sending out information several times over the fall to let you know what you need to do to make sure there’s a smooth transition. Please read the material and make sure all your personal information, such and dependents and home address, is up to date.
The main changes
When the new drug card comes into effect on January 1, 2016, the CBC will finally be changing the way it interprets co-ordination of non-prescription drug benefits for couples when both spouses work for the CBC. It will be less restrictive. When an employee reaches the spending cap on a service such as physiotherapy, he or she will be able to file for reimbursement under the spouse’s coverage, up to the limit under the spouse’s. In other words, employees will no longer be penalized because their spouse also works for the same employer.
Another change will be coming with the drug card, and it involves how the mandatory substitution of generic drugs is applied. Under our plan, a pharmacist is supposed to substitute the cheaper generic equivalent of a brand name prescription drug. It can save the plan a lot of money. In the past, your doctor could simply write “No substitution” on the prescription, and the generic substitute would not be dispensed to you. With the drug card, your doctor will have to fill out a form to show there is a medical reason for not using the cheaper generic drug. The health plan will not cover the cost, if the doctor charges for the note.
Most health plans in the country have similar provisions regarding the use of generic drugs. Generics have the same active therapeutic ingredients in them as the brand name drug, but they may have different colouring or non-active ingredients. If you have an allergy to one of those ingredients, that would be an example of a legitimate medical reason for not using the generic. Your pharmacist and doctor should be able to assist you in determining when a generic drug is appropriate for you to use for medical reasons.
Thanks to our colleagues and welcome to new staff reps
At the September CCSB meeting, we also expressed thanks to two members who have provided valuable services to the committee. Our Ottawa-based staff representative, Gabi Durocher, has retired. Gabi has been a pillar of support for CMG members trying to navigate their way through the Long Term Disability process, and for that he will be particularly missed. The September meeting was the last for Anna Whitley, who had represented the pensioners for nine years. Anna was a great source of information on how various human resources policies and practices evolved at the CBC, and that’s been a great help to us. We wish them both the best as their retirements continue.
Our two newest CMG reps, Patty Ducharme and Federico Carvajal, attended our September meetings as they immerse themselves in their new work. We welcome them to the job.
If you missed it over the summer, the CCSB also approved subsidies for several employee-paid benefits at the last meeting in June. You can find the details at http://www.cmg.ca/en/2015/07/09/premium-reductions-coming-for-ltd-and-optional-life-insurance-plans/
Your representatives at the CCSB: