[Updated on August 10, 2015 – see underlined text below.] The Consultative Committee on Staff Benefits (CCSB) has voted to temporarily reduce premiums for two of our employee-paid benefits – Long Term Disability (LTD) and Optional Life Insurance.
In recent years both plans have accumulated surpluses. Knowing that Great West Life has been chosen to continue administering these plans, we felt it was the right time to implement a strategy for the surplus funds – at the same time ensuring adequate funding is in place to reduce the plans’ risk of increased future claims.
LTD is a mandatory plan for CBC employees, and at present it provides incomes to almost 280 people who have been off work for more than 17 weeks due to illness or disability. The plan has a surplus of $8.5 million. The CCSB has voted to set aside $4 million that will be allocated to providing future cost of living increases of up to two per cent a year for members who don’t have automatic protection for inflation. We expect that will be sufficient to provide five years of protection for members on LTD, but we will review the numbers annually and make adjustments if needed.
The CCSB has voted to use the remaining $4.5 million in surplus funds to subsidize our premiums, which currently cost members 1.5 per cent of their base pay. This portion will be used to reduce the premiums to 1.24 per cent of pay over three years. (For example, someone with a biweekly salary of $2,500 would see their LTD deduction go from $37.50 to $31.00.) As with the cost of living adjustment, we will review the results annually to see whether the premium subsidy should continue. The temporary premium reduction will take effect on Sept. 1, 2015.
We also have decided to use surplus funds to implement premium subsidies for employees who have chosen to participate in our voluntary life insurance plans, including Optional Life, Dependent Life and Reducing Term Life insurance. Effective September, we will reduce the premiums paid by members by an average of 39% [Please note this has changed since the July 9 update]. We expect the subsidy premium will last four years, but as with LTD, the results will be reviewed each year to see whether continuing the subsidy is sustainable, based on the number of claims filed. The amount a member actually saves will depend on what level of insurance the member has chosen to purchase.
The CCSB has also made a several adjustments to the maximum amounts that may be paid under its Special Assistance Fund.
-The maximum for hearing aids will increase by $200 from $2,000 per ear every five years to $2,200.
-The maximums for mobility devices will increase by $700 from $7,000 to $7,700 every five years for wheelchairs, and by $500 from $5,000 to $5,500 for scooters.
-The maximum for fertility treatments increase by $2,000, from $5,000 to $7,000.
The new limits apply to purchases made after June 1, 2015. The lifetime maximum in total payments per person remains at $12,500. For details on the Special Assistance Fund and how to apply, go to the CMG website (http://www.cmg.ca/en/cbcradiocanada/special-assistance-fund/).
Your representatives at the June CCSB: