Are You Aware? We have Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

Are You Aware:  Tips on Discounts and Benefits  Updated April 2017

Discounts and Savings

Long Distance Savings

Bell is currently offering an unlimited North American long distance package for $10 per month to customers with any three of the following service Bell Mobility/Bell TV/Internet/Home phone  or those who subscribe to the choice or complete home phone packages to be eligible. The advantage to this long distance plan is you do not have to pay the $6.95/month network access charge so for many of our members it is a significant saving over other plans. Those of you with family outside your local calling area or kids at school can fully exploit this plan by ordering the family contact card so “charges” are applied to the plan

http://www.bell.ca/Home_phone/Products/Unlimited-Canada-and-US-plan-10

Employee Discount Plan

 

The employee Discount Plan has evolved over the years with the latest changes occurring in 2013. Details of the services that qualify for the 35% discount can be found at the Intouch website at the following link:

 

 http://www.intouch.bell.ca/

 

Bell Negotiated Discounts

 

Also on the intouch website there are details about discounts through The Source Employee Purchase Program. There are also links to many other Bell sponsored offerings including:

 

VIA Rail Canada, Apple, Bell Preferred Hotel Rates, Car Rental Partners, Car Purchases at Ford, The Source and others.  http://www.intouch.bell.ca/web/en/offers_discounts/offers_discounts.asp

 

 

General Tips and Information

  

Out of Country Automobile insurance

 

One of our members advised us that if they get the special endorsement (OPCF 27) for coverage of

rental vehicles while vacationing in the US they should be aware that such coverage is only good for

30 days at a time. If you rent for longer periods one solution would be to sign rental contracts for 30 days at a time. Apparently OPCF 27 is a standard endorsement so the 30 day limit applies regardless of insurance company, providing you have this endorsement as part of your policy.

 

Health Care Coverage for Chronic Care facilities

:

The following provides the criteria and examples of facilities that are covered and examples of

facilities not covered. To be eligible the facility must be a hospital. The majority of time the patient is in the chronic care wing. Below, provided to us by HQ benefits are examples of some Toronto Area facilities for which chronic care accommodation is covered

.

Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care

Bridgepoint Health

Providence Healthcare

If the accommodation is in a hospital, and in the chronic care unit, the drugs are fully covered by the hospital's global budget

.

Below are examples of some Toronto Area facilities for which chronic care accommodation is

NOT covered

.

New Horizons Tower

Nisbet Lodge

Lincoln Place Nursing Home

 

Ontario Seniors’ Secretariat

 

The Ontario Seniors’ Secretariat website has a wealth of information on seniors issues the link is below:

http://www.seniors.gov.on.ca/en/seniorsguide/index.php

Additional resources can be found at the Ontario Seniors website:

https://www.ontario.ca/home-and-community/seniors

Government of Canada Seniors Resources

Federal government website lists Seniors resources for provincial and federal programs:

http://www.canadabenefits.gc.ca/f.1.2cl.3st@.jsp?geo=5&catid=11&searchallcats=52,53

Information for Seniors’

http://www.seniors.gc.ca/eng/index.shtml

Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre: Scam Types

http://www.phonebusters.com/english/recognizeit.html

 

Benefits

Some of the following may not apply to those retiring after January 1st 2012 or those who are on a deferred pension without benefits.

The Vision Care Reimbursement Plan

If you retired before July 2000:

The Vision Care Reimbursement Plan reimburses for eye exams and the purchase of prescription eye glasses or contact lenses to a maximum of 75$ every 24 months.

If you retired after July 2000:

Plan A does not provide for any reimbursement.

Plan B reimburses 100% of admissible vision care expenses, up to a maximum of 150$ per insured person per 24 months.

For further information contact Manulife at: 1-800-749-5953 or visit the Benefits web site at: 

https://www.benefits-avantages.hroffice.com/ms/common/logon2.asp?

Cataract Operation

The Comprehensive Medical Expense Plan (CME) reimburses certain initial vision care expenses resulting from accidental injury, specific illnesses or severe eye conditions.

An example of a severe eye condition would be a CATARACT operation.

If you undergo an eye operation and you are prescribed eye glasses or contact lenses these would be reimbursed.  Manulife requires a note from your ophthalmologist specifying the nature of the illness.

For more information contact Manulife at: 1-800-749-5953 or the Benefits web site at: https://www.benefits-avantages.hroffice.com/ms/common/logon2.asp?

Surviving spouses and BPG

Surviving spouses of BPG members may retain membership in the Bell Pensioners Group and continue to receive our newsletters as well as attend BPG meetings.

Simply Email us at toronto@bellpensionersgroup.ca  or call the BPG line at 905-695-9230 for details.

Annual Benefits at Retirement Statement

At the beginning of each year Bell forwards a summary of benefits to which you are entitled as a pensioner as well as survivor information if applicable. It also provides information about benefits and how much has been used or left for each member of the family.

We recommend that you verify the contents of your statement in order to ensure that it reflects your present situation.  Please call Bell at 1 888 400-0661 for any questions or changes concerning your benefits.

Here are a few very important points to verify:

Transition benefit
Only surviving spouses of pensioners that have retired before July 2000 are entitled to receive a transition benefit.

Following your death, if your survivor is eligible to receive a transition benefit, the amount will be indicated.  However, if you have not registered your spouse (through marriage) or your common law spouse, no benefit will be paid.

Health care program, Single or family coverage?
Remember that the spouse (through marriage) or common law spouse registered by the pensioner is entitled to a life time maximum reimbursement of medical expenses, but he/she must be registered with Bell as the spouse.

Maximum lifetime reimbursement for medical expenses
The amounts used and remaining for the total medical expenses you are entitled to are shown.  If during the year you wish to verify the amount remaining, you can contact Manulife at 1-800-749-5953.

Termination of the Medical, Dental and Optical Care Insurances for the Surviving Spouse

Following the death of a pensioner, the surviving spouse is covered by the medical, dental and optical protection Program for a period of only 90 days after the death.  The surviving spouse must also submit all claims before the end of this 90 day period.

Manulife offers a "Follow Me" insurance plan which allows the survivor to continue benefit for medical, dental and optical care insurance.  For information call Manulife at 1-800-268-3763 or through the internet at:  http://www.coverme.com

For those who retired after July 1st, 2000, protection for the surviving spouse is maintained as long as the monthly premiums are paid.

Brand Name versus Generic Medication

For as long as a medication maintains its original patent, Manulife will reimburse you for this medication.

When a generic medication becomes available, only the cost of generic medication will be reimbursed UNLESS your physician indicates that the brand name (originally patented) medication is necessary.  Obtain the procedure to follow from Manulife (1-800-749-5953)  for such cases.

It is recommended that generic medication be used when they are available.  This medication will be less costly, and you will avoid reimbursement problems.

You are leaving the province for over 3 months and wish to make
provision of your prescriptions before you leave?

The procedure to obtain the electronic payment of your prescriptions, in pharmacy, before leaving is as follows:

  • Call Manulife customer service at 1-800-268-6195 at least one month in advance and advise the representative that you are leaving for a period exceeding 3 months
  • Provide the names and the DIN numbers of the medication for the prescriptions you require, and the length of your absence
  • Manulife will transmit the information to Emergis who will code your file accordingly
  • Emergis will advise Manulife that you can submit your prescription purchase and obtain the electronic payment at your pharmacy
  • Manulife will advise you by phone that your file has been coded
  • From that point on, you will have a maximum of one month to purchase the prescriptions you require for the duration of your absence

PS:  The renewal of prescriptions usually being valid for 1 year, make sure that the expiry date for renewals is sufficient to cover the length of your absence.

"In Touch" for survising spouses

When a retiree passes away, his/her name is removed from the In Touch newsletter list, since In Touch is only distributed to active retirees.  However, a surviving spouse can download it via the Internet by going to www.intouch.bell.ca.

If you want information on your Bell Benefits

The Bell Benefits at Retirement web site offers valuable information on many areas including: an overview of your benefits, how to make claims, items that are not covered, downloading claims forms, and numbers to call if you require assistance.

To access your personal coverage, click on the following link:  www.benefits-avantages.hroffice.com/en/ 
Type in your employee/retiree number in the ID number box
Click on English.

Ontario Drug Plan

The Ontario Drug Plan comes into force at age 65.

What happens when I turn 65?

If you are age 65, live in Ontario and have a valid Ontario health card, you qualify for the Ontario Drug Benefit (ODB) program. If the ministry has your correct address, we will notify you by mail about two months before you turn 65. You do not need to apply to join. Your ODB benefits will start on the first day of the month that follows your 65th birthday.

How do I claim ODB benefits?

Just take your prescription and health card to your pharmacy. Tell your pharmacist that you are now eligible for the ODB program. The pharmacist will use the government’s Health Network System to check if you qualify.

The Trillium Drug Program  http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/public/programs/drugs/programs/odb/opdp_trillium.aspx

What does the program cover?

The TDP helps people who have high prescription drug costs relative to their household income. It covers all drugs approved under the Ontario Drug Benefit (ODB) program. For drug products that are not on the ist of approved ODB products, your doctor may apply for special approval through the Exceptional Access Program (EAP).

Who can apply?

You may qualify for the Trillium Drug Program if:

AND

OR

  • You don't have private health insurance or your private insurance does not cover 100% of your prescription drug costs.

Supplemental Dental Care Coverage

BPG members can purchase supplementary dental care coverage through Green Shield Canada administered by Retirement Management Services ( RMS) of Victoria B.C.

For complete details, conditions and premium to be paid, visit their web site at http://www.rmsretire.ca/bell.html or contact them at 1-888-484-4448.

Survivor pension

 

Several members have contacted us about the recalculation of their pensions following the unfortunate loss of a spouse. While we have no knowledge or access to information about individual pensions or decisions made at retirement we were able to put them in contact with employee services or where necessary escalate the matter when people felt they were not making progress. We have also had calls from people regarding the loss of a pensioner and trying to determine if they were entitled to a survivor pension. We urge our members to share the annual personal pension statement with their spouses or the executor of their estates as this document provides useful information to help at such times. You may contact Employee Services at 1-888-400-0661 or email employee.services@bell.ca.

 

From time to time we get queries about the survivor pension which we usually refer to Bell benefits. However it is worthwhile noting that once the selection of the survivor option is made at retirement it is permanent and irrevocable. So should a pensioner who elected the survivor pension option become separated, divorced, remarried or ends a common-law relationship. It is the survivor named at the time of pension application that would receive the survivor’s pension.

However since January 1st 2004 upon a judgement or separation sgreement during retirement and your former spouse waiving his/her entitlement to a survivor pension all future payments would be reinstated (increased) to the pension amount as if the survivor pension option has been waived at retirement.

Employee Discount Plan and Survivors

A member asked about the Employee Discount Plan and surviving spouses and we got the following clarification from Bell. “The EDP for active and retired Bell employees is part of the corporate HR payroll team. We receive death notices from our benefits provider. Given that, when the surviving spouse provides details to the benefits provider, this information is transmitted to us so that we can maintain the EDP discount for the surviving spouse.

The account should be changed to the name of the surviving spouse (the fee for the name change is waived), but in some instances until the estate is completed it remains in the employee name.  We are able to make the connection between the two names, since embedded in the account is the employee number, and we make the relation within our HR system.”

 

Manulife Website

 

The Manulife Financial website has recently been upgraded and is a little more user friendly. You can

review claim history and search claims between a range of dates as well as the type of claim. It makes it easier to look at claim history to determine when last you bought eyeglasses etc. for yourself or others if you are on a family plan.

https://wwwec7.manulife.com/GBPlanMemberUI/Login.aspx

 

You need your employee/retiree # and the group plan # and your password. The contract number for both Dental and Health Benefits is now 303030. You can also call their customer service representatives at 1 800 265-9977

 

Managing your Drug Costs

 

Most people simply take their prescription to their usual pharmacy without much thought about the various charges assuming that they are all similar. In fact costs vary among pharmacies and since your lifetime benefits are limited you may wish to get the best price. 

 

The Manulife Financial website has recently been upgraded and is a little more user friendly. You can

review claim history and search claims between a range of dates as well as the type of claim. It makes it easier to look at claim history to determine when last you bought eyeglasses etc. for yourself or others if you are on a family plan. It can also be helpful when you are claiming your medical expenses on your tax return. Below you will find instructions on finding the allowable expense for drugs under your Manulife Plan as well as ways of finding savings at pharmacies.

 

https://wwwec7.manulife.com/GBPlanMemberUI/Login.aspx

 

You need your employee/retiree # and the group plan # and your password. The contract number for both Dental and Health Benefits is now 303030. You can also call their customer service representatives at 1 800 265-9977

 

Managing Pharmacy Costs.

On the Manulife site you can now access tools to help you manage your drug costs with 2 new features.

 

·         Medication Allowable Cost: Did you know that you can confirm drug coverage under your Group benefits plan on both the Plan Member and Plan Member Mobile Sites?  Once logged in to the Plan Member site, either choose 'My drug plan' from 'Quick Links' on the right hand side of the site or choose 'Take me there' in 'My drug plan' under 'My benefits' from the top menu bar.  If on the Plan Member Mobile site, simply select 'My drug plan' from the 'Menu' in the top left hand corner.  Once there, simply follow the step by step directions to confirm drug coverage under your Group benefits plan.

 

·         Pharmacy Savings Tool Various pharmacies charge different prices for the same drug and have different charges for the same prescription drugs. Manulife has set up a tool to permit their members to compare the costs for prescriptions in their area. Member may wish to utilize the Pharmacy Savings Search tool located on the Manulife plan member website. It will be helpful in determining the average provincial market price for a specific drug and assess if his pharmacist is charging more than average. You simply login and under the menu tab select Pharmacy savings search. After specifying search details you select continue then specify The patient and the name of the drug or the Drug Identification number. You then continue to select the dosage and the searcg for the results of cost at pharmacies in the geographic area. You can then make an informed decision.

 

 

 

The Personal Insurance – Ajusto Discount

 

Are you aware that The personal offers the Ajusto system for safe low mileage users to get additional discounts. Upon sign-up they send you a device you hook up to your car which monitors how much and how you drive. You immediately save 5% for signing up  If you drive less than 15K per year you will save 10% and the rest up to 25% depend on how you drive (speeding, hard braking, and time of day etc.)

You can find out more here to determine if you may benefit from installing this device:

http://www.lapersonnelle.com/p-on/EN/insurance-products/auto-insurance/Pages/auto-insurance-program.aspx

COMTECH – Travel Insurance

 

COMTECH the credit union to which many of our members belong offers its’ members several insurance offerings among them is travel insurance through CUMIS. Bell pensioners will be especially pleased to hear that in the event of an accident or illness CUMIS Travel Insurance will not touch your one-time employees benefit  from Bell.  For coverage and rate information please contact your COMTECH Branch. Email  member_services@comtechcu.com or Phone Number 416.598.1197 or 1.800.209.7444 or http://www.comtechcu.com/comtech/welcome.php

CARP/ZOOMER Bundle Discount.

The CARP/Zoomer bundle Discout was modified in March 2017 to simplify the process for both new applications and renewals.

We are pleased to advise you that CARP has introduced a new process to simplify applications and renewals for the discounted bundle with our own direct link no need for special discount codes.  We can now purchase or renew a 1 year combo membership at the discounted rate of $20.00 compared to the regular $29.95 rate which is a 33% discount. You also have the option of selecting only the CARP membership or the Zoomer magazine for $15 each if you don’t want one or the other.

 

You can renew or apply for a membership at the following link which is just for bell Pensioners: https://carp.ca/bellpension

Detailed information about CARP and it’s benefits can be found at the following link http://www.carp.ca/member-benefits/

 

 

 

 



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