Members at Raincity Housing extended health benefits (drug coverage)


Recently the Union was made aware that some members at RainCity have experienced a denial of coverage for some medications effective April 1, 2016. The denials are for medications that are not covered under the collective agreement.

The Employer had previously provided 'supplementary drug coverage' via Pacific Blue Cross that covered a number of medications. The BCGEU was not aware that this supplementary plan existed until coverage was denied and we were contacted by the Employer.

To be clear, at no time has the BCGEU stated to the Employer, Pacific Blue Cross, or the Health Benefits Trust, that supplementary coverage must cease.

However, members should be aware that, as this benefit is in excess of that outlined in the collective agreement, it is possible we are unable to compel the employer to continue them now or in the future. 

The Union has already reached out to HBT to determine whether or not the switch to HBT is in any way impacting the Employer's continued supplementary coverage. We will update members as soon as we have a clearer picture of what occurred.

If you are being impacted, the best advice is to see your doctor, as per RainCity's email of May 6, 2016, who is best positioned to assist you in managing your medications.

Background

Healthcare Benefits Trust (HBT) is a non-profit benefits provider created by the Health Employers Association of British Columbia (HEABC), the association of employers that is a party to the 'Community Health Agreement'.  In the last round of bargaining the parties agreed to take steps to create a 'Joint Community Benefits Trust' (JCBT) and that employers were to move to the joint trust by April 1, 2016.

However, the Joint Trust (JCBT) has yet to be established which means it is not possible that has impacted the Employer's ability to continue supplementary benefits. In the short term employers (including RainCity) have been moving over to the pre-existing HBT in anticipation of the creation of the joint trust.

The premise of the JCBT is to make the Unions and the Employers covered under the agreement jointly responsible for the administration of the plan with the hope of maximizing benefits for the employees and minimizing costs for employers.

There has been no change in the benefits members are entitled to under the collective agreement. The employer has simply begun using HBT to administer and secure benefits.

In solidarity


Richard Tones
Staff Representative
Lower Mainland Area Office

Download PDF of notice here.

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