Please be aware you are able to make changes. Feel free to contact Elvira if you want a review of your plan design. Being part of a bigger pool, the UBCM Group Benefits Plan allows us to offer better customized plans at a lower cost. Email Elvira today!
Keep us up-to-date, and keep in touch!

Life changes rapidly, sometimes in a blink of an eye! We're 3 months away from the end of 2021. It's mind boggling to think about how we've all been living in a pandemic for almost 2 years. We've mostly relied on virtual professional and personal relationships to maintain our connection to one another. Although we argue that an email cannot replace an in-person introduction, we also acknowledge that many of us have made the best of an uncontrollable situation. We all deserve a serious (virtual) pat on the back!

We hope that you, and your loved ones, are doing well. Moreover, we send our very best regards to each and every one of you.

To that end, we would like to kindly remind all our current UBCM group benefits plan members and administrators to contact our Group Benefits Administrator, Elvira Khismatullina, if there are any changes to your plan administration, as soon as you are able to. For example, if your team would like to add, change, and/or remove a plan administrator from our records, please let Elvira know! This is not only important for record keeping, but also to protect the sensitive information that authorized plan administrators have access to, such as Pacific Blue Cross' (PBC) ADMINnet.

If this applies to you, and you have already informed us of the changes to your plan administration team, thank you very much!

If there are no changes that we need to be informed of as of now, please feel free to tuck this information away until the need arises.

If you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to reach out.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

We love hearing from you! We know that the world of benefits is both vast and dynamic. We regularly receive requests for quotations, plan designs, promotional materials, and even general feedback. A significant amount of our correspondence is customized to each group member's needs. However, we also receive some general requests and queries that we would like to share here, which will hopefully help our other members. We've compiled some FAQs, which we'll be including in our newsletters as often as needed.

1. Who is my main contact for the UBCM Group Benefits Plan?

Elvira Khismatullina, the Group Benefits Administrator, is your main contact.

2. What are the payment methods available for my PBC invoice?

PBC accepts EFT, PAD, and cheques. If you require further information, please contact Elvira!

3. Do you have copies of promotional material we can distribute to our staff?

Absolutely! Please click on the hyperlinks below to download digital copies:

For more promotional materials, you can download them here.
4. New staff (who are eligible) are wondering how they can access their benefits coverage. Where can they access this information online?

Individual plan members can log into their Caresnet Member Profile, to access their coverage, which is available 24/7.

You can watch a tour of the Member Profile here. To view a short tutorial on submitting your eligible claims, please click here.

You can also download the mobile app for on-the-go access to your benefits coverage!
If you have any questions, please contact Elvira for assistance. We're here to help!
UBCM's Website Update, and Newsletter Archives

Websites are available 24/7. They can host a treasure trove of valuable information. These are normally used to provide an introduction to a specific group or individual, as well as additional details and resources. It can have many different functions, depending on its underlying purpose.

For UBCM, we use it as as a bridge: providing an overview so that our online visitors have an idea of our many different services, as well as the staff tasked in operationalizing these different commitments. Our readers are already very familiar with our Group Benefits Plan, which is one of these services we offer here at UBCM.

We encourage you to visit our website, to give you a peak at all that UBCM has to offer. Some of you may have already seen our newly re-vamped website. If you have not yet seen it, please click here to view our new and improved interface!
We have a page that specifically hosts UBCM Group Benefits information. Simply hover your cursor over "Member Services", then click on "Group Benefits Program."
Not only does our webpage provide an overview of the UBCM Group Benefits Plan, but it also stores an archive of our previous newsletters. Moreover, there is a detailed contact list for all your UBCM Group Benefits needs, which can be found at the bottom of the webpage.
The UBCM website is public, and available for everyone to peruse at their leisure. This also means that our newsletter is accessible to both members and non-members.

If you know someone that would like to subscribe to our newsletter, please email Elvira for assistance! We typically need the following details to add them to our contact list:

  • First Name
  • Last Name
  • Email Address
  • Employment Title/Position
  • Company Name

We look forward to hearing from you!
Ice Breakers for Virtual Team Building Exercises

A lot of office workers continue to work from home, which means that some new staff are starting their role remotely. While coming into a new workplace pre-pandemic can be nerve wrecking, getting onboarded virtually, during the pandemic, can be a little isolating. Starting a new job while working from home can be a dream come true for some (I'm sure almost no one misses the rush hour commute!), but creating and maintaining connections with other staff can difficult if you have not had a chance to see them face-to-face. For example, having an impromptu conversation with another staff member while walking to the office lunch room can't be recreated from home, unless you live with one of your colleagues!

We believe that many offices are using online platforms to keep in touch with staff across different locations. While these can be strictly formal meetings with an agenda, they are also an opportunity to check-in with your colleagues to see how they are. We can't forget that even though each of us are incredibly busy (juggling deliverables, child care, responsibilities, and the like), we still appreciate being acknowledged as people first and foremost.

A fun way to engage staff is to put in an ice breaker in one of your virtual meetings. This doesn't necessarily have to coincide with the introduction of a new employee-- it can be enjoyable even for staff that have worked together for decades. For example, you can ask staff what activity or hobby they enjoy during their spare time, and would like to share with others. An interesting one we've heard was "Polish Line Dancing"! This can be fun for silent participants, too. Seeing peoples' faces light up while they regale their stories is incredibly heart warming. We definitely encourage some light hearted conversations once in a while to keep our spirits up.

To view a comprehensive list of examples of virtual ice breakers, please click here!
Goals to Retirement

It's undeniable that COVID-19 has changed the trajectory of many lives across the world. With vaccination roll-outs progressing, and safety measures remaining in place, many have adapted to living in a pandemic. As we acclimate, we're collectively moving forward with some plans that may have been postponed from last year.

We mentioned in our July newsletter how many of us are rethinking our career priorities as the pandemic continues on. Another facet of this is retirement. In Canada, the standard age to start receiving the Canadian Pension Plan (CPP) is typically 65. There are many different articles and opinion pieces available online. One in particular mentioned how some may delay their retirement due to the pandemic.

Whether or not you are planning to retire soon, something to consider is to start thinking about, and planning for retirement, as early as you can.

There are a myriad of reasons why planning early is beneficial. One of them is simply having more time to save money, and let compound interest take over. Another is having more time to plan your retirement goals. That doesn't necessarily refer to finances alone. It could also be your hobbies, and tentative schedule post-retirement. A common activity we've noticed among retirees is gardening. It's has a low barrier of entry: from having a small patch of soil, or having small pots of plants around your living space, gardening is a great way to do some light exercise. Prior to the pandemic, we've also seen retirees volunteering at their local non-profit organization. This is a valuable and meaningful way to spend their almost limitless free time!

It's important to continue your social life as we age. During the pandemic, many of us have heard about the loneliness that seniors may experience. Of course, we couldn't have predicated the pandemic, and its ensuing effects. That's not something we could have fully planned for. Nonetheless, we can arrange activities that can help us cope, in the face of uncertainty. Having a scheduled phone call with a friend, or a nice walk outdoors with some neighbours (in accordance to your local provincial health authority guidelines) can do wonders for our mental and physical health.

However you want to spend and enjoy your retirement, it's not too early to plan. It can be a rough idea of how you'll spend your free time, where dream of living post-retirement, perhaps you can start by saving a little money in your savings account. Breaking up your (dare we say wondrous and amazing?) goals into small, manageable tasks is a relatively easy way to start!
Resources and Information for Employers during the COVID-19 Pandemic

In our July Newsletter, we provided a list of resources for employees. As a continuation, we would like to showcase a similar article targeted for employers:

We encourage our readers to go directly to each website for the most up-to-date information.

´╗┐Stay safe!
Contact us at:
Elvira Khismatullina
UBCM Group Benefits Administrator

Union of BC Municipalities
Phone: 604-270-8226 extension 111

For the list of the UBCM and Pacific Blue Cross Contacts click here