Just a reminder that you are able to make changes to your group benefits plan at any time. Please feel free to contact UBCM 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 UBCM today!
UBCM Group Benefits Annual Renewal Update

UBCM Group Benefits Plan annual renewal negotiations with Pacific Blue Cross (PBC) have now completed and renewal letters will be sent out to participating plan members this week. Premium rates will take effect on October 1, 2021.

Each year UBCM engages an actuarial consultant (George & Bell Consulting) to negotiate the annual renewal on the Plan’s behalf. The objective is to review claims usage and demographics to determine whether rates proposed by the insurance carrier, Pacific Blue Cross, are appropriate and competitive at the aggregate level and that they are in accordance with Plan governance.  

COVID-19 had a significant impact on extended health and dental plans beginning March 2020. Dental, Massage Therapy, Chiropractic, and Physiotherapist offices experienced closures in spring 2020 and the Plan observed low usage during these months. In response, PBC provided invoice credits to provide some relief to employers. As COVID-19 restrictions began loosening in July 2020, the Plan observed a change to typical claims utilization patterns for extended health and dental benefits. Some employers experienced spikes in usage which was attributable to the shift in timing of claims due to service disruptions.  During the renewal process, our actuary worked with PBC to ensure that our Plan is projecting claims experience appropriately when rating our group.

In April 2021, we announced a change in the service model under the Plan. Our aim is to provide excellent service and timely responses to inquiries from participating members in our Plan. In addition to the change in UBMS’s service model, we have also negotiated a Service Performance Standard Agreement with PBC. This agreement ensures that our members receive superior service and turnaround times for claims adjudication services, plan sponsor and member inquiries, and various other service metrics.

We want to thank all of our participating Plan members for your continued participation in the UBCM Group Benefit Plan. We are proud of our improved service levels and plan growth over the past year and excited about new initiatives moving forward. If you have any concerns regarding the renewal rates for 2021 or want information for bargaining, plan design changes, or have specific issues or general inquiries UBCM is here to provide assistance, detailed analysis and expert advice. We can assist with how to manage increasing costs, ensure service level performance and handle any concerns or issues you may have and we provide the service to all members of UBCM. 

If you have any questions and want further information, please contact us for assistance!
Payment Options for Your UBCM Group Benefits Plan

During the pandemic, many workers have transitioned to working from home. In some cases, working remotely isn't an option due to the nature of their work, the incompatibility of their systems, and many other barriers. For example, certain finance tasks, such as cutting cheques, are typically done in the office.

Additionally, we've also heard of services, such as mail, being delayed due to the safety protocols that businesses have implemented. For many of us, we've learned to be more patient with delays as they come.

We understand and we empathize with groups and communities that have had to navigate their workforce during this unprecedented time.

Here at UBCM, we try to provide information that would not only be beneficial, but also provide direction that may help our members. We've mentioned in our last newsletter that UBCM is your main contact and advocate for your UBCM group benefits plan. We are here to help you, so please reach out if you need our assistance.

That being said, one topic we would like to discuss is different payment options we have for payment of your Pacific Blue Cross (PBC) invoice. PBC accepts cheques, and they also accept EFT and PAD. If you would like more information, or if you have any questions, please let us know. We're here to help!
Mask Mandate For Indoor Settings effective August 25, 2021

We mentioned in our previous newsletter that we are slowly adjusting to a world with less restrictions. Now, as of the date of this newsletter's publication, we know that the mask mandate has returned effective August 25, 2021.

As we all noticed since the pandemic started, information changes at a rapid pace in response to case numbers across the province. As such, we strongly recommend going directly to the BC Website for the most up-to-date information.
Proof of Vaccination will be required in BC effective September 13, 2021

Just as many have already heard of the mask mandate in effect as of August 25th, we're fairly certain that many have also heard about BC's announcement regarding mandatory proof of vaccination for certain social and recreational events, effective September 13, 2021.
Please refer to the BC website for more details, as well as access to the most up-to-date information.
How do we move forward, through the pandemic, together?

We've touched on the topic of new restrictions in effect, and protocols that will come into effect in the next few weeks. It's been a year and a half since the pandemic hit BC. We don't know when COVID-19 will become manageable: meaning case numbers remain low, vaccination rates are high, and the like. We're all ready to return to normalcy, but that option is not available to us right now. While we can't control many of the external factors in our lives, we can (to a degree) control our inner thoughts, and our actions.

We believe that being kind to another is the one thing we certainly have control over. That's how we move forward, through the pandemic, together: let's all be kind to one another, and help each other safely along the way.

To that end, let's all remember Dr. Bonnie Henry's iconic statement. This has been quite widespread on different platforms: we've seen it mentioned in email signatures, street signs, numerous online articles, the list goes on. We want to quote it again, because we wish to bring some encouragement and hope in your day. We believe that a simple reminder can come a long way in helping us positively re-frame our thoughts:
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