The information contained in the following items were accurate when edited.
Since the rates and conditions may be modified over the years, and furthermore since the Retirement and Benefits plans are different for each individual, depending on the retirement date and the options chosen, we recommend that you verify with the appropriate provider what applies in your case.
Please note that there is no exchange of information between the Bell Benefits Administrator (1 888 400-0661) and the BPG. You must communicate with both organizations to inform them of changes in your coordinates or of a death.
For the members of the GBPG Montreal Chapter
Complete the change of address form under the CONTACT US tab at:
- By e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
P.O. Box 68
- By telephone: 514-382-9969
We have received several questions concerning CME (Bell) coverage for medication and the Québec (RAMQ) drug plan when we reach the age of 65. Following is a summary of the different situations that may apply:
Minimum level of drug coverage
Since January 1, 1997, the Régie de l'assurance maladie du Québec (RAMQ) requires a minimum level of prescription drug coverage for all Québec residents, whether provided by an employer plan or the province. The Bell's Comprehensive Medical Expense (CME) exceeds most of these requirements.
If you and your dependents are under age 65
You (the pensioner) must cover your eligibloe dependents under the company's Comprehensive Medical Expense (CME) Plan, unless you provide proof of adequate drug coverage under another plan for your dependents.
If you (the pensioner) are under age 65 and your spouse is age 65 or over
Your spouse is automatically covered under the RAMQ drug plan when he(she) reaches 65, unless:
- You elect and pay the premium for equivalent drug coverage for pensioners under the CME Plan; or
- Your spouse provides proof of ade3quate drug coverage under another plan.
When you (the pensioner) reach age 65
You and your eligible dependents will be covered automatically under the RAMQ drug plan.
- This has no impact on other coverage provided through the CME Plan.
You may continue to use your Assure pay-direct drug card for drugs that are not covered under the RAMQ drug plan.
You must ask your pharmacist to register Manulife as the second payer for your drugs as Manulife will reimburse 90% (if retired before July 2000) or 80% (if retired since July 1, 2000) of the deductible and the co-insurance, for as long as there is a balance in your Bell complementary Plan (50 000$ or 75 000$).
Alternately, you have 31 days after your 65th birthday to elect and begin paying the premium for equivalent drug coverage for pensioners under the CME Plan (the choise is yours). The annual premium for equivalent RAMQ drug coverage under your benefits at retirement is 2 000$ per person. This premium is subject to annual increases, based n increases in drug costs and inflation.
Coverage for dependents in the event of your death
In case of death, the law requires that your dependents register with the RAMQ drug plan.
For more information please contact:
- Bell's Comprehensive Medical Expense Plan, Manulife: 1-800-749-5953
RAMQ drug plan: 514-864-3411 (Montreal), 418-646-4636 (Quebec), 1-800-561-9749 (elsewhere in Quebec, toll free) or visit their Web site at:
Many pensioners do not realize that they are entitled to be reimbursed for medical supplies and services that are not covered by the Quebec Health Insurance Plan (RAMQ).
Here are a few examples of reimbursable medical supplies and services:
- Initial purchase of braces, canes, crutches, surgical corsets, trusses, and other minor equipment and appliances
- Purchase of incontinence pads, diapers and other supplies medically required due to severe illness, disease or injury
- Initial purchase of a glucometer when prescribed by a physician
- Purchase of up to 4 pairs of elastic stockings per year when medically necessary
- Purchase of one wig per lifetime when prescribed due to chemotherapy
The foregoing list is a brief summary. Also there may be differences between the different plans (retired before July 2000, Plan A and Plan B, retired after July 1st, 2000).
If you have questions on your admissibility to medical supplies and services, as well as on the documents required to justify your claims, we recommend that you contact Manulife at 1-800-749-5953.
The National Do Not Call List (DNCL) took effect on September 30th, 2008.
If you want to reduce the number of telemarketers calls, you can register your residential, wireless, fax or VOIP telephone numbers on the National DNCL. Telemarketing companies that call after a telephone number is registered may face large fines.
Your registration to the National DNCL is good for 3 years at which time you must re-register your telephone number.
To register on loine go to https://www.lnnte-dncl.gc.ca/ or call 1 866 580-3625.
Bell no longer issues pensioner identification cards.
Bell suggests that pensioners qho wish to obtain hotel or car rental discounts, use the blue BCE Assure/Emergis card (the one used at the pharmacy), is you are asked for proof of identification.
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?
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?
Several recent queries from BPG members seem to indicate that there is some uncertainty as to the eligibility of some of Bell's new bundle offerings to the 35% Employee Discount Program (EDP).
There are also concerns that the 1000 minute flat rate North American calling plan that was offered some time ago as part of one of Bell's bundles would be cancelled when we modify one of our services in response to new Bell discount offerings.
As mentioned in the March 2008 issue of In Touch, the "Bell Better Home" bundle recently announced by Bell is not eligible to the 35% discount. It is recommended that you verify the list of eligible services by going to the In Touch web site at www.intouch.bell.ca or call Employee Services at 1 888 400-0661. They are the experts in this matter.
You should also keep in mind that the employee and pensioner 35% discount decisions are rendered by Employee Services.
As to the 1000 minute North American calling plan that was offered some time ago as part of one of Bell's bundles, while certain changes are allowed, it is not compatible with the most recent bundles. According to the information provided by Bell, upgrading to the "Bell Better Home" bundle would mean the loss of the 1000 minute calling plan.
If you are considering upgrading or downgrading any of your Bell services, we recommend that you inquire what effect this will have on your 35% discount or your 1000 minute flat rate calling plan before you accept any changes, by calling Employee Services.
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 email@example.com or call the BPG line at 514-382-9969 for details.
At the beginning of each year since 2005, Bell forwards a summary of benefits to which you are entitled as a pensioner.
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:
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.
We have been informed by Bell that the Benefit Administrator made a mistake in the 2007 statements of some 7000 retirees that are covered under Plan B of the Health Care Program/Family. The mistake concerns the monthly premium paid by the retiree. The amount shown in the statement is 20,50$/month and should have been 24$/month, which is the amount deducted since July 2007.
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.
There is a waiting period which could extend to up to 3 months, where you will probably not be eligible for certain medical coverage. Before you move, it is ESSENTIAL that you obtain information from the QHIP and the Health Services in the province you are moving to, in order to know the effect on your medical coverage.
Bell's Health Care Program is a private complementary plan which reimburses medical expenses including eligible drug expenses. We must join the government (RAMQ) plan when we reach 65 years of age.
Six (6) months before your 65th birthday, the RAMQ will send you a notice so that you can be registered.
The Annual Premium
The annual cost is determined based on your revenue and your personal or family status. In order to calculate it, when you prepare your income tax return, you must complete Annex K on your Quebec income tax form.
The Contribution When you Purchase Medication
The deductible, the coinsurance and the maximum monthly contribution
Each month, when a person buys eligible medication, he/she pays the first part of the cost, this is the deductible.
Once the deductible has been paid, the person assumes only part of the cost of the eligible medication. This is called the coinsurance.
There is a maximum a person can pay monthly to obtain eligible medication. This is the maximum monthly contribution. This amount includes the deductible and the coinsurance.
NOTE: Manulife will reimburse 90% (if retired before July 2000) or 80% (if retired since July 1st, 2000) of the deductible and the coinsurance, for as long as there is a balance in your Bell complementary Plan.
When We Make the Transition to the Government (RAMQ) Plan….
There is a maximum annual contribution (deductible and coinsurance). When you make the transition to the government plan you must take certain steps to ensure that you do not surpass this amount.
1. Ask Manulife for a statement of the contributions that you paid prior to reaching age 65, during the year of transition.
2. Transmit this document to the RAMQ who will take it into account to respect the maximum annual contribution.
To learn more about the Public Prescription Drug Insurance Plan and the applicable costs you can reach the Government site by clicking on the following link:
You can write a mandate in the eventuality of your inability, appointing a person who will take care of you and administer your property should you become unable to act. Mandates can also be prepared through a lawyer or a notary.
Unlike a power of attorney, the Mandate in Case of Incapacity, comes into effect when the inability to act occurs.
The Public Curator has prepared a document called: "My Mandate In Case of Incapacity", sold at book stores publication # ISBN 2-551-19647-7.
Only 58% of persons 55 years of age or over have prepared a Mandate In Case of Inability ( Ipsos Decarie survey, October 2006). HAVE YOU PREPARED YOURS?
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.
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.
This governmental program offers a refundable tax credit for expenses related to home-support equal to 30% of the cost of certain services. In 2008, the limit on eligible expenses for the tax credit is 15 600$ per year. For dependent seniors, the limit is 21 600$ per year.
The tax credit yearly maximum is 4 680$ (30% of 15 600$). For dependent seniors, the maximum is 6 480$ (30% of 21 600$).
The tax credit that may be claimed by a person or couple is reduced by 3% of family income in excess of 50 000$. Family income is the income of the senior and (where applicable) the income of the senior's spouse at the end of the year.
When two or more persons share a dwelling, each senior that is 70 or older can claim the credit for their personal needs.
You must pay for the support services you obtain and retain your receipts.
Examples of services that qualify include: snow removal, certain portions of condominium fees and domestic services.
You can claim the 30% credit by:
Reporting it on your income tax return
By applying for advanced payments
You can obtain information by calling Revenue Québec at 514-864-6299 (Montreal region), 418-659-6299 (Québec region), or 1 800 267-6299. You can also visit http://www.revenu.gouv.qc.ca/eng
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.
Bell published 2 excellent articles in the October 2007 issue of "IN TOUCH". We recommend that you print them, cut them out and retain them in your files for future reference.
The article on Page 15 covers OUT OF COUNTRY HEALTH INSURANCE when you leave Canada or your home province, medical questionnaire, the order of payers for your insurance policy and assistance services.
On Page 16, instructions on how to report the DEATH OF A RETIREE OR SPOUSE OF A RETIREE, the responsibility of the different groups, the documents and information required for payment (if applicable) of life insurance, transition benefit and survivor pension.
To visit the In Touch web site: www.intouch.bell.ca
Most pensioners 65 years old and over must contribute to the Quebec Prescription Drug Insurance RAMQ plan when they prepare their yearly Quebec tax return. The amount to be paid is based on your income and is calculated by completing annex " K" of your Quebec income tax return. Remember that the Bell medical insurance plan administered through Manulife is a SUPPLEMENTAL PLAN for pensioners 65+., and most must pay the annual RAMQ premium.
Pensioneers 65+ who belong to a private drug insurance plan, (usually through their spouse's company plan or other) are not required to make this payment, but must cancel their public RAMQ Plan registration by contacting the Regie.
For more information visit the web site at http://www.ramq.gouv.qc.ca/en/citoyens/assurancemedicaments/ or call 514-864-3411 (Montreal), 418-646-4636 (Quebec) or 1-800-561-9749 (elsewhere in Quebec). We recommend that you obtain the prescription drug insurance booklet issued by the Régie for your reference.
IMPORTANT: The Transition Benefit is applicable only to the pensioners who retired prior to July 1st, 2000.
The Transition Benefit is a death benefit payable upon your death and the benefit amount depends on your retirement date. The beneficiary for the Transition Benefit is automatically your spouse, with priority given to your common-law spouse/same sex partner. If you don't have a spouse the benefit is paid to your dependent children. Other financially dependent individuals could be eligible under certain circumstances. Otherwise, no benefit is paid.
The first 10 000$ is tax free, but anything over this amount is taxable in the hands of the beneficiary if applicable.
Refer to your latest Benefits at Retirement Statement that Bell sends you at the beginning of each year for the amount your beneficiary is entitled to receive in your particular case. For further information call the Bell Benefits Administrator at 1 888 400-0661.
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.
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.
When you must pay certain expenses in advance and request subsequent reimbursement from Manulife Financial, here are a few suggestions.
You can submit requests for reimbursement by retaining receipts until they amount to at least 50$. Only original receipts are accepted. Copies, photocopies and credit card receipts are refused.
Each receipt should specify: name of patient, prescription number, DIN number of medication, description of product purchased or treatment received, purchase date and price.
The time limits that pensioners have to submit their claims can vary with the different retirement plans. It is therefore imperative that you ensure that your claims fall within the acceptable time frames for reimbursement.