Local 793 business manager Mike Gallagher has announced a number of new improvements to the union’s Life & Health Benefits Plan.
“We are always striving to provide the best coverage possible for our members,” he said. “I am therefore pleased to announce these changes on behalf of the Life and Health Benefits Plan trustees.”
The improvements went into effect on or before Jan. 1, 2014:

For active and retired members:

  • Coverage will now be provided for specific eye exams that are necessary for certain medical conditions.
  • Coverage for orthotics will be increased to a maximum of $300 per year from $200 per year.
  • Coverage for prescription sunglasses will now be provided for up to a maximum of $400 every 24 months. This is included as part of the regular vision care package.
  • Coverage for services from a registered physiotherapist will be covered for up to $1,500 per calendar year for both active and retired members. Previously, the plan covered reasonable and customary charges for retired members.
  • 100 per cent of lab fees will be covered. Previously, the plan covered 100 per cent of the lab fees for active members and 50 per cent of the fees for retired members.
  • Coverage for hearing aids will be raised to $1,000 every five years from $800.
  • Coverage for vision care was raised to $400 every 24 months. Previously, it was $275 for active members and $250 for retirees.
  • Additional life insurance for union members will be increased to $2,000 from $1,000.
  • Erectile dysfunction drugs will now be covered for conditions due to a medical disability.
  • The dental fee guide will be changed to the 2013 ODA fee guide effective Jan. 1, 2014.
  • A Members Assistance Program to provide counseling assistance for active or retired members has started. The program is through Great West Life and Schepell.fgi. The MAP is a confidential and voluntary support service that can help members find solutions to all kinds of challenges at any age and stage of life. The MAP offers assistance for stress, depression, anxiety, anger, crisis situations and life transitions. It also offers help for managing relationships and family, finding child and elder care resources, getting legal and financial advice, dealing with workplace challenges, tackling addictions and improving nutrition. To find out more about the services available under the MAP, call 1-800-387-4765 or visit the Schepell.fgi website at www.workhealthlife.com and click on the ‘My Services’ tab at the top of the page.

For active members:

  • Life insurance has been raised to $125,000 from $100,000.
  • Coverage for laser eye surgery will be increased to a lifetime maximum of $1,000 from $800.
  • Coverage for massage therapy will be increased to a maximum of $800 per year from $500 per year.
  • Coverage for a psychologist will be increased to $800 per year from $500.
  • Coverage for orthodontic services for individuals under age 21 has been raised to a lifetime maximum of $3,500 from $2,500.
  • Coverage for travel-out-of-province insurance will be increased to a maximum of $150 per year from $100 per year.
  • When an active member exceeds the lifetime maximum of $150,000 per person the amount restored each year will increase to $20,000 from the prior amount of only $1,000.
  • The short-term disability payments will increase to $514 per week for claims after Jan. 1, 2014. The previous amount was $501 a week.

For retired members:

  • Life insurance has been raised to $25,000 from $20,000.
  • Coverage for chiropractor, osteopath, naturopath and podiatrist will have a combined maximum of $200 per year.
  • Coverage for a psychologist, acupuncturist and masseur will have separate maximums of $200 per year. The previous limit was $100 per year.

For more information, call Local 793’s pension and benefits office at 905-469-9299 or (toll free) 1-877-793-4863.