Updated: July 23 2020
On March 25, 2020, we let you know about your options for continuing coverage for employees on reduced hours. Because of COVID-19, many employees have been working reduced hours. They could fall under the minimum number of hours required for benefits coverage.
In the March communication we let you know that you could maintain coverage for reduced-hour employees for up to three months. We also recommended for you to not to reduce salary amounts in your administration system. This would ensure that we covered employees for their full benefit.
With the ongoing pandemic, we’ve made a change to this temporary practice. You may now maintain coverage for employees on reduced hours for six months, instead of three months.
Updated: June 23, 2020
Recent pandemic-related events have led to changes in many workplaces. This includes the need to lay off employees, sometimes on a permanent basis.
If you’re considering a workforce reduction, we can help support you and your employees when making this transition.
Options for access to coverage
Many departing plan members have questions about workplace health coverage. We encourage you to share this postcard with them. It gives them the information they need to contact us right away. We’ll listen to their needs, discuss their options for continuing coverage, and put the right solution in place.
If you have any questions about post-termination benefits coverage for your plan members, please contact us. We’re here to help.
Updated: April 17, 2020
The pandemic has been a challenge for everyone. We know it’s been a great challenge for many small businesses. We continue to seek ways to ease the burden – while still providing the coverage your plan members need.
We’re pleased to provide a new solution – premium credits for dental and non-drug-related extended health care benefits.
Plan member use of dental benefits and some extended health care benefits has declined during the pandemic. The premium credits we’re providing reflect this lower usage – and we hope this can help our Clients with their cash flow needs.
Here are the changes we’re making for all non-refund Clients:
- 50% credit against dental premiums paid. Most routine dental visits have stopped during the pandemic. We’re providing a 50% dental premium credit per month. We will apply the April credit to your June 1 invoice. We will continue to assess on a monthly basis.
- 20% credit against non-drug-related extended health care premiums paid. Prescription drug usage has not declined during the pandemic. However, while plan members are using an increased volume of virtual care across their paramedical providers, we are still seeing a reduction in claims activity. To reflect this, we’re providing a 20% premium credit on the non-drug coverage portion of your extended health care benefit premium which will translate to approximately 8% to 9% of the overall extended health care premium. As with the dental premium credit, we’ll apply the April credit to your June 1 invoice. We will continue to assess on a monthly basis.
We will be revisiting these credits on a monthly basis going forward. We expect plan usage to return to normal levels once current pandemic restrictions are lifted. Until then, we’ll be here for you and your plan members, who will continue to have full access to their benefits coverage throughout the pandemic and beyond.
Your input on our COVID-19 response continues to be valuable. We hope these premium credits can help you and your business at a difficult time.
Updated: May 19, 2020
Updated: May 14, 2020
Our video – Continuing coverage during Statutory Leaves and Lay offs – hosted by Cindy Govedaris, Assistant Vice President & Senior Counsel, Central Law – gives an overview of when employers can continue coverage under a group benefits plan and highlights issues for employers to consider.
We’ve created a PDF of the presentation for you to share with your colleagues. In addition, you can refer to this chart that outlines business closures by province. Please read our Continuation of Coverage FAQ from December 18, 2019 for details.
Updated: May 14, 2020
- Focus Update for Clients with more than 50 employees
- Focus Update for Clients with fewer than 50 employees
Updated: March 25, 2020
Please note there is an update to our continuation of coverage Focus Update from March 25, 2020. This applies if you choose to maintain coverage during a temporary layoff:
You may maintain coverage for all benefits (or all benefits, except disability) for up to three months. Your benefit plan may set out a different temporary lay-off period. If so, this period will apply. You must apply your coverage decision equally to all employees within the same class. We know that you may not be able to collect employee contributions at this time. For non-taxable Long-Term Disability benefits, it is important to collect premiums from your employees. For all other benefits, you can remit premiums on behalf of employees. When employees return to work, you can then collect their contributions. For additional guidance, we recommend you consult your tax advisor.
If you previously requested an extension to pay your premium, we will honour this exception, as confirmed to you by writing.
If you have not requested an extension, premium payments must be received within the 31-day grace period. This will ensure continuous group coverage for your employees and avoid cancellation of your contract.Updated: March 25, 2020
Updated: April 2, 2020
We want to make life claims administration easier. For now, we’re accepting scanned, signed copies of life insurance claim forms and beneficiary nomination forms. This means we can pay life insurance claims without the original signed copy. We’ve put processes in place to handle claim payment where we can’t confirm a beneficiary.
If you need either of these forms, but don’t have access to them, please contact your Sun Life Group Benefits representative, or contact our life claims office directly.
Updated: April 13, 2020
Many public services are already reduced. While there are no changes currently to Canada Post mail delivery, that could quickly change.
We want to ensure that plan members are prepared if mail delivery is suspended. This Focus Update highlights some digital tools that will help if mail delivery is suspended. This Digital flyer will remind plan members how to submit claims and access coverage information. They can use the my Sun Mobile app, mysunlife.ca and Ask Alexa1 (from Amazon).1 Amazon, Alexa and all related logos are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates.
Updated: April 16, 2020
These are uncertain times. We understand that you may have concerns about suspect claims made under your benefits plan. We’re here to reassure you. We continuously evolve our investigative strategies to address any new channels for suspect activity. This includes the potential for fraud and abuse related to virtual services offered by paramedical providers.
We have advanced data analytics, external partnerships and an experienced fraud risk management team. Together, these provide the capabilities we need to address new risks and changing trends.
Changing times, changing strategies
To follow physical distancing orders, plan members are now using more virtual services. We’ve also extended coverage for virtual services for some paramedical providers.
When we introduce a new product or service, we develop additional ways to reduce fraud and abuse risks. To address the anticipated rise of plan members using virtual services, we’ve taken the following actions:
- Communications with regulators. We’ve discussed virtual services with dental and paramedical regulators and associations to confirm the scope of virtual services offered.
- Increased monitoring. We’ve enhanced our monitoring of medical and dental claims across all plan member and provider submission channels. This monitoring accounts for the new and additional risks introduced in this environment. This includes introducing new fraud detection methods to adapt to the changing environment.
- Focus on providers and facilities. Our analytic capabilities can identify billing irregularities by provider and facility. This lets us take appropriate action against providers who may take advantage of benefits plans.
In addition to these actions, we continue our regular screening of claims and monitoring of all tips and referrals. We’ll continue asking plan members for additional information when needed to process claims.
Protecting your plan from fraud and abuse remains a priority for us.
Updated: July 31, 2020
The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has released a communication about Health Spending Accounts (HSA) in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The CRA outlined that employers can extend the carry-forward of HSA credits for a reasonable period.
This change can prevent plan members from losing credits due to reduced access to health and dental providers and services during this time.
Due to system limitations, we’ll allow you to carry-forward HSA credits by an additional 12 months. We’ve also engaged the CRA for clarification around a reasonable period.
This applies to all types of HSAs with unused credits expiring between March 15 and December 31, 2020, including:
- balance carry-forward,
- expense carry-forward, or
- no carry-forward
If you wish to proceed, please discuss this option with your tax consultant or Advisor.
If you want to extend the carry-forward rules for your HSA, let us or your Advisor know. We can do this for you at the end of your benefit year. Your booklet shows the benefit year specific to your plan. We can also provide reports to confirm the unused credits to carry forward for all members.