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.

Recent changes to Ontario’s Employment Standards Act (ESA) could impact your coverage obligations under your group benefits plan.

Updated: June 23, 2020

Focus Update

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.

Starting in July we’re returning to regular billing practices

Updated: July 24, 2020

For the past several months, we offered premium credits for non-refund Clients. We applied these credits to dental and non-drug-related extended health care premiums. We hope these premium credits have provided you with some valuable financial relief.

As expected, with provinces moving to more advanced stages of reopening, most health practitioners are now seeing patients. Plan member claiming behaviour has returned to normal levels. As of July we’ll be returning to our regular billing practices. You won’t see a credit on your September invoice for the month of July.

However, we know that the COVID-19 situation can change quickly so we’ll continue to monitor claiming patterns.

Like you, we sincerely hope the reopening across provinces continues smoothly and your plan members continue to have access to the health care they need.

Updated: June 16, 2020

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

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.

Updated: July 15, 2020

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.