NSHA Central Employee Health Benefit Changes

Dear NSGEU members in Local 100. 101. 119, & 1246,

Following the Employers annual benefit review process the NSHA (Central Zone) met with the NSGEU and proposed a 17% rate increase to employee health premiums. The Union did not accept this proposal and began a discussion that resulted in two changes to the benefit program.

Generic Substitution for the Drug Plan

As of July 1, 2018 when you have a prescription filled the amount eligible for reimbursement will be the cost of the lowest-cost alternative of the drug, usually a generic drug. If there is no lower-cost alternative available the cost of the prescribed drug will be reimbursed. If there is a medically valid reason why you can not substitute for a generic drug, such as possible allergies, you and your doctor will need to complete and submit a Request for Brand Name Drug Coverage form.  You can get a copy of this form by calling Great-West Life at 1-800-957-9777 or on the NSHA Central Zone Intranet, under Employee Benefits – Booklets and Forms.

You have until September 1, 2018 to either change to the generic drug OR submit the Request for Brand Name Drug Coverage form to Great-West Life.

Prescription Drug Co-Pay Changes

As of July 1, 2018 the prescription co-pay will be:

  • Co-pay equal to the dispensing fee (Previously $3 per prescription)
  • Out-of-pocket maximum of $492 (Previously there was no out of pocket maximum)
  • No co-pay for high-cost speciality drugs purchased through Great-West Life’s designated provider program. (This coverage did not previously exist)
  • No co-pay for allergy extracts, antigens, antihistamines and diabetic supplies. (No change)

Dispensing fees vary from pharmacy to pharmacy (including Costco) so it is recommended that you shop around for the lowest dispensing fee. If you have an ongoing prescription ask your doctor for a 90-day supply to reduce the number of times you need to refill and pay the dispensing fee. Dispensing fees can range from $4.50 (Costco members) to $12 (Sobeys).

Rather than impose a 17% increase in health premiums on members the Union believes this is a reasonable solution that is consistent with the current trends towards generic drugs and provides an out-of-pocket cap so families who require prescriptions have some financial protection.

If you have further questions please contact the LRC at 1-902-424-4063 or toll free at 1-877-556-7438.

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