Please email David Timerman at david.timerman @ mail.utoronto.ca if you have any questions regarding your CUPE benefits or membership.
Notes below from David dated 4 September 2018:
You are automatically a member of CUPE when you are employed at the university as a teaching assistant. I will be giving a presentation to new students on your rights and benefits under the collective agreement at TA orientation on Sept 12 in the afternoon. At the orientation meeting, I will provide physical copies of the information discussed. Contact me after the date of the event if you were unable to attend. I will also host an info session on using the health care benefits in October.
The extended health care benefits can be difficult to navigate and I would like to clarify some issues related to your coverage. All EEB graduate students have health benefits provided through the Graduate Student Union (your primary insurance policy). You pay an annual premium for the primary plan through your stipend package. Members of CUPE who TA more than 50 hours per academic year are also covered by a secondary insurance policy meant as a top-up to the primary plan. Your membership to the GSU and primary policy are separate from your membership in CUPE and secondary policy. For the 2018-2019 academic year, you can claim health and dental related expenses made after September 1, 2018, but you cannot submit your claims to either policy untilNovember 1, 2018. Expenses made during the 2017-2018 academic year can be submitted until October 31, 2018.
The primary policy provides a host of health care benefits not covered under OHIP or UHIP such as prescriptions and dental care. If you work as a teaching assistant in 2018-2019, then you will be a member of CUPE and will be entitled to the secondary policy. The secondary policy reimburses portions of expenses not covered by the primary policy. For example, your prescription drugs are not fully covered under the primary policy but the balance can be reimbursed by the secondary policy. The secondary policy is very generous and essentially doubles your coverage for most expenses. A notable distinction, however, is that the secondary policy also provides a $300 “health care spending account” per year which is basically free money to use on any health related expense during the policy year separate from your insurance coverage. This is only available to CUPE members. If you opt out of the GSU primary policy, you cannot use the secondary policy but you still can access the health care spending account.
Both insurance policies are provided through Green Shield Canada. Travel insurance, however, is provided by Blue Cross and covers emergency health related expenses when traveling outside of Ontario. UHIP students should note that your insurance provider is Sun Life Assurance, but you are still entitled to the extended health care benefits provided by the GSU and CUPE through Green Shield. I cannot answer questions related to UHIP coverage but you can probably start making claims to Sun Life immediately.
This is not well publicized, but the health care spending account can be used to reimburse the premium for other insurance policies, including the primary policy. In principle, you did not pay for the GSU health and dental policies but you can nonetheless claim the amount paid from your stipend. If you were a CUPE member during 2017-2018 and have not fully used your health care spending account, you can claim your premium until the end of October through Green Shield Canada. You can find the premium amounts by logging in to your 2017-2018 financial account on ACORN. There were two premiums paid in both Fall and Winter semester for health and dental. On Green Shield, login to your secondary account, select “My Spending Accounts” and click the link to submit a claim directly to your health care spending account. The claim is for “Health and Dental Plan Premiums”. Submit each premium on its own line.
Many of your claims will need to be submitted manually, but there are instances where the service provider can automatically submit the claims for you, leaving you with no out of pocket expenses. For example, be sure to inform your pharmacist that you have insurance coverage with Green Shield Canada. Inform them if you have two policies and let them know which the primary or secondary policy is. Some providers will be unable to submit a claim with a secondary policy. My dentist, for example, can only submit a claim through the primary policy and I usually pay the remaining balance, if any, upfront. You will need both policy numbers described below.
To view your health benefits covered under the GSU primary policy, and for information on making claims visit: https://www.utgsu.ca/insurance/ and http://studentcare.ca/rte/en/IHaveAPlan_UniversityofTorontoGraduateStudentsUnionUTGSU_Home
FAQ on the secondary policy is available here https://www.cupe3902.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Benefits-FAQ.pdf
This is a pamphlet on the secondary policy. The information is based on the 2016 collective agreement. Updated literature from the latest round of bargaining will be available next month https://www.cupe3902.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/CUPE-3902-UNIT-1-TOP-UP-PLAN-PAMPHLET.pdf.pdf
Maximum amounts covered by the secondary policy https://www.cupe3902.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/GSU_Unit1TopUp_2016-17Coverage_table.pdf
*** the easiest and most clear way to see your benefits is to register for both Green Shield accounts (see below), login and view your coverage booklet
Here are the steps required to register with Green Shield Canada online:
Choose “Get a Registration Key”. You will need to register separate accounts for your primary and secondary policies. Your “Plan Member ID” for your primary policy is “UTGstudentid#-00” and for your secondary policy is “UoTpersonnel#-00”. Your student id number is on your T-Card and your personnel number is provided to you by Jenn English at payroll.
You will receive an email with a registration key which will allow you to register your accounts on the welcome screen.