Every year we meet with Canada Post, Great West Life and Sun Life to review the premiums for the Extended Health Care, the Dental and the Long Term Disability Plans. We receive presentations on the cost and usage of the plans.
The Extended Health Care Plan (EHCP) and the Dental Plan costs are pretty stable and therefore our premiums will stay the same for both the Rural and Suburban Mail Carriers (RSMC) and Urban Postal Operations (UPO). UPO retirees who are part of the Option B Hospital Plan, as of July 1st, will see a decrease from $5.10 for single and $9.44 for family coverage to $2.55 for single and $4.72 for family coverage.
Effective August 1, 2015, there will be a 10% increase to LTD premiums for UPO members. Currently, members are paying $1.40 per $1,000 of insured salary, as of August 1st members will be paying $1.62 per $1,000 of insured salary.
We had expected the rates to decrease or at least stay the same considering that the Short Term Disability Plan (STDP) has extended the waiting period for LTD from 13 weeks to 30. According to Sun Life data, there are a number of reasons for the increase.
First of all, the average age of plan participants has risen from 47.5 in 2007 to 48.7 in 2014. Age has a bearing as older workers who go off on LTD are more likely to have a longer absence.
Despite having a lower number of participants in the plan, 42,400 in 2014 from 51,700 in 2007, we have the highest incident rate in the plan’s history. In 2014, we had an incident rate of 25.3 per 1,000 participants in the plan from 16.1 in 2007 and 18.4 in 2013. In 2014, there were 1,073 claims approved. That is the largest number of new claims in a one-year period.
As the cause for most of the claims for LTD is muscular-skeletal, we believe the reason for the dramatic increase in claims is that our work has gotten harder and heavier. Our bodies are wearing down due to the pressure we are facing at work. We need to raise this with the employer at every level in the Union and members should be encouraged to work at a safe pace and not feel pressured to work harder or faster.
Our demands at negotiations need to address this. This is not just a matter of cost but also our quality of life, now and into retirement.