I am excited to tell everyone about a number of upcoming changes that will enhance benefits coverage for team members across Bell and offer a broader range of investment choices within our Defined Contribution (DC) pension plan.
Many of these improvements are the direct result of feedback we have heard from plan members and are designed to reflect the needs of the Bell team and their families today.
These changes will take effect on January 1, 2016 and will apply to all Bell management team members, as well as a large segment of non-management and unionized team members. Some unionized groups will require discussions with union leaders before the changes can be extended to members.
Typically at this time of year, you are asked to re-enroll and make coverage selections in Omniflex. This year, enrollment will shift to November just in advance of the new program launch in January 2016. Until then, your current coverage remains in effect and any flex dollar credits will be prorated until the end of the year.
In November, you will receive complete details about the new benefits and pension program along with online tools and opportunities to join education sessions to ensure you understand and can take advantage of all the improvements.
Here are a few program highlights
- Enhanced Omniflex benefits program
Our new Omniflex program will include coverage for services such as orthodontics and dental treatment based on the most current 2016 fee guide, as well as an expanded list of professional services including massage therapy and home delivery of maintenance prescription drugs. You will also have access to additional flex dollars and new optional coverage such as critical illness insurance.
- Omniflex enrollment for 2015
We are adjusting the Omniflex plan year to a calendar year, running from January 1 to December 31. As a result, enrollment for any team member on Omniflex will shift to November this year.
For 2015, team members will remain on their current plan and credits will be pro-rated accordingly. In case of required life event changes such as the addition of a new dependent or beneficiary, exceptions can be made. Please review the Q&A for a summary of exceptions.
- Defined Contribution Pension plan improvements
Improvements to our DC pension plan will include an increased voluntary maximum employee contribution from 4% to 12% and offer more investment options and opportunities to diversify.
- New elements for Bell Aliant Central, Télébec and NorthernTel
These team members can take advantage of our existing Group Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA), the ability to transfer Employees’ Savings Plan shares to the Group RSP or TFSA, and reimbursement of services provided by psychologists and social workers up to a maximum of $1,500 per year for each person covered by your plan. These changes are effective in July 2015.
A comprehensive overview of the new program will be available to all Bell team members later this year. If you have any questions please refer to the Q&A or call the Benefits Administrator at 1-888-391-0005.
Bell has always been a leader in providing comprehensive benefit and pension plans to our team and we are proud of our continued improvements as we move forward together!
Bernard Le Duc