From Manulife to Sun Life

You work hard, you earn your benefits. It shouldn’t be a hassle to access them.

That’s one of the main reasons for the upcoming transition from Mount Royal employees’ current benefits carrier, Manulife to Sun Life, (link: ) on July 1, 2011.

“This changeover will allow our staff and faculty to keep all the things they enjoy about their benefits plan while capitalizing on some new perks and paying a bit less for them,” says Mount Royal University’s Benefits Administrator, Cindy Hamonic.

Sun Life
Mount Royal's employee benefits program moves to Sun Life, summer 2011.

Some of those new perks include a drug card so pharmacies can automatically debit the insurer instead of the employee having to pay up front, submit receipts and wait for reimbursement when buying prescription medications.

“Every five years, AON Hewitt, Mount Royal’s insurance broker, shops around to see what plan is the best fit for our staff and faculty,” explains Hamonic.

This past year, they combined the findings of the employee satisfaction survey the department of Human Resources issued earlier this year with the results of their market survey.

The results indicated that Sun Life was a really good option.

“Manulife and Sunlife were both willing to add a drug card with little or no increase to Health and Dental premiumsso we invited both companies in to do a presentation. After hearing both sides, the Benefits Committee (Rafik Kurji, Baset Zarrug, Heather Haddow, Janet Lovestone, Cindy Hamonic and Chad Seerup) felt that Sun Life clearly offers our employees a superior product.

Health Care Spending Account

Employees will continue to benefit from their Health Care Spending Accounts, but moving forward the timing of the account’s renewal will be different.

“The fact that our benefits renew every January, but the Health Care Spending Account resets in July, can be a little confusing. So, Sun Life is keeping the spending account but streamlining the process a bit.”

The first renewal will happen this July 1 and run to Dec. 31 2011. But the amount will be a half deposit of what we’d normally get for the full year.

Then on Jan. 1, the spending account will reset with the rest of your yearly benefits and your spending account will be topped up with the full benefit.

If you don’t spend all of the half deposit by Dec. 31, you can carry it over to Dec. 31, 2013.

The reset

July 1 is the start of our new life with Sun Life. This doesn’t change the services you currently benefit from.

There will be some revisions to how you access those services. For instance, on Jan. 1, 2012 employees will get a drug card to use for prescription medications that pharmacies can use to direct bill Sun Life.

Wrap it up a.s.a.p.

Hamonic recommends employees submit any current receipts as soon as possible to make the transition between insurers smoother.

“There will be some lag time as Sun Life gets everyone’s benefits and balances in order because all our balances and benefits will be carried over.

"For example, if you have $250 left of massage therapy from your core plan, then that amount will be directly taken on by Sun Life as of July 1.

“So, up to June 30, submit all information and receipts to ManuLife.” Please have all receipts submitted to Manulife by July 15.

Updating everyone’s Health Care Spending Accounts is a big job that can’t be done overnight or even in a week. It will take about a month for Sun Life to be fully organized and caught up on the balances so claims made in the month of July might take a bit longer to be reimbursed.

Taking all questions

Hamonic says Sun Life is known for outstanding online and telephone customer care.

“They’re sending in people in June to show employees how to get online with SunLife and answer questions about the transition. They’re also apparently very good about phone help and online help, which is key. We want using the employee benefits program to be a positive experience for people,” says Hamonic.

Other notes

Other benefits of the change-over include multiple travel insurance cards, which you can simply print off of the internet when you need them. So if you have six different family members traveling different places, all you have to do is print one off for each family member (available as of July 1).

And the premium rate that you currently pay for your long term disability coverage will decrease by 25%.

“We want using your benefits to be as positive an experience as possible. This is something we’re really excited about.”

Watch for further updates on the Sun Life transition on MyMRU and Face Time.

If you would like more information on about your benefit package please contact Cindy Hamonic at 5911or Lori Klosch.

Steven Noble, May 12, 2011