Update: Out-of-country emergency medical coverage

 

While your Extended Health Plan still covers many of your out-of-province emergency and non-emergency medical expenses, there have been some important changes to your out-of-country coverage (OOC) in light of COVID-19 outbreak.

If you are currently outside of Canada and trying to return home, your OOC coverage has been extended until April 30, 2020.

If you left Canada on or after March 19, 2020 you do not have coverage for:

  • any expenses during and after a period of quarantine, unless you show symptoms of or have tested positive for COVID-19, even if this quarantine is directed by a doctor or medical professional,
  • any request for extension of OOC coverage beyond the travel duration limit as set out in your contract.

For more details and recent updates about your OOC coverage visit:

Telehealth: Virtual care covered by MSP

 

Physicians in British Columbia are now able to provide care to patients over a secure video call via computer, tablet or smartphone.

The benefits of virtual care include:

  • seeing your own doctor from the comfort and safety of your own home
  • reducing the risk of virus transmission
  • increased accessibility for those with disabilities and mobility challenges.

You are encouraged to contact your family physician, who knows your medical history, for routine appointments or advice for acute or chronic conditions that require treatment or medication. If needed, your physician will provide in-person care or refer you to a specialist. Call your doctor’s office just as you normally would and the office staff will book the appointment and guide you in preparing for the telephone call or video conference.

For those who don’t have a family physician, you can seek virtual care via medimap.ca and book an appointment online with a walk-in clinic doctor. The wait times to speak to a doctor are indicated under the ‘Connect me with a Doctor Now’ button. These doctors can provide general health advice and address needs such as prescription refills and concerns regarding the COVID-19 outbreak.

Access Virtual is another virtual care option available to BC residents. For more information see: accessvirtual.ca/british-columbia

Like any visit with the doctor, these virtual appointment options listed above are covered by the Medical Services Plan (MSP) of BC. That means, if you are enrolled in MSP, there is no additional cost for the virtual service.

For more information regarding virtual care, visit Doctors of BC website.

 

Benefits Spotlight: Therapist-assisted Digital Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

 

We all need extra support during difficult times. A therapist-assisted digital cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), an evidence-based and effective form of psychotherapy for individuals experiencing mental health concerns, is covered by your UBC’s Extended Health Benefits (EHB).

The therapy provided through CBT is:

  • structured
  • time-limited (usually 6-20 sessions)
  • problem-focused and goal-oriented
  • designed to teach strategies to build resilience and coping skills
  • based on a proactive, shared therapeutic relationship between therapist and client.

Benefits Coverage

Sun Life, UBC’s EHB provider, has partnered with BEACON to provide a therapist-assisted digital CBT to plan members at a preferred rate. This and other digital therapies are eligible for reimbursement under UBC’s extended health benefits plan if the provider has the appropriate credentials/qualification. You and your covered dependents can receive reimbursement for 100% of the reasonable and customary charges  for eligible practitioners up to $2,500 per year under the psychological services provision. Visit Extended Health Benefits – UBC Human Resources for coverage details.

To claim reimbursement for digital CBT or digital therapy, please ensure that it is therapist-assisted and your receipt includes:

  • date(s) of service
  • name of patient
  • name of practitioner
  • credentials/qualifications of provider and professional affiliations with any regulatory body or society

Other Digital Therapy Supports

A free digital program, Stronger Minds, offered by BEACON is available to all Canadians to support their mental well-being. It includes resources from a team of clinical psychologists.

Do you have questions? Contact the Health, Wellbeing & Benefits team at benefitsinfo@hr.ubc.ca.

 

Virtual paramedical services now covered under Extended Health Plan

 

On March 23, 2020 virtual paramedical services are eligible for reimbursement under the extended health plan. The coverage amount of reimbursement remains the same as though the service was received in-person.

Paramedical practitioners covered by virtual therapy include:

  • Naturopaths
  • Registered dieticians
  • Psychologists
  • Psychotherapists
  • Social workers
  • Physiotherapists
  • Occupational therapists
  • Speech therapists
  • Audiologists

Paramedical practitioners must be located in Canada and have the appropriate qualifications/credentials for Sun Life to process reimbursement for the claim.

How to Make a Virtual Claim

Submit your virtual claim through Sun Life’s mobile app.

  1. Select the location of service
    • For any virtual appointments, select “in patient’s home” as the location of service
  2. Upload a photo or screen shot of the receipt.

For More Information

Health & wellbeing: Smoking cessation

Staying safe and healthy is top of mind these days. If you smoke or vape you may be thinking about seeking support to quit to lessen the impact Covid-19 might have on your health. When smoking you are more vulnerable to serious respiratory diseases through repeated contact of fingers to lips, and the possibility of already having reduced lung capacity [1]. Reducing or quitting smoking results in improved lung’s ability to fight infection, increased oxygenation and lowered blood pressure and pulse in as little as 8 hours after the last cigarette [2].

Smoking Cessation Support Services are available to UBC staff, faculty and their dependents through the Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) and UBC’s Extended Health Benefits.

Telephone Smoking Cessation Program (EFAP Provider Morneau-Shepell)

Led by a certified smoking cessation counsellor, Morneau-Shepell’s program guides you through a series of phone sessions that aim to help you navigate and problem-solve difficult situations. You also receive a handbook containing exercises and strategies for incorporating your new skills into your daily routines.

The program includes:

  • An initial assessment
  • Four counselling sessions
  • One booster session
  • Two aftercare sessions.

Online Stop Smoking Centre (EFAP Provider Morneau-Shepell)

This interactive and personalized online program offers convenience, security and access anytime, anywhere. Key components of the program include:

  • Achieving six major milestones to help quit smoking
  • Connecting with an online peer support group that is moderated by health care professionals.

Learn more about Morneau-Shepell’s Smoking Cessation Program and Stop Smoking Centre. Services are free for UBC faculty and staff, and 100% confidential. To book services or to learn which service is right for you, call the Morneau-Shepell Care Access Centre at 1-844-880-9137 or visit worklifehealth.com. (Note: Please enter “University of British Columbia” as your organization.)

Smoking Cessation Support Services (Extended Health Benefits)

UBC’s Extended Health Benefits plan provides reimbursement for smoking cessation products that require a prescription, as well as over-the-counter products with a prescription. If you’re enrolled in UBC’s extended benefits plan, you can access up to $300 per year per person for smoking cessation drugs. The plan also provides coverage for naturopathic services that can include anti-smoking treatments administered by a doctor of naturopathic medicine (ND).

For more details, refer to the information outlined by your UBC Employee Group. For specific drug coverage information, visit the Sun Life Member Website, call Sun Life at 1-800-661-7334 or 1-800-361-6212, or review the details in your Sun Life benefits booklet.

Additional UBC Resources

  • UBC Pharmacists Clinic (Vancouver campus): The pharmacists have experience supporting people through a smoking cessation process that includes goal-setting, arranging access to nicotine replacement therapy, etc. This routine service is available by appointment. Contact the Pharmacists Clinic.
  • Information about community substance use support and support services can be found here.

Additional Provincial Resources

  • BC Smoking Cessation Program helps eligible B.C. residents stop smoking or using other tobacco products by assisting with the cost of smoking cessation prescription drugs or nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products.
  • Quit Now is a free program using evidenced-based strategies to help approach quitting.
References
  1. https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/q-a-on-smoking-and-covid-19
  2. https://www.healthline.com/health/what-happens-when-you-quit-smoking