Pacific Blue Cross cares about the health and wellbeing of British Columbians and that of our own employees. Since May, we have been experiencing service delays due to labour disruptions from our union employees that have impacted the service and sales experience that our Members deserve. Our focus is on minimizing the impact and ensuring that you continue to receive the services and support you require.
What you need to know:
How does the labour disruption impact me?
Services through our website and mobile app remain unaffected. Member electronic claims via our website and mobile app have various maximums. Claims that exceed these maximums require a paper claim that will be received, opened and processed at our office in priority order and according to needs. These claim maximums do not apply to electronic claims submitted by our dental or pharmacy providers on behalf of members. Although our call centre is closed, our walk-in centre at 4250 Canada Way remains open. Many questions can be answered by logging into your CARESnet account or viewing informational updates on our website. Short and long term disability benefits will continue to be paid, although at below normal service levels. Although we have been granted Essential Service designation from the BC Labour Relations Board, we are operating with a greatly reduced staff size.
What can I do about it?
Save time and claim online
or use our mobile app. As our digital channels remain unaffected, this is the way to get the fastest service.
Any paper claims that are eligible can be re-submitted through our website or mobile app. You will be paid within 48 hours and when we process your paper claim, you will receive a claim statement by email. The paper claim will show as a “duplicate” in your CARESnet account.
You can also check your benefits and self-serve most questions by signing in on our website using your Pacific Blue Cross Policy and ID number. You can also buy travel and personal health insurance on our website. If you are a Plan Sponsor, Advisor or Provider, please check our website for service updates and information.
Why is there a labour disruption at Pacific Blue Cross?
Pacific Blue Cross is negotiating a collective agreement with our unionized employees, CUPE 1816. This process began in September 2016. Although bargaining talks continued, the organization experienced rotating labour disruptions from May 2017 onward. A formal strike began on July 10, 2017.
What are the issues?
We currently offer a very generous benefits plan to both our current and retiree staff that is almost triple the cost of the average group plan administered by Pacific Blue Cross. We have asked our union for support for changes to the plan design that promote smarter use of the funds and that manage cost increases in the years to come, such as shopping within our Preferred Pharmacy Network to take advantage of preferential pricing and adding limits to benefits that are currently unlimited. The benefits plans offered to our unionized employees would always remain far more generous than the average group plan administered by Pacific Blue Cross.
What is the next step?
We remain focused on providing the best service possible to our members while we are experiencing a significant labour shortage. We remain committed to resuming negotiations when the union is ready to come back to the table. Our proposal is to continue to offer a best-in-class plan that will still be one of the most attractive benefits plans in the province, and yet provide sustainability for the future, and allow us to maintain competitive rates for members for years to come.