Human Resources

Human Resources

Human Resources

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Employee Benefits Plan Review

Following a competitive Request for Proposals (RFP) process through the spring and summer 2019, Manulife has been selected as the new employee and retiree benefits provider for the university. 

The university will be working with implementation specialists at Manulife to develop a detailed implementation plan. The implementation of the new plan and transition to Manulife is anticipated to occur in the Spring of 2020; and will result in some reduced costs for employee paid benefits. Further details will be shared in the coming months.   

Until the transition to Manulife occurs, Great-West Life will continue to be the university benefit provider and there are no changes to the existing benefit plan coverages or the claim submission process.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. When will the new plan features be available?
    The updated plan design features will be introduced when Queen’s transitions to the new provider, Manulife which is anticipated to occur in spring 2020.
  2. What are the plan design changes for employees?
    The new plan changes for employees include:
    • A pay direct drug card with generic substitution and dispensing fee max of $10 per prescription
    • Physiotherapy at 80% reimbursement up to $500 per year with no per visit maximum
    • Registered Psychology at 100% reimbursement up to $1,000 per year
    • Reimbursement up to $100 every 24 months for eye examinations
    • Reimbursement up to $300 every 24 months for glasses, contact lenses, laser eye surgery
    • Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) provision up to a maximum of 3% per year (based on CPI) on Long-Term Disability benefit
    • Optional spousal and child life insurance (premium fully employee paid)

    All benefit coverages not listed above (semi-private hospitalization, dental, basic life insurance) remain unchanged.

  3. When will I receive a drug card?
    Drug cards will be available for use, once the new plan is in effect with Manulife, for all employees participating in the Supplementary Medical plan. Drug cards will be mailed to your home address prior to transition to the new provider.
  4. What will happen to current coverage balances for Dental, Vision care and Paramedical services?
    Coverage maximums reset after a set period of time as stated in the coverage details. Coverage balances for dental, vision care and paramedical services will be carried forward from Great-West Life to Manulife on the effective date of the transition. For example, if you have claimed and reached the maximum of $300 for services under a legally licensed chiropractor prior to the transition date, the available balance of $0 will be carried forward to Manulife and your maximum will reset on January 1, 2021.
  5. What is the expected savings to employees in Long-Term Disability (LTD) premiums when the updated benefit plan is launched?
    It is anticipated that employees can expect a 20% reduction in their LTD premium rates when the transition to the new provider occurs.  In addition, as a result of the RFP process, the LTD premium rate set is also guaranteed not to increase for a three-year period.
  6. Where should I submit my claims?
    Claims incurred prior to the transition to the new provider should be submitted directly to Great-West Life using the same process as today with the same plan number and participant ID (Employee ID). Claims incurred on or after the transition to the new provider will be submitted to Manulife. Once the university has transitioned to Manulife, GroupNet for Plan members (GWL) will no longer be available. Claims submissions for expenses that were incurred prior to the transition will be accepted by Great-West Life using a paper claim form.  Full details will be provided as we work out the transition details with the providers.
  7. Where do I find information about what is covered?
    Coverage will remain unchanged until the transition has occurred in spring 2020. Details about the current benefits plan can be found on the Group Benefits page through the HR Website.
  8. Will I be able to make changes to my elections for Supplementary Medical, Dental, Semi-Private Hospital, Long-Term Disability or Life Insurance?
    Your benefit elections will be conveyed to Manulife based on the elections in place with Great-West Life at the time of the transition. If you would like to make changes to your elections, changes can be requested at any time by completing Evidence of Insurability. You may have to provide medical evidence of good health at your own expense. An Evidence of Insurability form can be obtained by contacting your HR Advisor. If you are uncertain whether a change may be applied through a life event, please contact your HR Advisor.
  9. I noticed that my dependent’s birth date is incorrect. What should I do?
    If you are aware of any errors relating to your coverage or personal information including your address, names and birthdates of dependents or incorrect coverage, please contact your HR Advisor.  Prior to the transition date which will be confirmed in the coming months, a notice will be sent to you requesting that you validate the information on file before it is transferred to Manulife.
  1. How will the plan changes affect retirees?
    With the move to the new provider, Manulife, all benefits currently administered by Great-West Life will move to Manulife. This includes all retiree benefit coverages. Upon the transition to the new provider, anticipated spring 2020, there will also be introduction of the pay direct drug card as well as some new optional plan features available to retirees. Some additional plan features include optional dental care and optional out-of-country emergency medical top-up benefit. The full premium for these optional benefits would be paid by retirees who elect to participate.  Further details will be made available in coming months. 


In May 2016, Queen’s embarked on a comprehensive review of its insured employee benefits plan. A consultation process was undertaken that included employee education sessions and an employee survey.  In addition, discussions occurred with representatives from every bargaining group and the non-union employees who were all members of the Multi-Employee Group Employee Benefits Committee (MEGEBC). This culminated in all parties agreeing on a set of benefit plan design changes incorporated into an RFP that was publicly posted and open to bidders. 


For more information, please contact Diane Pointer, Director, Total Compensation,, ext. 74173. Those with questions about the project may submit them to