insurance bulletin & FA L L
Message from the President …2
LTD Questions and Answers …4
Annual Benefits Workshop …4
Generic Drugs …5
Annual Charity Golf Classic …5
Ontario Health Study …6
Canada Awards of Excellence …7
Travel Insurance Update …7
e-health to m-health. Health care is going mobile.
Today, we count on our mobile phones and devices for more and more - more ways
to communicate, more access to information and more means to organize our lives.
The same goes for managing health care. There has been a significant shift in how
health care information is being accessed. Patients are no longer willing to wait until
their next doctor’s appointment; they want access to information much more quickly.
They go online to research symptoms, check wait times at hospitals, even to see how
others rate a specialist. Health care institutions are recognizing the trend towards a better
distributed health care system. Ontario launched an e-health initiative, which, after being
sidelined by a recent spending scandal, has the goal of improving health care access and
accuracy by providing electronic health records for every Ontarian.
m-health takes e-health into the palm
of our hand Client Corner
OTIP is happy to welcome:
Mobile health or m-health takes e-health even further - into the palms of our
hands, literally. Health care is on the go as we start to access information CUPE Local 65 – LTD
electronically through mobile phones and other mobile devices. From a Superior – Greenstone DSB – LTD
simple pedometer to measure daily exercise to a mobile meeting of medical Wellington – Dufferin Student
minds across different countries to consult on a case, m-health has vast Transportation – Life, LTD, EHC,
implications. Mobile devices are being used to collect public health data, Dental, Travel
deliver health care information and education to medical workers and OSSTF District 2 Algoma ECE –
patients, even to provide real-time monitoring of patients. Life, LTD, EHC, Dental, Travel
continued on page 2
Message from the President e-health to m-health
continued from page 1
To better serve our
members and to While the western world is benefitting
prepare for future from the convenience of m-health,
growth opportunities, developing nations are making huge
I am pleased to strides in providing better health care
announce the launch access. Due to increasingly high
of the next phase of mobile phone penetration, m-health
OTIP’s Connect 3 provides a way for these countries
project on September to extend their limited health care
1, 2011. This important resources to reach large, remote
infrastructure upgrade populations. Text messages can
will provide OTIP with be sent directly to patients’ phones
system and service to offer information about testing
efficiencies reinforcing and treatment methods, availability
our commitment to of health services, and disease
respond and adapt to management, such as alerts to
the changing demands remind patients to take medication.
of the insurance industry. While the impact of the Connect 3 project has This has been particularly effective in
increased the workload throughout the OTIP organization, the group areas hit hard by HIV/AIDS.
insurance services team continues to place priority on meeting the daily and
cyclical needs of our clients and members. New smartphone
We are experiencing the highest levels of long term disability (LTD) claims (apps) are
in our history due largely to an increase in new claims and claims from continuously
our younger members. As a result, the LTD plan is currently operating in a being developed
deficit position. We remain dedicated to providing our pooled groups with to help us
a stable, long-term sustainable LTD plan and are closely monitoring these manage our
results. On a positive note, we are anticipating above-average claim closure health. As of
rates through the summer months. late 2010, over
We look forward to our upcoming annual Benefits Workshop. We have an apps were
interesting agenda planned that includes some excellent guest speakers available such as Lose It!, which
discussing topics such as the future on Ontario’s health care system, has been successful helping people
caregiver wellness, managing stress and drug plan management. set goals and establish a daily
calorie budget to lose weight and
I hope that you enjoy the new Benefits & Insurance Bulletin virtual format. Blood Pressure Monitor to keep
The PDF format has many advantages: it is a more interactive medium that track of important medical statistics.
provides an easy way to source additional information outside the bulletin A recent study, Global Mobile Health
through the hyperlinks, content can be easily forwarded electronically to Market Report 2010-2015, predicts
colleagues and other interested parties, and the carbon footprint and costs 500 million people around the world
are reduced by eliminating the printing and mailing of hard copies. will be using smartphone health
apps by 2015.
I wish you all the best for the new school year.
This is good news for plan members.
Vic Medland – President, Group Insurance Services M-health expands the breadth of
health care, reducing the pressure
on the burdened Ontario institutional
health system and putting more
health information in the hands of
patients, wherever they are. ®
2 OTIP benefits & insurance bulletin | www.otip.com
Always tired? Feeling stressed?
TAke THe TesT.
Jane* had not been feeling like herself lately but blamed it on her frustration with
teaching a particularly difficult class of students. It wasn’t until a concerned colleague
gently pointed out that she seemed unusually moody and worn out that Jane realized
she needed help. She visited the FeelingBetterNow® website and took the confidential
online test. The results indicated that Jane was at risk for depression. She took the
FeelingBetterNow® information to her doctor who used it to prepare a care plan that Jane
followed. Jane is now sleeping better, is much happier and is more productive at work.
With today’s hectic pace, it is not
uncommon to have occasional thoughts
that our mental health isn’t quite what
it should be. Like Jane, it’s easy to
overlook the early warning signs of
mental health issues and attribute our
feelings to the stress of work, school,
finances or relationships. Too many
of us suffer in silence when there are
positive solutions to our problems. You can trust
Know the signs The College of Family Physicians of
Canada has reviewed and approved
Common symptoms of treatable emotional and mental health FeelingBetterNow® as a practice
problems include: management tool available to assist
family physicians in patient care. It is
feelings of depression, despair or fear confidential and completely anonymous.
increased use of drugs or alcohol No one will ever know if you access
feelings of stress, anxiety or irritability FeelingBetterNow® unless you tell them.
lack of enjoyment, energy and motivation, and/or
One in five Canadians suffers from some
fatigue, lack of sleep or poor concentration. type of serious mental health issue. Take
the test and find out if you are at risk. The
Take the test earlier you know there’s a solution, the
faster you’ll be on the road to recovery.
FeelingBetterNow® is a web-based mental health care program Take charge of your mental health and
offered at no cost to all education employees who have long term take time to start FeelingBetterNow®.
disability insurance through OTIP. The program is completely
* Jane is not a real person; her story was created to provide
anonymous and will evaluate your risk of developing a mental health an example. We are committed to protecting the privacy of
issue. It is available anytime to you, your spouse and your dependant the members who visit the FeelingBetterNow® website. No
identifying personal information is ever collected or shared.
children. The FeelingBetterNow® test is easy to use, takes 10 to 20
minutes to complete, and provides immediate results.
1. Visit www.feelingbetternow.com/otip. Be one of the next 2,000 OTIP
2. Please follow the simple instructions to start FeelingBetterNow . ®
members to complete the
You will be asked a series of medical and lifestyle questions. If it FeelingBetterNow® test and we
appears your mental or emotional health is at risk, you will be given a will make a $5 donation to 1 of 3
printable Diagnostic Risk Assessment Map and a Care Map to take to charities of your choice! Visit
your doctor. Together you can prepare a care plan to better manage www.feelingbetternow.com/otip.
your mental health.
OTIP benefits & insurance bulletin | www.otip.com 3
I am a new member of the education
community and am not familiar
with long term disability (LTD)
protection. What is the purpose of
LTD insurance protects your income and
pension plan contributions if you are
absent from work for long periods of time
as a result of illness or injury. The plan
reduces the financial vulnerability most
members face when confronted with a
loss of income during a lengthy illness. OTIP is hosting its annual Benefits Workshop on
September 28 and 29, 2011, for local presidents,
presidents of prospect groups and affiliate representatives.
The term “waiting period” often
comes up in discussions related to Participants will have the opportunity to learn about
LTD benefits. How is the waiting important health topics such as the future of the Ontario
period defined? health care system, caregiver wellness, managing stress,
drug plan management, updates on the FeelingBetterNow®
The waiting period is the time between mental health assessment and CAREpath Cancer Assistance
the onset of a disability and the date programs, and information about OTIP group plans.
LTD benefits become payable. The
waiting period starts when the member The day-and-a-half workshop will be held at the Hilton
first becomes disabled and ceases Toronto Airport Hotel and Suites in Mississauga. We look
work. Depending on the LTD contract, forward to seeing you there. ®
the waiting period lasts for a specific
number of calendar or working days. If
the disability is not continuous, the days
OTIP is proud to be a founding member of Third Party
the member is disabled and absent from
Administrators’ Association of Canada (TPAAC). TPAAC’s
work are accumulated to satisfy the
mission is to represent the interests of its members as a
waiting period, as long as there are no
Member of common voice to the insurance industry and the various
interruptions greater than 20 consecutive
Provincial and Federal Government regulatory bodies.
working days and the disability arises
OTIP’s membership in TPAAC offers you a certain
from the same illness or injury. The 20
comfort level that we’re operating in a professional manner and that
working days changes to 30 calendar
we have a vested interest in servicing your business.
days when the waiting period is
calculated on a calendar-day basis. ®
For more information on TPAAC, please visit www.tpaac.ca. ®
4 OTIP benefits & insurance bulletin | www.otip.com
Why you should consider generic drugs
It is no secret that prescription drugs drive
the premium increases for most health
These costs continue to skyrocket as new and more expensive drugs
enter the marketplace. One way to keep a lid on drug costs is to
explore the use of generic drugs.
A generic drug is a drug product that is equivalent to a brand name drug. Once the patent on a brand name drug
has expired, pharmaceutical companies can produce a generic version that matches the brand name drug in active
ingredients, dosage, strength and how it is taken. Unlike the perception you may have of other generic products,
generic drugs are not lower quality than brand name drugs. Health Canada must approve the generic drug before it is
released to market and requires the drug manufacturer to perform tests to show every drug batch made meets Health
Canada quality requirements. Generic drug prices are usually substantially lower than the equivalent brand name drug,
which allows health insurance plans such as OTIP to maintain lower claim and, consequently premium costs for group
Cholesterol drugs provide a good case example. In the past, Lipitor was the top selling prescription drug used to
reduce elevated cholesterol levels. In 2010, Lipitor’s patent expired. Lower-priced, generic versions of the drug
were introduced and deemed interchangeable with Lipitor by Health Canada. This was good news for health care
plans. However, recently, OTIP has seen elevated drug claims for the brand name drug, Crestor. Crestor is also a
prescription drug used to reduce elevated cholesterol levels. It is believed that some physicians may be substituting
Crestor for Lipitor instead of prescribing a generic version of Lipitor. This switch has led to increased claim and
premium costs for our plans.
To help limit rising costs, it is advised that generic drugs, when they can be safely interchanged with brand name
drugs, be prescribed. The next time your doctor writes out a prescription, we encourage you to ask if a generic version
of the drug is available, and right for you. ®
Golf Classic raises
The OTIP Charity Golf Classic returned to the Cardinal Golf Club on August 26, 2011, for its 22nd and most successful
year! Over 280 golfers chipped and putted their way through the challenging course, raising $85,632.00. The proceeds
will be distributed through the OTIP Community Fund, which supports the SickKids Foundation, school breakfast
programs, Family and Children’s Services and children’s mental health charities across Ontario.
Congratulations to our sponsors, participants and volunteers on another successful year! Your continued support and
passion for this tournament has helped us raise over $1.2 million for charity. The 23rd OTIP Charity Golf Classic will
return to the Cardinal Golf Club in Kettleby on August 24, 2012. ®
OTIP benefits & insurance bulletin | www.otip.com 5
Make a difference.
Join the Ontario Health study.
Ontarians are being
asked to help improve How can I help?
medical research by
Go to www.OntarioHealthStudy.ca and fill out
participating in the
the online health questionnaire. It only takes
Ontario Health Study,
20-30 minutes. If you are interested, there
the largest population-based health study conducted in North America.
are optional follow-up questionnaires on
The online study collects environment, lifestyle and family history
areas such as diet and physical activity that
information from individuals throughout the course of their lives to
you can complete. All your health information
help medical researchers around the world develop strategies for the
is protected by the most up-to-date online
prevention and treatment of diseases such as cancer, diabetes,
technology and strict privacy policies.
asthma, Alzheimer’s and depression. This long-term, ongoing study is
sponsored by several Ontario government-funded organizations such
as the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research and Cancer Care Ontario. Spread the word
To date, over 32,000 Ontarians have
Previous population-based health research, such as the U.S.
signed up for the study but millions more
Framington Heart Study, which began in 1948 with just over 5,000
are needed. Encourage your friends and
people, uncovered the link between cigarette smoking and heart
colleagues to join the study. Filling out a
disease. Imagine the impact the Ontario Health Study, with its goal of
questionnaire is an easy way to make a
studying millions of Ontarians over several decades, could have on
difference and improve healthcare for you,
your family and future generations. ®
OTIP attains of the
Excellence Canada’s Progressive
OTIP has a strong commitment to
providing quality products and service for
its members, partners and employees and
to maintaining a healthy work environment.
Now, OTIP is being recognized for this commitment and is
pleased to announce it has achieved Level 3 of Excellence
Canada’s Progressive Excellence Program (PEP) for quality and
healthy workplace. OTIP has been acknowledged numerous
times for its dedication to their progressive quality and healthy editors:
workplace journey since starting the PEP program in 2002. Pamela Youngberg,
Senior Communications Consultant
The Canada Awards for Excellence are awarded annually 1.877.260.3892, extension 2603
to private, public and not-for-profit organizations that have firstname.lastname@example.org
demonstrated excellence in the areas of quality and a healthy
workplace. For more information on the Canada Awards for Beth McLay,
Excellence, please visit www.nqi.ca. Communications Specialist
1.877.260.3892, extension 2615
Have OTIP editorial Board:
Out-of-Country Vic Medland,
President, Group Insurance Services
Travel Coverage 1.800.267.6847
with Mondial? email@example.com
For OTIP members who have Out-of-Country travel coverage Deborah Stephens,
with Mondial Assistance, an emergency travel assistance Vice President, Group Insurance Services
arrangement is in place that allows direct payment, where 1.800.267.6847
possible, to the treating facility for emergency medical firstname.lastname@example.org
expenses of more than $200.
Benefits & Insurance Bulletin is
Recently, Mondial has noted a change in practice by some published twice a year for our
facilities (e.g., hospitals) in certain U.S. destinations, and other group insured clients. We encourage
parts of the world, requiring the patient to provide an immediate you to share this information with your
up-front payment or a deposit for services received, where no members and to use these articles in
such practice was previously in place. any applicable newsletters.
While Emergency Travel Assistance coverage has not changed, If you have any comments or
and Mondial does attempt to guarantee and provide payment suggestions, please contact us.
whenever possible, your plan members should be aware that
payment requirements are ultimately at the discretion of the OTIP
treating facility. Unfortunately, OTIP is unable to guarantee 125 Northfield Drive West, PO Box 218
that every facility will accept direct payment from Mondial and Waterloo ON N2J 3Z9
therefore, this means that plan members may be required to 1.800.267. 6847 | www.otip.com
cover their costs up-front and later seek reimbursement for
out-of-pocket expenses incurred. ®
OTIP benefits & insurance bulletin | www.otip.com 7
They could WIN
a bursary from OTIP!
for more information.