Coronavirus (COVID‑19)

Information for Policyholders and Intermediaries
for Private Sector Groups

Last updated: May 12, 2020 at 4:10 p.m.

Services maintained, but prioritized

All your claims will be processed as quickly as possible by our employees working from home.

A general information page related to COVID-19 is available and updated on a continuous basis.

We are monitoring the situation closely so that we may quickly adapt and continue to serve through this difficult period.

Online Services for Administrators and Plan Members

The secure website ACCESS | Administrators lets you easily manage your group insurance plan. You may use it at any time to register new participants, make changes to existing files and consult your invoicing documents.

To avoid long wait times over the phone, encourage your employees to use our Customer Centre. It may be accessed on our website and on our mobile app.

FAQ - traditional products

Quotes and renewals

What happens if my plan is up for renewal soon?

For groups of less than 50 members with a renewal process scheduled for April or May that has not yet been completed, we will agree, upon request, to postpone renewal until June 1, 2020.

Rates scheduled for April 1 or May 1 will apply on June 1. If an employer wants to change its contractual period from June 1 to May 31, can submit the request to their account manager to its account manager.

Note that the renewal date usually influences the date of payment of commissions. Therefore, a postponement of the renewal will also mean a deferral of commission payments in most cases.

Will the deadline on the quotes be extended?

No, our quotes remain valid for three months.

In the event of significant changes in the composition of the group, SSQ Insurance reserves the right to modify the quoted rates and fees included in the proposal.

Premium payment

What happens if there’s a delay in premium payment?

We understand that your company may be facing financial pressures under the current circumstances. If this is the case, we recommend to contact your account executive to find solutions to support you in this situation.

Temporary plan changes

Can I make temporary changes to my contract?

We will maintain all contracts in their current form without making temporary changes. However, if you would like to make permanent changes to your contract, we will evaluate this option with you.

Reduced work hours

What happens if I have to cut my employees’ hours?

To accommodate your employees, SSQ Insurance will temporarily allow members to maintain their coverage, even if the hours worked are reduced below the minimum number of hours required to be eligible for insurance coverage.

The salaries of my employees have decreased due to reduced work hours. Will their benefits be impacted?

Salary-based benefits, either for life insurance or disability insurance (short and long term), will be paid based on the in-force salary, i.e., the salary used to determine the premium to be paid.

Temporary layoffs

What happens if I have to temporarily lay off employees as a result of the exceptional COVID-19 situation?

If your policy already provides for the possibility of maintaining all coverage with premium payments during temporary layoff periods (including disability insurance coverage), then the grace period provided for in the policy will apply.

If your policy does not provide for maintaining disability coverage, we will agree to temporarily continue disability coverage until July 15, 2020 with premium payment. You must request this. The other coverage must also be continued with premium payment, as provided for in the policy.

Note that when an insured becomes disabled during a temporary layoff period, the waiting period provided for in the contract begins on the date the employee is recalled to work.

We wish to remind you that it is your responsibility to update your employees’ files for temporarily laid off status (contractual or not). Failing to do so will result in longer claim processing times.

Can I suspend my group insurance coverage?

We strongly recommend that you carefully consider the consequences of suspending your group insurance coverage. Before doing so, we also suggest that you review the new measures announced by the federal government concerning the wage subsidy for businesses. These measures can be consulted at canada.ca.

Should you still wish to temporarily suspend your plan, you may submit the request to your account manager. We will agree to suspend your group insurance plan coverage until July 15, 2020.

Please note that the suspension will apply to all benefits* and could, under certain conditions, apply by job category, if you wish. No administrative fees will be applied upon reinstatement. In the event of a significant change in the composition of the group, SSQ Insurance reserves the right to revise its rates. Evidence of insurability will not be required again upon reinstatement for amounts of coverage already held by employees prior to the suspension.

* In order to comply with the provisions of Quebec’s Act Respecting Prescription Drug Insurance, health insurance coverage must be maintained for a period of 30 days, with payment of premiums, for Quebec employers.

As an employer, can I pay all the premiums, including for disability coverage, during the layoff? Will that affect the income tax status for the employees?

If you cannot collect premiums from the employees during the layoff, you can pay the full premium and then get it back when your employees return to work. This will not affect the fiscal status of the coverage.

How will billing be adjusted to take into account layoffs and changes to the coverage that is maintained?

The calculation method will be the same as normally used for the contract management. The most common methods are either to calculate starting on the date of the event or at the beginning of the next billing period.

What happens if a disabled employee was set to return to work fulltime and then had to be laid off? Do the disability benefits continue to be paid?

No, the employee must apply for benefits under a government program (either the federal emergency fund or employment insurance).

What happens if an employee had not completed the eligibility period before being laid off?

The employee will be eligible for the insurance plan on the first day he or she is rehired or returns to work.

Healthcare claims

Virtual paramedical care, an option during the confinement period

In order to continue to meet the needs of their clients who still require their services, some health professionals offer their services virtually. We considered the guidelines in each province for each type of provider. Please note that we will accept receipts for virtual meetings with several professionals:

  • Psychologist
  • Psychotherapist
  • Social worker
  • Speech therapist
  • Dietician
  • Physiotherapist*
  • Dentist*
  • Occupational therapist*

* Certain services only

Prior authorizations extended

All prior authorizations for prescription medication being taken by insureds and recorded as active on their file on March 1, 2020* have been extended to September 1, 2020, with the exception of those whose expiry date was already after that date.

We feel this measure contributes to social distancing efforts by reducing the number of non-urgent medical visits while maintaining access to treatment for insured persons. This measure also eases pressure on the healthcare system so that the necessary resources are available to fight the pandemic, for everyone’s benefit.

Take note that if we receive authorization or authorization extension requests, our regular procedures remain in place.

* Certain specific exceptions apply (e.g., treatments with a fixed duration).

Will the deadline on the expiry of HCSA credits be extended to accommodate claims for medical services that have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic?

Under the Income Tax Act, credits remain valid for a maximum of 24 months. Credits carried over from the past year (12-month duration) can be used for services rendered in the current year. SSQ Insurance will not extend the deadline for expiry of the credits.

Disability claims

Will SSQ Insurance accept disability claims for conditions other than COVID-19 that aren’t signed by employee and by employer as some are working from home and don't have a printer?

For forms that are fillable on the computer, employees and employers can print their names and date the forms so SSQ Insurance can proceed with the review of disability claims. The print of their name will serve as a signature during this crisis period. If the form isn't fillable on the computer, employees and employers should print it and take a picture or scan it.

Telemedicine

The moratorium on integrating telemedicine into your group insurance contract has been lifted

We are now able to instate Dialogue in an integrated mode for new telemedicine requests for SSQ Insurance group plan contractholders who don’t already have it.

* This information cancels and replaces what was previously communicated.

Dialogue and Chloé, virtual assistant

To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Dialogue platform is offering all Canadians free use of a virtual assistant called Chloé to give them access to the latest public health information and resources.

Access service

SSQ Insurance is looking out for your client's mental health

We are offering free access to a telephone counselling service to its entire clientele across Canada to help them cope through this difficult period.