Long-Term Disability Plan Change

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Currently, the Long-Term Disability (LTD) plan provided by the NBTF Group Insurance Trustees contains a stipulation where any LTD benefits for a Mental/Nervous condition are limited to 24 months.

Last year, as a result of a legal challenge, Manulife Financial notified the Group Insurance Trustees that the 24-month restriction must be removed from the plan, effective June 1, 2021.  This means that if you become disabled from a Mental/Nervous condition on or after June 1, 2021, your claim could continue to age 65, subject to policy provisions. The Group Insurance Trustees subsequently examined numerous alternatives available to provide the best coverage for our members as well as ensure the future financial viability of the LTD plan.

After careful consideration, the Group Insurance Trustees decided on a course of action which was presented to the NBTF Board of Directors during the February meeting.  After serious discussions, your Board of Directors passed a motion to accept the course of action recommended by the Group Insurance Trustees. The following information summarizes the upcoming changes to the LTD plan, followed by a series of questions and answers.

  1. Mandatory participation – Effective June 1, 2021, enrolment in the LTD plan will be mandatory for all new contract teachers.
  2. Members currently enrolled in the LTD plan – Effective immediately, if you are enrolled in the LTD plan, you will not be able to opt out.
  3. 60-day open enrolment – If you are not currently enrolled in the LTD plan, you will be able to enroll in the plan without providing medical evidence during the months of March and April.  This will allow members who previously opted out of the LTD plan with a pre-existing medical condition the opportunity to re-enroll. Premium deductions will commence in May and your coverage will commence June 1, 2021.
  4. Open enrolment limitations – If you have a pre-existing medical condition for which you have had any medical intervention during the period of December 1, 2020, to June 1, 2021, you will not be able to make a claim for this medical condition for a period of 24 months.
  5. Premium structure – The current premium is 1.623% of the gross monthly salary. This rate will increase to 1.958%, effective on the May payroll.


Q1. How will new teachers be automatically enrolled in the plan?
– The current payroll system at the districts does not automatically pick up new teachers if they have supply-taught in the past. We suggest that, if you receive a contract, you should contact Johnsons to ensure you are enrolled as soon as possible so that premiums arrears are not charged many months later.

Q2. If I am currently enrolled in the plan, why can’t I opt out if I want?
– Currently, mental nervous claims are limited to 24 months, and if those claims are paid to age 65, this will put a significant financial strain on the LTD plan. The Group Insurance Trustees chose to implement this requirement to maintain the current financial position and try to ensure the future financial success of the plan.

Q3. I am currently receiving LTD benefits for a mental nervous condition. Does my claim terminate at the 24-month limitation period?
– Your claim will continue beyond 24 months subject to normal policy provisions.

Q4. I was receiving LTD benefits for a mental nervous condition and my claim terminated after 24 months prior to June 1, 2021. Can I re-apply for LTD benefits for the same condition again?
– You can re-apply for LTD benefits for a mental nervous condition again, subject to the normal elimination period (180 calendar days) and medical evidence as long as you still have an employment relationship with a school district. If approved, your benefits will not terminate after 24 months.  If you have retired or terminated your employment after the cessation of your original claim, you cannot re-apply.

Q5. How do I join the plan during the open enrolment period of March and April?
– Attached to this message is an enrolment form. Please complete it in full and email it to Johnson as soon as possible at

Q6. What if I have previously applied to join the plan and been denied by Manulife Financial?
– We encourage you to re-enroll in the plan during the open enrolment period.

Q7. What happens if I complete the open enrolment form in May?
– The open enrolment with no medical evidence period is for March and April only. If you send the form in May, you will then have to complete a full application and provide medical evidence. If you have a pre-existing medical condition, your re-enrolment application could be denied.

Q8. I am currently being treated for cancer. What does this mean if I want to re-enroll in the LTD plan?
– Should you enroll via the open enrolment and submit a claim related to your pre-existing condition, your claim will likely be declined. Due to the pre-existing condition clause, any medical condition that you may have sought medical consultation, received treatments or medication between December 1, 2020, to June 1, 2021, is not eligible for 24 months, until June 1, 2023. If you file a claim after June 1, 2023, for the pre-existing condition, it will be treated like a normal claim with no restrictions.

Q9. If I enroll in the plan during the open enrolment period, and I have a pre-existing medical condition, does this mean that I cannot apply for LTD benefits for any other medical condition between June 1, 2021, and June 1, 2023?
– If you experience a medical condition totally unrelated to your pre-existing medical condition, you are able to apply for LTD benefits any time after June 1, 2021, subject to satisfying the elimination period and medical adjudication by Manulife Financial.

Q10. As I approach retirement, when would it make financial sense for me to opt out of the plan?
– When a teacher reaches 30 years of teacher pension service, it would make sense to investigate opting out of the plan as you may be able to access more after-tax income from a regular pension in addition to CPP disability pension. You can opt out by contacting Johnson Inc. You must supply written confirmation of your total pensionable service, i.e. Vestcor Member Statement.

Q11. Can you please give me some salary and premium examples?

SalaryCurrent monthly premiumNew monthly premiumDifference per pay
$ 53,372$ 72.19$ 87.08$  7.45
$ 58,186$ 78.70$ 94.94$ 8.12
$ 89,530$ 121.09$ 146.08$ 12.50

For any other questions, please contact Johnson Inc by email at or by phone at 506-458-1981 (local) / 1-888-851-5500 (toll free).

Published on March 1st, 2021

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