The federal government and the public sector have reached an agreement to make changes to the Public Service Health Care Plan (PSHCP).

Effective April 1, 2015, retired members’ cost sharing will gradually be increased from 75:25 (employer/retired member) to 50:50 over a four-year period. Low income retired members will not be affected.

Also effective April 1, 2015, new retired members, with certain exemptions, will require a total of six years (up from two years) or more of pensionable service to be eligible as a retired member under the PSHCP.

“While we are opposed to these changes, it was made clear to us that if we didn’t come to an agreement, these changes would be legislated,” according to a statement from the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada.

The government also made some concessions.

Benefit enhancements will be introduced including reimbursement for laser eye surgery with a lifetime maximum benefit of $1,000 and an increase to the annual maximum benefit for psychological services from $1,000 to $2,000 as of Oct. 1, 2014.

And effective Jan. 1, 2015 the annual deductible will be eliminated. Plan members will no longer have to pay the first $60 for single coverage or $100 for family coverage per calendar year.

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