Your “Savvy Retiree” Newsletter for December 2021

Summary of 2021

Bad news about the COVID-19 pandemic still weighed heavily in the early part of the year. However, as the weeks went by, we learned that a vaccine would shortly be available for everyone, beginning with seniors. Many of us have now received two doses of the vaccine and are able to enjoy a bit more freedom. But it is still important to be careful. As we have seen in recent days, the pandemic is not yet under control.


Sustainability of the Group Insurance Plan for Retirees

We have continued to work with representatives from the Secrétariat du Conseil du trésor (SCT), but so far nothing has been settled. Your representatives met on December 10 last to discuss an option that would ensure the plan’s sustainability. We encourage all plan participants to read the CCR’s newsletters in 2022. We may need to consult you quickly.

The plan has more than 23,000 participants, but only 5,000 subscribe to the newsletter. If you know someone who is a group insurance plan participant but is not on the ACR’s mailing list, please ask them to visit the website and register, because it is important for us to be able to reach as many people as possible. The link to the website is here: Registration on the list of ACR subscribers


Select Committee with the Insurer

This year, several remote meetings were held at which the Secrétariat du Conseil du trésor (SCT) representatives, retiree and active participant representatives and the insurer discussed a variety of subjects relating to the coverage provided by the group insurance plan.

  • The 2013 edition of the brochure was finally updated. You can read it in your Customer Centre/SSQ.
  • The advantage of a group insurance plan is the opportunity to negotiate the changes proposed by the insurer at each renewal, and the opportunity to consult a support resource if you have questions regarding a claim that has been refused by the insurer. Disputed issues will be brought to the attention of the select committee where appropriate, so that they can examine the facts and decide on the next steps.
  • The Québec government has announced that public prescription drug insurance plan participants who use a biologic drug will be transferred to a biosimilar drug from April 13, 2022 onwards. For group insurance plans, this means instituting a “generic substitution” for a reference biologic product. SSQ has decided to make this change, but will give large groups the option not to make this change for their plans. The retired management personnel representatives have decided to accept the change, which will come into force on May 1, 2022. The plan participants concerned will receive information directly from SSQ Insurance. The change will help to reduce insurance costs.


COVID-19 - Travel Insurance

An open letter published in La Presse+ on June 18, 2021, asked the Québec government to order the Compensation Fund for Customers of Travel Agents (the Fund) to speed up reimbursements for travellers who did not receive the services for which they had paid. We have not yet received a positive response from the Fund. It is important for these reimbursements to be made, because the insurer has agreed to reimburse all customers who purchased a trip from a travel agency in Québec before March 13, 2020 (or before March 10, 2020 in the case of a cruise) that was subsequently cancelled because of COVID-19.

SSQ Insurance will be responsible for recovering the money directly from the Fund. Obviously, if the Fund does not reimburse the SSQ, all Expanded Plan participants will be penalized. Line St-Cyr, the ACR’s Coordinator, has been very busy dealing with non-reimbursement of trips cancelled because of COVID-19.


New Rates in Force on January 1, 2022

On August 20 last, SSQ Insurance sent the renewal conditions for each group’s insurance contracts to the Secrétariat du Conseil du trésor (SCT) and to the representatives of retired and active participants.

A negotiation meeting was held on October 1 to agree on the renewal of the insurance contract for retired management personnel from the Québec government’s public and parapublic sectors.

In light of the analysis of the plan’s health carried out by the retirees’ consultant actuary and the Secrétariat du Conseil du trésor (SCT) actuary, as well as major drug claims and travel-related claims before and during the pandemic, and based on the recommendations of Advisory Committee for Retirees (ACR) members, the accident and health insurance rates payable in 2022 will differ as follows from those payable in 2021.

                Plans                              Premium Holiday                  Variation (
  • Under 65 (1)
                - 5 %                           +14 %       
  • 65 and over
               none                        - 5 %
  • Under 65
               - 5 %    

                   + 5 %    

  • 65 and over

                   - 7,5 %


 (1)  The rate increase is due mainly to the increase in the number of   plan participants who received benefits of more than $25,000 for   medication, compared to last year. The number of beneficiaries   increased from 16 to 24, and the benefits paid increased from   $798,705 to $1,419,667.



The premium surcharge for participants aged 65 or over who choose to retain SSQ’s insurance for prescription drugs on the RAMQ list is increased by 5%.

The rates payable for retired plan members’ life insurance and additional life insurance for members’ spouses will remain unchanged, as will the rates payable for life insurance coverage for spouses and dependent children of retired members.

For details of the rates applicable to your particular situation, please see the insurer’s brochure. Link to Your Plan at a Glance, January 1, 2022

Drug pooling fees have been reduced from 2.95% to 2.4% of premiums and the annual limit has been pushed up to $500,000. This will reduce the increase that SSQ Insurance was requesting to maintain the limit at $250,000, as a result of the growing number of claims over $250,000 in its portfolio. We remind you that pooling was introduced to protect us against the costs of “expensive drugs” that are more present on the market. The risk is now shared between members and the insurer. The cost is included in the premium, which partly explains why premiums have increased for some groups and decreased slightly for other groups.


Your 65th birthday

When you turn 65, you are automatically enrolled in the public prescription drug insurance plan; no action is required on your part. The SSQ considers this option to be the default.

However, if you are also eligible for a private insurance plan, you will have to make a choice.   Your premium will be adjusted, depending on whether you decide to remain in the basic plan or transfer to the expanded plan for additional coverage. Either way, prescription drugs will be covered by the RAMQ. We remind you that SSQ Insurance has agreed that Basic Plan participants may choose to transfer to the Expanded Plan on their 65th birthday.

When you turn 65, you may also choose to keep your life insurance only and terminate your other coverage. The decision to give up the private plan is irrevocable; you cannot change your mind later.

If you want to keep SSQ’s prescription drug insurance, you must opt out of the public plan and inform the SSQ of your wishes. This is referred to as the surcharge.

For additional details, please consult the RAMQ website: Turning 65


Best Wishes for 2022!

During the holiday season, there is nothing more enjoyable than to celebrate with those we love in a safe environment. We wish you a Happy Holiday Season, a Happy New Year 2022 and above all, good health.


Daniel Dubé, ACR’s Retiree Spokesperson