10 ways to save on Insurance costs:

Use your EAP for financial advice – it is there to provide confidential assistance.

Most employees think of the Employee and Family Assistance Program (EAP or EFAP) as a stress/family counselling service. There providers also offer other services such as assistance with financial planning, help locating childcare and eldercare and wellness programming. Look in your plan booklet, or insurance company's website for more information.

Use a "preferred provider."

Most insurers participate in a discount network with certain vision care and other providers. Look in your plan booklet, on your plan website or call the customer care centre for information about them.

Name a beneficiary for your life insurance

Always remember to nominate a beneficiary, and ensure your information is kept up to date. If you die without naming a beneficiary, your life insurance policy will paid to your estate and be subject to tax. Pay outs to beneficiaries are not taxable.

Buy 3 months' supply at once.

Most insurance policies allow you to purchase 3 months' supply of prescription drugs you take for an ongoing condition. Buying more at once can save you trips to the pharmacy and reduce the number of times you are charged dispensing fees. (Dispensing fees are not usually listed on pharmacy receipts, but most if not all pharmacies charge them.)

Co-ordinate benefits or "opt-out".

If you are married or in a common-law relationship, you can choose to either co-ordinate coverage with your spouse, or opt out of coverage. To co-ordinate coverage, both spouses must have employee coverage under their own plan and be dependents under their spouse's plan. This allows you to have up to 100% reimbursement for your medical and dental expenses.

Alternatively, most group plans allow you to "opt out" of your employer's plan if you can prove that you have coverage under your spouse's plan. This strategy works best when one plan provides comprehensive coverage (at or close to 100% coinsurance for most benefits). Note though, that there is no cost advantage to opting out of a group plan if your employer pays the entire cost.

Use medical expenses as tax deductions.

Premiums paid via payroll deductions qualify. I have used the last pay stub of the year for my deduction and just highlighted the year-to-date amount under employee- paid portions of the health and dental plan.

Opt your children out of their student plans (or drop them from yours).

University of Calgary, SAIT and MRU all have student health and dental plans. Students pay premiums into these plans through their tuition, which in some cases are paid through student loans. If your children are covered as a dependents under your plan (they qualify if full-time students up to age 25), they can "opt out" of their student plan and be refunded the premium. There are deadlines for opting out, so ask your child to check with their student union for details.

Alternately, you could remove them as dependents under your coverage or insure them under both and coordinate coverage.

Choose non-taxable benefits first in a flex plan.

Some employers offer flexible benefits plans where employees are given a set amount of "credits" each year to "buy" their benefits. To get the most of your money, allocate your credits to medical, dental and health care spending account plans because they are non-taxable benefits. If you put credits as extra income on each paycheque, you will be taxed on this amount.

Ask your dentist if he/she charges above the fee guide.

Most dental plans cap payments based on a provincial fee guide. Knowing how close your dentist charges in relation to the fee guide will help avoid sticker shock at the end of your appointment. Dentists, chiropractors, massage therapists are private business owners who need to compete for your business. It is not rude or inappropriate to ask how much you are being charged for your visit ahead of time.

Read your plan booklets and ask questions.

Don't assume something isn't covered because it hadn't been covered under a previous plan. All benefits plans offer different levels of coverage. The only way to know if something is covered is to ask. If you find that something you've been paying out-of-pocket for is covered, you may still have time to submit a claim for it. Your booklet will tell you how much time you have.


Useful information regarding insurance from a CBC Marketplace episode called "You're Not Covered" which aired in the 2013-14 season.


Requesting an extension for Driver's License Terms:

The process to apply for a longer term drivers license is as follows:

  • Obtain medical form from any registry office.
  • This needs to be completed by your doctor.
  • It is also helpful if your doctor provides a letter outlining your condition: what medications you are on, how control has been over what length of time, any complications or concerns.
  • This letter must request and recommend that you be issued with a "longerterm drivers license".
  • The letter must include you name, date of birth, and drivers license number.
  • The letter and the completed medical form are to be faxed to:

    Attn: Reviewing Office
    Alberta Driver Fitness and Monitoring

The applicant will be sent a notice by mail in 2-3 months as to the outcome of the review.

The phone number for Alberta Driver Fitness and Monitoring is 780.427.8230.


Meeting Schedule

View upcoming meeting schedule for 2017...

Applying for a Disability Tax Credit

People on Insulin Pumps or using multiple daily injections can apply to Revenue Canada for a Tax credit. The criteria for the application and the forms required can be found here...

The primary criteria is: Life sustaining therapy, and a doctor's signature. The key aspect of this is spending at least 14 hours per week managing this therapy. The website information is quite easy to understand.