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Health and dental
benefit considerations

Retirement is an exciting time—it’s something you’ve worked hard for your entire life. This page is intended to help you ask the right questions when looking for retiree health and dental coverage, so you can enjoy the next phase of your life fully covered and worry-free.

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Flexibility

With an individual health plan, you’re able to change your coverage down the road. Since your health needs—especially prescription drugs—may change as you age, it’s important to know how to change your level of coverage when searching for the right benefit plan for you. For example, at Alberta Blue Cross®, we have plans that allow you to upgrade your coverage levels for drugs, dental and extended health at any time.

If you’re considering moving to another province after retirement, you’ll want a benefits plan that allows you to do that. Our retiree plan provides national coverage if you maintain a valid Canadian provincial or territorial health care card, allowing you remain on the same plan no matter which province in Canada you choose to live.

If you’re transitioning from an employer health plan, check to see if your employer has partnered with a benefits provider for a discount on a retiree plan.

View our health and dental benefit plans
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Cost

Plan rates vary between benefits providers. When looking for a retirement plan, ask the provider how often their rates go up and if they increase at certain age increments. At Alberta Blue Cross®, rates are locked in for 12 months.

If you’re transitioning from an employer health plan, check to see if your employer has partnered with a benefits provider for a discount on a retiree plan.

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Wellness

Some individual health benefits plan include wellness features, so be sure to look for these when you’re looking for a retirement benefits plan. Wellness benefits can include things like wellness programs and Individual Assistance Programs (IAPs), which provide personal, nutritional and financial counselling. For example, all Alberta Blue Cross® individual benefits plans include IAPs, as well as access to Balance®, our online wellness program, to help you on your wellness journey.

Find out how to prepare your wellbeing for retirement
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Drug benefits

When considering health benefits, be sure to ask if the prescriptions you’re using are covered. Prescription drugs can be costly, so it’s important to understand how much coverage you need.

You’ll also want to determine the waiting period for prescription drugs, of which three months is the industry standard. There is no waiting periods for prescription drugs on individual plans at Alberta Blue Cross®, except for Blue Assured®—and the waiting period can be waived if you’re coming off a group benefits plan in 30 days.

Alberta Blue Cross® offers a program called Blue Care where dedicated pharmacists are available to help identify ways to save money on high-cost prescription drugs.

Learn what to consider for drug benefits
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Dental benefits

When it comes to dental coverage, waiting periods vary based on the benefits provider and plan. There is no waiting periods for any of our individual plans if you’re coming off an Alberta Blue Cross® group benefits plan through your employer within 30 to 60 days. Otherwise, the standard waiting period is three months for basic dental, 12 months for extensive dental and 24 months for crowns, bridges, implants, dentures and orthodontics.

Learn what to consider for dental benefits
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Travel insurance

How often and for how long do you plan on travelling when you retire? If you plan to travel a lot during retirement or are a snowbird who likes to spend the winter months in a warmer climate, considering your travel needs will help you determine which plan is best for you. Paying for separate travel insurance when you need it can be costly. You’ll save money in the long run if it’s included in your benefits plan.

Find out what to consider for travel insurance
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Application process

When it comes to applying for a benefits plan after retirement, timing is everything.

Before leaving your current benefits plan, it’s best to explore your options. If you'll be coming off an employer health plan, you must apply within 30 to 60 days of that plan ending.

You're eligible to apply for our retiree plan if you

  • are between the ages of 50 and 75 years;
  • have a Canadian provincial or territorial health insurance plan;
  • are coming off an employer-sponsored benefit plan; and
  • apply within 60 days of termination from your group benefit plan, whether due to retirement or reaching the age of termination for your group benefits plan.

There are no age restrictions for a spouse or any dependents provided the applicant is eligible for the plan.

If you’re coming off an employer sponsored Alberta Blue Cross® group benefits plan, you’re still eligible for the retiree plan if you retire in another province. If you’re leaving a non-Alberta Blue Cross® group benefits plan, you must retire within Alberta to be eligible for the plan.

You won’t be eligible for the retiree plan if you miss the 60-day window to apply, but there may still be other plan options available for you.

When looking for a benefits plan, consider the application process. While you can call a benefits provider to learn more and apply, you can also usually find answers to your questions and start the application process on their website. For example, Alberta Blue Cross® offers an easy and seamless experience, either entirely online or with a benefits specialist over the phone.

Start your health and dental benefit plan quote

Learn more about Alberta Blue Cross® health and dental plans

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Go to the next page: Drug benefits considerations

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