ARTA Health Benefit Plans Dec 2021
December 10, 2021

Changes to the ARTA Retiree Benefit Plans Effective November 1, 2021

Each year, the ARTA Health Benefits Committee reviews potential changes to the ARTA Benefit Plans. These potential changes often arise when covered members submit change requests to the Health Benefits Committee for consideration. Each request is reviewed to determine if our group benefit plans are allowed to cover the service or device and to ensure that a significant number of members would benefit.

The following changes became effective November 1, 2021, for all members covered by the ARTA Extended Health Care plans:

  1. The combined annual maximums for paramedical practitioners have increased by $200: to $1,200 per person per year for Health Wise and Total Health plans, and to $1,400 per person per year for Health Wise Plus and Ultimate Health plans.
  2. The triennial hearing aids maximums have been increased by $400: to $1,300 for the Health Wise and Total Health plans, and to $1,500 for the Health Wise Plus and Ultimate Health plans.
  3. A Member Assistance Program, provided by Inkblot (see page 6), for members and their families has been introduced.
    • On-demand counselling is accessible via telephone, online video, or in-person. Members can select their own counsellor.
  4. The purchase or rental of cryo-cooling units is now covered at 80% to a five-year maximum of $250.
    • Cryotherapy (or cold therapy) is the use of low temperatures to treat a variety of tissue lesions and to relieve muscle pain, sprains, and swelling after soft tissue damage or surgery.
  5. CPAP battery packs have been added to the plans under the current CPAP benefit.
    • CPAP machines are used to help people with obstructive sleep apnea to breathe more easily during sleep. Portable, battery-powered CPAP machines are used for travelling or camping.
  6. Coverage for continuous glucose monitors and sensors has been reallocated from the insulin pump benefit to the annual diabetes supplies maximum.
    • This change provides greater benefits to members claiming these devices.
  7. CPAP machine sanitizers and cleaners are no longer covered.
    • Sanitizers can damage the CPAP machine, voiding CPAP machine warranties and potentially causing higher CPAP machine expenses in the future.
  8. Usual and customary charges are updated to reflect marketplace charges for certain medical aids, devices, and services claims.
    • These fees ensure that most claims will be covered, but claims that are significantly higher than marketplace standards do not introduce excess costs into the plan.
  9. Psychotherapists are now considered eligible paramedical practitioners.
    • A psychotherapist is a physician or psychologist with special training in psychotherapy. Psychotherapy is offered
      mostly through talk therapy.

The following changes became effective November 1, 2021, for all members covered by the ARTA Dental Care plan:

  1. The two $800 annual Major Services plan maximums under Dental Care Option A have been combined into one $1,600 annual maximum.
  2. The exclusion in the Dental Care plan defaulting to the cost of amalgam fillings for posterior teeth has been removed.
    • The previous policy wording only allowed up to the cost of amalgam fillings for posterior teeth, even though these fillings are not usually offered by dentists; composite resin (white fillings) are now most common.

Considering the past year’s claims experience for each plan and these plan design changes, the calculated renewal rates for each plan, by sector, are:

  • Education Sector: Extended Health Care rates decrease by 7.4% (a decrease of 2.8% for plans which do not include Emergency Travel coverage) and Dental Care rates increase by 6.9%.
  • Public/Private Sector: Extended Health Care rates decrease by 7.0% (a decrease of 3.3% for plans that do not include Emergency Travel). Dental Care rates do not change.
  • Supplementary Travel rates (to extend a single trip beyond the base 92-day trip duration maximum) decrease by 18%.

In addition to these changes to the current plans, new plans are being introduced:

  1. ARTA’s Comprehensive Coverage plans provide coverage to members who retire before age 65 or transition to a new career. Once a covered member reaches age 65, they can transition to one of the traditional ARTA plans. These new plans went into effect November 1, 2021.
  2. The ARTARx plan allows members residing in Alberta to have their medications dispensed by ARTARx, providing higher coverage, lower rates, and home delivery. This plan will be available, effective January 1, 2022.

Detailed information on these coverage changes is included in the plan text, which is available online at

ARTA will continue to review potential plan enhancements while keeping plans affordable for our covered members. Please continue to submit plan change suggestions for the Health Benefits Committee’s consideration. Suggestions may be mailed to the ARTA office or emailed to