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December 8, 2020

Who We Are: ARTA’s Membership Communities

Did you know that ARTA membership is tailored to three different sectors? The education sector comprises retired educators and makes up over seventy per cent of the ARTA membership. Education sector members include regular education sector regular (retired teachers) and affiliate members (other school board and education sector employees). The membership from the other two sectors, the public sector and private sector, is approximately thirty per cent of the total ARTA membership; these members all hold affiliate memberships. The public–private sector membership was added in 2008, upon advice from the Health Benefits Committee, to include like-minded professionals (a complete list of participating organizations is available on the ARTA website). Affiliate memberships are continually growing; in fact, since 2013, the public–private sector has seen a 239% increase in membership. Adding more eligible participants to the plan means there are more people to spread out risk, which benefits everyone who is covered by the plan.

A retiree who is vested to receive, or be in receipt of, any Alberta government-sponsored pension plan is eligible to join ARTA’s public sector as an affiliate member. The second-largest membership group, next to educators, are ARTA members who are receiving pension benefits from the Local Authorities Pension Plan while they are still working.

The private sector includes members from approved participating organizations. These organizations are determined by an actuarial analysis approval process and are typically white-collar, educated professionals who have the same insurance risk as retired educators. When a participating organization is identified as meeting the necessary criteria, it is submitted to the Health Benefits Committee for vetting and a recommendation for approval by the ARTA Board of Directors. Once the group is approved, ARTA and the organization work together to define the eligibility requirements that members or employees must meet to become ARTA members and take part in the Retiree Benefits Plan.

ARTA recognizes that there are some differences between the risk levels for regular education sector members and public–private sector members. For example, public–private sector members who retire prior to age 65 often do not have other retiree benefits, so they join ARTA’s plan, which is the first payor for prescription drug benefits up to age 65 in Alberta (thereafter benefits are provided by the Alberta Coverage for Seniors program). This disparity is accounted for by rating the health and dental rates separately for each sector so that one group does not subsidize the other group’s claims for these benefits.

ARTA is continually looking ahead and developing ideas to maintain the long-term sustainability of the plan. ARTA members in all three sectors are part of a community of like-minded individuals who are in pursuit of an active and engaged lifestyle. ARTA strives to serve its members well at all times and to provide the best Retiree Benefits Plan possible.