Additional Extended Health Benefit to Support Nurses’ Mental Health and Wellness on the Way

December 04, 2023
Nurses covered by the NBA collective agreement will soon have access to up to $5,000 to cover cost of a registered psychologist or a registered clinical counsellor

A new extended health benefit is being established to address the need for enhanced mental health support for BCNU members covered by the Nurses’ Bargaining Association (NBA) provincial collective agreement. The purpose of this benefit is to meet a key objective of the Nurse Support Fund; a one-time, $60-million-dollar fund BCNU successfully negotiated with the Ministry of Health intended to support the mental health and wellness of nurses.

The NBA Supplemental Mental Health Benefit (SMHB) is being developed in partnership with the Health Benefits Trust and Pacific Blue Cross. It will reimburse the cost of a registered psychologist or a registered clinical counsellor for members who have used up the annual $900 benefit under their existing plans, up to a maximum lifetime amount of an additional $5,000. The SMHB will be effective retroactively as of March 31, 2023, and will remain available until the funding is depleted.

Members are advised to keep all eligible receipts for registered psychologist or clinical counselling services received since March 31, 2023 that have not already been reimbursed. 

All regular full-time, part-time and casual employees enrolled in Policy #50000 through Pacific Blue Cross will be eligible for the new fund. Casual employees not currently enrolled in the policy are still eligible but must be enrolled into the SMHB with Pacific Blue Cross. The SMHB will only cover NBA members and does not extend to dependents, spouses or other family members at this time.

With the establishment of this fund, BCNU continues to deliver on its mission to protect and advance the health, safety, social and economic well-being of our members by providing mental health supports for nurses who have exhausted their coverage under existing benefits. The fund will also provide hardship support for members who have exhausted employment insurance, long-term disability coverage and other pre-established programs, as well as nursing students experiencing financial difficulties. Other supports may be established to benefit nurses, at the discretion of the NBA.

Frequently asked questions, eligibility criteria and details on how to access the SMHB will be available in early 2024, along with additional information on the hardship portion of the Nurse Support Fund.

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