aerial photo of the campus in the fall season

Frequently Asked Questions About Benefits

Below are frequently asked questions the HR Department receives about employee benefits. If you cannot find the information you are looking for, please contact Renee Brown

If you qualify for benefits at VIU, the Benefits Coordinator will be in touch with you to get you signed up. We welcome inquiries if you're not sure if you qualify.

If you qualify for benefits, VIU pays 100% of the benefits premiums. If you take a leave from VIU, HR and/or Payroll will communicate with you if you need to pay for your benefits premiums.

When logged into the Manulife website, on the far right, click on "Contact Us" and then select "Send a note," which shows up on the left. Choose "General Inquiry," and then ask for a replacement card in the text box. Your card will arrive at VIU in your VIU mailbox in about two weeks.

If you need your card right away, you can print off a copy through the Manulife benefits secure site. Once logged in, click on "My Benefits Card" tab which shows up in the middle of the screen. You can click on the thumbnail of the card and print off a copy.

You may also save your Manulife card on your phone in your Wallet app (Apple and Android supported).

Your claim statement from Manulife will have notes at the bottom with an explanation for each component of your claim. For more details, it is best to phone Manulife directly at 1.800.575.2200. Be sure to have your Plan Contract Number (83719) and your Certificate Number available; your Certificate Number is your Employee Number without the digit.

To prevent disappointment on a declined claim, be sure you or the provider sends in a pre-authorization before you receive the dental/vision/equipment service.

It may be that your spouse had benefits through another employer and those benefits have ended. Your Coordination of Benefits needs to be updated. Check with your Benefits Coordinator.

Children are covered up until the age of 21 for extended health and dental as long as they are unmarried and are not on their own employee benefits plan.

After the age 21 for extended health and dental benefits, and until their 25th birthday, children will be considered Overage Dependents and covered under the above benefits plan as long as they are unmarried, are not covered on their own employee benefits plan, are mainly supported by you, and attending school full-time at an accredited institution.

If your dependent meets the criteria as an overage dependent, the following information will need to be sent to the Benefits Coordinator each year:

  • Name of child or children
  • Birthdate(s)
  • Educational Institution(s)
  • Expected graduation date(s)

Vaccinations (i.e. shingles, travel vaccinations and other preventative medicine) are not covered through VIU's benefits plan.

You will need to sign paperwork with 'wet ink' to change your beneficiary for life insurance. To do so, please set up a meeting with your Benefits Coordinator.

Your extended health benefits covers emergency travel assistance for you and any spouse and/or dependents who are covered on your extended health benefits. On the back of your card is the number to call for emergency travel assistance in case you should nee it.

Details of coverage can be found in your benefits booklet.

Keep in mind that you are covered for a specific medical problem or chronic condition that was diagnosed but medically stable prior to departure.

You also might want to check if there is a travel advisory for the area you are traveling to. If you are traveling somewhere questionable, it might be best to email or call Manulife to make sure your coverage will be okay.

BC's Fair PharmaCare plan helps BC residents with the cost of eligible prescription drugs, certain medical supplies, and pharmacy services. Each employee covered on VIU's extended health plan needs to register for Fair PharmaCare as you may qualify for a rebate on your medication through this plan. Fair PharmaCare needs to be applied to the prescription before the claim gets sent to Manulife (this happens automatically at the pharmacy when you show your Manulife card).

If you do not provide Manulife with your Fair PharmaCare number, claims may be declined by Manulife. To register, visit Register for Fair PharmaCare.

Once you have your Fair PharmaCare number, email it to the Benefits Coordinator and it will be sent to Manulife. If you do not provide Manulife with your Fair PharmaCare number, claims may be declined by Manulife.

Patients who are looking for information for a family doctor should contact HealthLink BC by dialing 8-1-1. HealthLink BC will work with you to determine if there is a physician attachment service in your community or provide information on the Physician Directory. They will also provide information on Walk In Clinics.

Provincial health insurance in BC is called the Medical Services Plan (MSP). MSP covers the cost of medically-necessary insured doctor services. In order to be eligible for extended health care benefits with VIU you must have provincial coverage or replacement coverage. 

If you are moving to BC from out of province, you will need to obtain a Personal Health Number (PHN). MSP becomes effective three months following your move to BC. During this time you will still be covered for basic medical by your previous provincial health care plan and can still access VIU’s benefits. Please visit Health Insurance BC (HIBC) for more information on how to enrol in the Medical Services Plan (MSP).

If you are moving to BC from out of country you may need to purchase private health care insurance while the 3-month waiting period is in progress, prior to obtaining a BC Personal Health Number. Please visit the Health Insurance BC (HIBC) website for more information on how to enrol in the Medical Services Plan (MSP).

If you need more information on private insurance options through our benefits provider (Manulife), please contact the Employee Benefits Coordinator; Renee Brown (