What are the minimum requirements to become a member?
Construction contractors require a minimum of three employees to be enrolled on the Hour Bank plan to become a Merit member. The plan is only available for open shop (non-union) construction contractors and their employees.
How does the Hour Bank work?
The hours you work each month are reported by your employer to the plan administrator, Mercon Benefits Services. Those hours are then deposited into your personal hour bank identified by your SIN. To pay for your benefits, 150 hours are deducted from your hour bank each month. Therefore, if you work more than 150 hours in a month, the excess will stay in your hour bank and accumulate. The more hours you work, the more your hour bank grows, to a cap of 900 hours (increasing to 1,200 hours January 1, 2015). These banked hours can then be used to maintain coverage during months when you do not work as much, go to school, take a vacation, or are laid off.
When will I be eligible for benefits?
You will need to have 300 hours in your hour bank before you are “in benefit”. For most people, that means your coverage will start about three months after you start contributing to the hour bank. Once you are in benefit, you will receive a package of information from Mercon Benefit Services advising you of the date benefits take effect, along with your benefit booklet. A prescription drug card will follow a few days later.
What happens if I run out of hours in my hour bank?
You need to maintain a minimum of 150 hours in your hour bank to remain in benefit. If you fall below that, you will receive a letter from Mercon Benefit Service letting you know when your benefits will stop. You can choose to self-pay your premiums for up to six months to retain benefit coverage. You can access your hour bank balance on the internet with a user name and password. Please contact Mercon Benefit Services at (877) 263-7266 or [email protected] for further information.
Can I take my hours with me when I change jobs?
If you go to work for another Merit employer, your benefits follow you. You will not have to work the 300 hour qualifying period again, unless you fall out of benefit and remain out of benefit for a period of 8 months. Because hours are reported based on SIN, it is a smooth transition from one Merit employer to another.
How do I submit a Health and Dental benefit claim?
All Health and Dental benefit claims are submitted directly to Great-West Life for processing. Forms are available at Mercon Benefit Services website for downloading Click here or call (877) 263-7266. The address for Great-West Life claims to be submitted is:
Winnipeg Benefit Payments Box 3050, Winnipeg, MB, R3C 0E6 greatwestlife.com
Merit, Mercon and Great-West Life?
Often, employees are uncertain of the distinction between Merit Contractors Association, Mercon Benefit Services and the Great-West Life Assurance Company. This may lead to confusion about which company to contact when questions arise in connection to your benefit plan.
Merit represents the interests of its member organizations to government and regulatory agencies. It offers training programs, scholarships and advocacy services. Benefit plan administration is not among Merit’s core services but it is the marketing and sales channel.
Great-West Life insures some of your benefits under the Merit plan and adjudicates claims for most benefits. The majority of claims are for Health and Dental Benefits. Claim forms for Health and Dental Benefits should be submitted directly to Great-West Life and claim cheques are sent directly to you from Great-West Life. Although Great-West Life adjudicates your Health and Dental claims, any issues pertaining to those claims must be addressed with Mercon. In summary, Mercon provides you with one-stop service for all your benefit plan needs. To contact Mercon, call (877) 263-7266 or [email protected]