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Taking care of your health in retirement

Choosing to enrol in extended health care and dental coverage when you retire might be just what the doctor ordered.

There are many things to consider before you retire. Whatever you decide, be sure to think about enrolling in the voluntary health and dental coverage your pension plan provides. 

As a member of BC’s Teachers’ Pension Plan, you are eligible to enrol in the plan’s voluntary extended health care and dental coverage. Choosing the optional extended health care coverage can put your mind at ease that some of your medical expenses not covered by the Medical Services Plan and some dental expenses will be reimbursed. That is why the optional coverage provided by the plan can be so valuable in your retirement years. 

If you choose to enrol, you will gain access to competitive group rates, which may mean your monthly premiums will be lower than those you would pay if you purchased benefits on your own. Your coverage also extends to your spouse and eligible dependants.

Keep in mind, as a retired member, your coverage might be more limited than under the health plans your employer provides (e.g., the lifetime maximum for benefits may be lower). Remember, extended health care and dental coverage offered by the plan is not guaranteed; therefore, your coverage, premiums and deductibles could change at any time. 

What’s covered?

Your extended health care coverage may provide reimbursement for the following:

  • Prescription drugs
  • Vision care
  • Hearing aids 
  • Medical aids and supplies

It may also partially cover the costs of some professional health care services, such as physiotherapy and massage therapy.

A yearly deductible and maximum lifetime amounts apply to extended health care coverage.

For dental coverage, you can choose the best option to suit your needs. Both the Essential and Enhanced dental plans reimburse some costs of preventative and restorative dental services including dental cleanings, exams and x-rays. However, the Enhanced dental plan offers additional coverage for major restorative dental services, such as bridges and crowns. Keep in mind, premiums, overall maximums and eligible services vary.

You can view more information about your coverage offered through Green Shield Canada on the plan website under Your pension. 

Premium payment

Paying your monthly premiums is simple and straightforward. The premiums for your extended health care and dental coverage will be deducted directly from your monthly pension payment. If your pension payment doesn’t cover the cost, arrangements can be made to pay Green Shield Canada directly from your bank account via pre-authorized debit. 

Signing up for coverage

Once you sign up for coverage, you must remain enrolled for at least 12 months. Your coverage begins on the first of the month after your pension comes into effect. You may cancel your coverage after 12 months. 

If you choose to enrol in the Essential dental plan, you must be covered under the Essential plan for at least 24 months before upgrading to the Enhanced dental plan. Once enrolled in the Enhanced dental plan, downgrading to the Essential plan is not allowed. 

Enrolling late, cancelling and re-enrolling

If you decide not to enrol when you retire, be aware you will only be able to enrol through the Teachers’ Pension Plan’s coverage if you’ve had similar continuous coverage since your retirement date in an extended health care and/or dental plan, elsewhere. And, if you decide to cancel, you’ll only be able to re-enrol if you’ve had continuous, similar extended health care and/or dental coverage since you cancelled. 


If you have questions about your eligibility, you can find more information on this website. For specific questions about coverage, please contact Green Shield Canada at 1-888-711-1119 or visit