The Importance of Employee Benefit Plans

A well structured employee benefit plan can help attract and retain productive employees that contribute to the bottom line of your business. Being aware of the tremendous impacts we all know is important. The absence of a valued employee due to health and stress related issues is costly, time-consuming and can be challenging to deal with from an HR perspective. In 2011, a Statistics Canada study found that businesses lost 105 million workdays due to employee illness and personal reasons, an average of about 9.3 workdays lost per employee.

According to a 2012 Conference Board of Canada study, these absences cost the economy an astounding $16.6 billion. When the costs associated with those absences are double and sometimes triple the cost of drug claims, we know we have a bigger problem than first imagined. Employees suffering long-term illnesses with no definitive diagnosis is a major and costly problem in the Canadian work place. Like most things in life, preventive maintenance can help avoid major problems. A well structured employee benefit and wellness program can help employees take care of themselves, remain healthy and stay productive.

It’s essential employers understand that investing in each employee’s health and well-being is not only a meaningful gesture, it’s good for business. This is why many leading employers now offer employee benefits that provide in-depth expert medical reviews, customized health coaching, and much more. Employee benefits plans can ensure your employees are getting the right diagnosis and treatment plan in the early stages. This will maximize productivity and improve morale in your company.

When compared to employees obtaining coverage on an individual basis, employee benefit plans are far more cost-effective. Through a group plan your employees will obtain enhanced dental, extended medical, prescription drug and access to disability coverage with no medical testing and at a discounted rate. The leverage of buying your coverage as group has its advantages. It is standard practice that private sector employers share the cost of the monthly premiums with their employees

There are a variety of options when it comes to constructing a plan that works well for your company. The nature of your business, your employee demographics and the type of budget you have available will all be considered when selecting the type of plan that works best for you.

Having employers and employees work together can form a powerful team against medical uncertainty and the millions of lost workdays that result from incorrectly diagnosed or improperly treated conditions.

How Canadians Can Benefit From Having Health and Dental Insurance Coverage

Canadians benefit from a publicly funded national health insurance program which provides for the basic coverage in hospital care. While as Canadians we receive coverage to some extent, each province and territory may offer additional benefits according to their own respective plans.

If you’re a Canadian, and you have lived in a few of the provinces over time you would best understand how coverage varies considerably from province to province.

Health & Dental Insurance

The average costs for a dental cleaning varies, but generally on average you’re looking to pay between $150 to $200. Besides cleanings; Fillings, extractions, and root canals can set you back hundreds of dollars.

Prescription medications

Provincial governments offer partial or complete coverage for seniors and those receiving social assistance. What about the rest of the Canadian working class, how can they fill in the gaps where coverage is not an option?

This is where supplemental insurance becomes necessary for many. Some insurance companies offer discounts for couples and families with 3 children or more worth looking into.

Supplemental health insurance plans can include the following types of therapies;

• Psychiatry

• Physiotherapy

• Osteopathy

• Naturopathy

• Chiropractor

• Podiatry

You may want to ask yourself the following question when deciding whether or not you need a health insurance plan;

Do I need prescription, vision, or dental coverage?

Supplemental insurance plans usually cover about 40% to 80% of healthcare needs such as: dental, vision, psychologists, podiatrists, chiropractors, hearing aids, and various medical devices.

There are many factors that are weighed into what your monthly plan will cost. Here are a few of the questions you would have to answer to get your rate.

• The number of individuals included in the plan

• The type of coverage you need

• Whether or not you want prescription drug coverage included in your plan

• Your current health, family medical history

• Whether you are a smoker or non-smoker

• Gender influences your rate

• Your profession

• Where in Canada you reside

Whether or not you choose to invest in a supplemental health insurance plan is up to you. The idea is not to wait until you have a health condition or you need a medical service not covered under the Government Heath Plan to inquire about a plan. You want it accessible at the time that you need it. When it comes down to it; health insurance plans are customizable to fit your needs and the needs of those who will have coverage with you.

How Your Business And Workers Benefit From Supplemental Insurance

As healthcare costs continue to rise, employers have started to shift the burden of health care costs onto their employees. Some have even cut back on employer-paid benefits. The health-care law requires most people to obtain and most employers to offer major medical coverage with certain essential benefits. Even so, what workers pay out-of-pocket through these plans keep rising as employers try to control their own costs.

A 2015 report revealed how employers are still looking for ways to reduce expenses by pushing costs onto workers in the form of increased deductibles, premiums and copayments. By offering supplemental or voluntary insurance to employees, this can provide financial protection in the event of a serious accident or illness. Three reasons why supplemental insurance is essential for employees are:

Healthcare cost increases are outpacing raises

According to a report, 31 percent of employers increased employees’ share of premium, 30 percent increased employees’ copayments, and 21 percent implemented high-deductible health plans. Those are big expenses hitting employees’ wallets, but salary increases are not keeping up. A recent Kaiser Family Foundation study found that deductibles have risen six times faster than workers’ earnings since 2010.

Out-of-pocket limits are high, even for higher-paid employees

The average out-of-pocket expense is approximately $7,000 for individuals and $14,000 for families, and that is only for covered essential health benefits. Yet, a whopping 52 percent of employees have less than $1,000 to pay for out-of-pocket expenses associated with an unexpected serious illness or accident, and 28 percent have less than $500.

Workers tend to choose price over quality, which may mean less coverage than they realize

With rising costs, it is tempting to choose health insurance based on the monthly price tag. In fact, 30 percent of employees say monthly premium is the most important factor when choosing a major medical insurance plan each year. A lower-cost plan may mean short-term savings, but could eventually add up to significantly higher out-of-pocket costs.

Employees need a financial safety net. Benefits received from supplemental insurance have long served as a way to help protect employees when they are sick or injured, regardless of their major medical insurance coverage. Some of these benefits include vision, dental, pet insurance, short-term disability, accident, critical illness, and hospital indemnity. Supplemental benefit recipients can use money received from these products to help pay for their daily living expenses, such as rent, mortgage payment, groceries, child care, and medical bills during the time the insured is unable to work.

When companies add voluntary products to their companies’ benefits package, they can raise employees’ level of satisfaction and help them feel more financially prepared to cope with possible life-changing events. On the other hand, employers can experience lower operational costs and save money in the process. The result is a win-win situation for both employer and employee.