Things to Know about Group Health Insurance in Canada

When you run a business, your employees are one of your biggest assets. In fact, if you want to keep your best people, it’s important to offer excellent benefits, or they may begin to look elsewhere. Group health insurance is one of the most important benefits you can provide in Canada. But which is the best policy and what does one need to know before buying this kind of coverage? The following information can help you with this decision.

What is Group Health Coverage?

Standard healthcare is provided by universal health insurance for Canadians. However, several types of healthcare are not covered by this insurance, and a group health plan is an excellent way to provide employee benefits.

Who Can Use This Coverage?

Any business with employees can provide their people with enhanced benefits when they choose a group health plan. These plans are usually designed to cover your full-time employees. Most plans have qualifications such as:

  • Working a certain amount of time for the company
  • Must still be an employee – once a worker leaves the company, the group health benefits are ended.
  • Laid off workers can usually have their benefits extended for a time. In some cases, replacement benefits may be available.

What Kind of Plans Are Offered?

You have several options when it comes to purchasing your group coverage. Here are some considerations.

Flexible Healthcare Plans

These plans allow participants to choose the kind of coverage they want and need, within specific limits. For instance, basic insurance packages may be available from the employer. In addition, participants can usually change their group health insurance coverage options each year.

Perhaps one of your employees plans on increasing his or her family. This person can opt to add maternity benefits to the policy. The next year, the coverage can be dropped and this will save the employee money. Other services like orthodontics can also be added in much the same way.

Employee Benefits Coordination

Suppose both man and wife work for the same company. They may be able to choose benefit coordination. For example, if the wife has a health claim, her insurance may pay 80 percent of the costs and her husband’s insurance may pick up the difference. In this way, the couple can enjoy 100 percent coverage and save a great deal on medical expenses.

If employees pay for all or part of their insurance premiums, a couple may have the option of only one participant taking the coverage. This way, they are both covered and they save the additional premiums on their group health benefits.

Administrative Only Healthcare Plans

There is more than one way to provide additional healthcare benefits to your workers. For instance, you may wish to cover the costs from company profits, and you can hire an insurance company to take care of the claims processing. This type of plan is not actually insurance, but a “service only” agreement. However, this is an important option for many companies to consider.

What Kind of Coverage is Available?

You can buy plans that pay for many things universal healthcare does not cover. For example:

  • Prescription drugs – suppose your doctor wants you to start taking medication for cholesterol, thyroid, and hypertension. You will have to pay for all these prescriptions yourself. In addition, you may need antibiotic or pain drugs from your dentist. A good group health insurance plan can help your employees with these medication expenses.
  • Chiropractors – each day, many Canadians are feeling better with chiropractic care but this is not part of universal health insurance.
  • Dental services – good health depends on the health of your teeth and gums. When your people have dental care as part of their employee benefits, they are more likely to take good care of their teeth, and this leads to a happier and more productive workforce.
  • Hospital care – even though hospital stays are paid for by universal healthcare, it does not pay for semi private or private rooms.
  • Eye services – your group plan can include visits to the optometrist and eyeglasses.

Group RRSP

If you wish to increase your worker benefits you might want to include an RRSP plan. A Registered Retirement Savings Plan is a great way for Canadians to save for retirement and receive excellent tax benefits. With group plans, employees can have their contributions automatically taken from their pay checks for maximum convenience. You also can assist employees with contributions. For example, you may provide a percentage of each contribution based on years of service with the company.

Buying Group Health Benefits in Canada

When you shop for the best deals on group plans, you’ll enjoy many benefits when you go to an insurance broker. A broker is your one stop shop for finding the right plan for your company and employees. These people have years of experience with investments and know the market well. In fact, a broker can often find the best deals on these plans, which can save you a lot on costs.

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