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Group Insurance and Benefit Plans
In a recent survey, employers ranked the top items that are most important when making decisions regarding a benefit plan. The top 4 in order are:
- Overall price of the plan
- Level of protection for the employees
- Cost/Benefit Analysis of Various plan options
- Flexibility of the plan
Group benefit plans have evolved over the years to provide benefits to smaller employers and you can have a plan with just 2 employees. If your company is small and cost is an issue, be assured there are more options than ever before to co-ordinate a plan to meet your budget.
Plan design strategy has become very important to provide sustainable cost for benefit plans. Many costs within the benefit plan continue to rise at a faster rate than CPI and business owners need to take that fact into account when choosing plan options and budgeting for a benefit plan. Prescription Drug Costs remain the highest overall expense item in a benefit plan and typically comprise 75% of the total cost of the plan. The plan feature that is gaining regular use is Paramedical Practitioners which can include: Physiotherapists, Chiropractors, Osteopaths, Naturopaths, Registered Massage Therapists, Podiatrists, Dieticians etc. Other Health plan highlights are Optometrist exams, Private Nursing Care, Semi-private Hospital Room, Hearing Aids, Orthotic devices/shoes, Ambulance coverage, Vision Care for glasses/contacts and Emergency Out of Country coverage. Dental care is the other major cost driver and most plans offer Basic Dental with a coinsurance and plan maximum but depending on your employee demographic and plan objectives, a plan including Major Procedures and Orthodontia could be an attractive employment incentive.
Plans can now include Group Critical Illness, Employee Assistance Plans, Web-based Wellness Resources, Health spending Accounts, Mental Health Care consultative services, Second Opinion Services for serious illness diagnosis, Cancer assistance plans and Online Health Assessment Tools to name a few.
Administration through web-admin applications has facilitated real-time enrolment of new employees, terminations and employee information changes. Smart phone applications for submitting claims are a new feature with some insurers and you can use a debit type card for expenses with another insurer.
Employees can view their claims history on line with some insurers, print benefit information, claim forms, member cards and access health awareness resources through an employee web portal.
The benefits industry has evolved to make benefits more flexible, administration easy and quick and employee access simple and robust with information and assistance. Has your plan evolved along with it? Do you have a plan designed for yesterday or today? If you have a benefit plan that has been in place for a long time and the objectives and design reasons aren’t clear anymore, perhaps its time for a review. Give us a call for a plan assessment and cost/benefit analysis.