Medical Benefits

If you're a business owner, you may think that you're free from the hassle of arranging for medical insurance for your employees. However, you might be wrong. Though the Canadian national medical insurance plan (OHIP) provides guaranteed life saving medical care to Canadians, there are many services it does not cover. If one of your employees needed to seek out a bad credit mortgage broker for example or she would be paying out of pocket. Therefore it makes good business sense to arrange for group medical insurance for your employees.

Who pays?

Usually the group health care plan premiums (or monthly fees) are paid by the employer. The employer has the option of paying these premiums out of the company's profits or distributing the fees across the employee pool by docking their pay for all or part of their share of coverage. Costs for individual health insurance can range from as little as $60 per month per person, but with group discounts it can be less. Decide how much the profit can support before committing to a pay schedule.

What should it cover?

Most health plans come with fine print, so make sure you read it before you sign up. Some health plans will cover alternative medicine such as visits to a naturopathic doctor while others cover only common treatments not covered by Medicare like prescription drugs, vision care, and dental work. Some will require the patient to make a co-payment (either as a dollar amount or percentage of the cost of a visit) while others come with a deductible, where insurance only kicks in at a certain amount, while still others have a cap which limits how much the insurer will pay out.

Which provider should I use?

There are as many health insurance providers as there are medical procedures, even in Canada. Review many plans, from small companies that do home health care to large multinational providers when searching for insurance. Some of the biggest insurers in Canada are the Canada Protection Plan and Blue Cross. Many small life and auto insurance companies also have health plans, as do some banks, like Royal Bank, so check around.

Should this be an executive decision?

No. Before implementing a group health plan, consult with your employees to see what they will need from it, especially if you will be asking them to contribute toward the premiums. Do they want prescription drug coverage? Coverage that will pay for retirement homes for their elderly parents? Coverage that will allow their kids to get braces? Compile their responses and keep them in mind when you're reviewing plans. Get their approval on your final choice and offer an opt-out option for anyone who is dissatisfied.

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Friday, June 21, 2024