Modernizing Your Health Benefits? Focus On Working Parents

Working parent
To attract and retain employees, helping them build their family can go a long way. Providing access to health insurance that includes an emphasis on family is the right step to modernizing your support.

According to Benefits Canada, employees are looking for their employers to provide more support in all aspects of their lives, including building their families. Beyond providing personal time off for both biological and adoptive parents and flexible and/or remote work options, a recent survey by EY found most employers who genuinely practice empathy and support can positively influence employees’ mental health and over-all well-being.

So how you can your employer health insurance benefits better support your employees that are working parents?

Why family healthcare benefits are valuable to employers

Over three-quarters of mothers between the ages of 20 and 49 are employed according to Statistics Canada and just over 90% of fathers in the same age band work. That means a large percentage of your workforce faces caregiving responsibilities, and today’s caregiving landscape is not making it easy on working parents.

Employer-sponsored health benefits help working parents and caregivers find financial support for a broader range of care than that covered by government healthcare, and many plans assist employees in accessing wellness, physical and mental health care quickly so they can focus on work. When children need healthcare, parents have more demands on their time and must manage expenditures associated with caring for their family member, such as specialized health or rehabilitation therapy, assistive devices, or medications.

This can create tension and conflict between the demands of family care and their job, not only impacting productivity but personal wellbeing.

Why family healthcare benefits are valued by employees

In the first national estimate in over a decade, Statistics Canada asked the question: How much do Canadian families spend raising a child? The answer? About $293,000 from birth to age 17 (an average of $17,235 per year) for a two-parent, middle-income family with two children – and that includes housing, food, clothing, and healthcare.

The cost of maintaining a family’s good health can add up quickly – which is why your employees depend on their earnings. When adequate health insurance is in place, instead of reaching for their debit or credit card, your employee can reach for their health insurance benefit card after family visits to a healthcare professional. In some cases – like at the pharmacy or dentist — they may not need to pay anything. For other visits, they can submit a healthcare receipt and claim online for quick and easy reimbursement – helping to keep their family household budget on track for things like

Prescription Drugs

While some provinces provide pharmacare programs for children, youth and seniors, the number of drugs covered is limited. Health insurance plans can cover thousands more drugs than those offered under provincial plans and plans can include online prescription services with at home delivery so a parent can address family health issues in less time.

Vision Care

The cost of eye exams for children may be covered by provincial healthcare, but the cost of prescription glasses or lenses is not covered. Providing health insurance with vision care benefits can help your employee’s entire family, regardless of age, with eyewear costs.

Registered Specialists And Therapists

For various health problems, members of your employee’s family may benefit from massage, physiotherapy, or chiropractic care. Maybe the children require speech therapy or need help from a psychologist to deal with day-to-day stress with family therapy. Over the years, these services can amount to thousands of dollars. The good news is that health insurance can help take care of these costs.

Access to Virtual Healthcare

When a child is ill, parents want to get answers to medical questions quickly – without taking time away from work to go to the doctor. Health insurance offers online resources to access health information that is up to date and accurate, connecting parents to preferred pricing and 24/7 access to virtual healthcare professionals.


Three approaches to modernizing your benefits

There are different approaches you can take to ensure your health insurance plan offerings meet evolving employee expectations for family health support.

Consider putting a group health plan in place

If you are a small business and you don’t already have health insurance plan for your employee group, you can avoid going through a complicated quote process with SBIS from our range of group offerings like GMS Group Advantage offering cost-effective small group health insurance with premium rate stability you can count on. All employees actively at work at least 20 hours a week participate, coverage guaranteed with no medical questions. Your employees can access the built-in Employee Family Assistance Program (EFAP) for support networks, life coaching and professional counselling services.

Fund individual health plan through the business

Not only can you pay for individual health coverage for full time employees but can choose to offer a health plan to part time or seasonal workers you need – with no restriction to the number of hours they work.

You can consider containing the benefits offered in your group health plan and co-fund individual health insurance to give each employee flexibility in finding a plan that best suits their situation from the wide range we offer at SBIS.

Connect employees to individual health insurance options they fund

Support for health coverage can be as simple as educating employees on the advantages of having individual health insurance coverage of their own and connecting them to a qualified resource like SBIS so that they can make their own supplemental health plan choices. This option can be a cost-effective way to provide enhanced and unique support that makes your compensation package stand out from the competition should you choose to fund a portion of the costs. Employees will be able to choose the health insurance benefits they think they will need. That is flexibility they will appreciate.

Looking to change your health benefit strategy?

If its time to change your health benefits strategies it is time to consider the needs of your employees juggling the obligations of their family’s good health, their finances, and their work.  SBIS can help — we specialize in helping small business owners make the best possible decisions from our wide array of individual and small group health insurance plans. We help with comparing features to your current plan and help you choose what will work best for your employees. Call us at 1-800-667-0429 Monday to Friday, 8:45 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. ET or go online to discover small business health insurance options for yourself.


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