Health benefits plans and workplace wellness tools have increased in importance as the need for health care support has increased for employees while at the same time the labour market is tightening.
According to the advisory board to this year’s Benefits Canada Healthcare Survey, representing both employees and employers, this is a vital time to understand how health insurance is working to help employees and how to ensure employees understand how the health insurance you provide supports them.
Here are three ways health insurance needs to work to help employees.
1. Health insurance needs to help pay for prescription drugs
Over 20% of surveyed employees take three or more medications on a regular basis. The problem for employees is that prescription drugs are not covered for most by their government health plan. Paying for prescriptions they, and their family members, need means significant out-of-pocket cost.
The fact is prescription drug coverage is an important part of any employee’s compensation package. Having the right drug benefit plan in place can help your business achieve its goals, attract top talent, and maximize productivity.
In the 2022 survey regarding prescription drugs, 46% of plan members indicated they would likely order required medications online and have them delivered, up from 37% in 2021. Many health insurance policies available include prescription drug delivery – at no extra cost.
2. Therapy, counselling, and wellness support are what employees want
The 2022 report shows that members want to increase their use of paramedical services and increase their physical activity. These are important steps to manage mental health, manage pain and support musculoskeletal health.
Using paramedical benefits like kinesiology or talk-therapy can help to overcome the barriers with individualized, supported programs, but adequate levels of paramedical coverage in a health plan is vital. Without paramedical coverage, your employees must pay out-of-pocket for every visit.
The health insurance you offer will cover these registered specialists and therapists and more, including
- Registered massage therapists
- Registered psychologist or psychotherapists.
3. Health coverage for chronic condition management is what employees need
About three out of five (58%) plan members reported ever being told by a physician they have at least one chronic disease or condition. The result jumped to 71% for those aged 55 to 64.
Forty-one per cent said they experience chronic pain, down slightly from 2021 (45%). When combined with other chronic conditions, 67% of members said they have chronic conditions and/or chronic pain, increasing to 78% for ages 55 to 64.
As an employer it is critical not to underestimate the proportion of your workforce with a chronic condition and/or pain, or how health insurance can help.
Most individuals with chronic conditions and pain use medications to manage their condition, and count on health insurance coverage to help pay for prescriptions. People also want therapy and health information support as part of their treatment – included with most health insurance.
Health insurance delivers even more support to your employees
Some health plans with prescription drug coverage may also provide employees with coverage for
- Dental care
- Vision care
- Homecare and nursing or personal support workers
- Prosthetic appliances and medical equipment
- Accidental dental
- Hearing aids
- Travel medical insurance.
Some individual health plans may also offer add-on benefits like:
- Additional medical travel insurance so employees won’t need to buy any other coverage
- Extra vision care benefits to increase coverage
- Semi-private or private hospital coverage.
If your employees have some of these coverages under a group health plan, connect them to the support offered by an individual health plan that works along with group coverage, ‘topping up’ benefits employees use – so they can enjoy fewer out of pocket costs.
Health insurance can be your key to business success
Offering a health plan with prescription drug coverage will automatically make your compensation program more comprehensive and attractive to potential employees. Even more importantly, it can help employees stay productive.
At SBIS, we’ll provide you with all the information you need on individual health insurance or small business health plan options and provide support information you can share with employees by email or on paper. We can even help with education sessions to make your choice and your employees’ choices easy and convenient.
Providing a support system that includes information on individual health plan options can go a long way to satisfying employee needs when you provide health benefits. Contact us today.