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Three Tips On How To Leverage Your Employee Health Insurance Plan’s Effectiveness

Three Tips On How To Leverage Your Employee Health Insurance Plan's Effectiveness
Employee absence impacts your business. You can help avoid employees taking extra time away due to illness or accident if you’ve put health insurance in place.

Health insurance helps you to have healthy, punctual, and present employees. While health management is your employee’s personal responsibility, here are some insights on how you can address obvious health hurdles by offering information and education on features of your health plan.

These three tips can help you get the greatest use and value from your employee health insurance plan by leveraging it effectively.

Tip#1: Focus on extended benefit features for pain management

Your staff may understand that they have health insurance in place, but they may not understand the features or coverage included in their extended health benefits that can help them with pain management.

Nearly 8 million Canadians live with chronic pain – about one in four persons. Pain impacts your staff’s ability to take part in everyday activities including their work duties. Chronic pain can be caused by many different factors, including conditions that accompany normal aging and affect bones and joints. Other common causes are nerve damage and injuries that fail to heal properly, years of poor posture or improper lifting and carrying of heavy objects.

Back Pain

When pain is fleeting or only lasts a short period of time, it’s called acute pain. Chronic pain is defined as pain that lasts over two weeks. The most common form of chronic pain is arthritis with symptoms including stiff joints, swelling, reduced mobility and most of all, pain.

Can you imagine living your life 24/7 in chronic pain, from when you wake up, all the way until bedtime? And then trying to perform your best at work? It’s a formula for failure.

Medication is usually the thing people think about when it comes to treating chronic pain, but it’s not the only option. The problem is that therapy is typically not covered by your employee’s government health plan, and they may believe they will have to pay entirely out of pocket for treatments.

Educate your employees on their extended health benefits that reimburse a portion of expenses and services not covered by existing government plans like

  • Massage therapy to rub and work the muscles to provide relief
  • Physiotherapy at a clinic or to help them regain some range of motion by treating musculoskeletal impairments and learn strategies to manage the pain
  • Eastern-based acupuncture or naturopathic doctors
  • Chiropractic adjustments to help release muscle tension and correct the body’s alignment and overall physical function
  • Durable Equipment coverage to get aids for daily living including braces, casts, custom foot orthotics, canes, crutches, walkers, or wheelchairs.

By educating your employees on extended health benefit features to address their pain, your employees can better focus on getting the job done for you.

Tip#2: Open discussion on mental health using your benefit plan

Protecting and supporting the mental health of employees is vital to the future success of any business. Mental health fallout from COVID-19, economic uncertainty, and social unrest continue and affect your workforce more than ever. More employees are dealing with mental health challenges themselves or with their family members over the past year, from stress and burnout to anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and substance use problems.

While treatment from a general practitioner will usually not cost an employee anything, expenses for other therapy to help them cope with life’s hurdles including individual, marriage and family therapy, or addiction counselling, can really add up. Visits for counselling provided by a psychologist or social worker can help an employee think about their problems differently and give them ways to manage — and usual and customary fees charged can be covered under health insurance you provide, up to a plan maximum covered per year.

Ensure your employees are aware of how your health insurance plan can help

  • Whether your employee is a young mother with anxiety, is ready to address substance use or has a spouse, child or elder diagnosed with a serious illness, health insurance covers prescription medication which may be a part of the solution they need to decrease their suffering from stress.
  • Expenses for therapy with marriage and family or addiction counsellors are reimbursed to plan maximums, and both in person and virtual appointments are eligible
  • Your health insurance plan delivers many “built in” tools that can help employees learn new ways to deal with the expected and unexpected in life including mindfulness tools, motivational programs to help them focus and achieve their health goals and access to recent articles on finding care, managing their health, and preventing illness.

Encourage your employees to download the apps available with your plan designed to make managing their mental health easier.

Tip#3: Address the importance of managing chronic conditions

Did you know that 44% of adults over age 20 will have at least one of ten common chronic health conditions in their lifetime according to the Public Health Agency? To manage their conditions your employees are faced with out-of-pocket costs for medication and supplies that can be covered under their health insurance plan.

  • On average, Canadians today with type 2 diabetes pay anywhere from between $1,000 up to $5,000 per year out of pocket for medication and supplies, depending on how they manage their diabetes.
  • High blood pressure, or hypertension, affects almost half of all older adults and treatment usually includes taking prescription medication every day that can easily cost over $500 each year unless it’s covered by your health plan.
  • Facing cancer can be a stressful financial struggle to cover medications, medical equipment, physical therapy and may prolong an employee’s recovery time which for most cancers is about 30 weeks.

While offering a health plan that covers prescription drugs makes your business’ benefits package seem more comprehensive and attractive to potential employees, the critical issue is that it can help current employees stay productive.

Don’t have health insurance for your employees? We can help.

Health issues have a huge impact on your workforces’ productivity. Left untreated by medications and therapies, employees will miss work, or their condition will make it harder to do their job and impact their work performance. Having prescription drug and extended health coverage allows employees to address issues promptly and properly, reducing time away from work.

Making health insurance available can be critical to keeping your team on task and making your business successful. At SBIS, we specialize in helping small business owners make the best possible decisions on what individual or small group health insurance plan will work for best 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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