While there may be many different options and plan variations available though various group benefits providers, the following are common benefits found in most comprehensive benefit programs:
- Life Insurance
- Accidental Death & Dismemberment Insurance
- Disability Coverage
- Extended Health Coverage
- Dental Coverage
- Health Spending Account
Life Insurance provides your plan members with assurance that their families will be taken care of should they die suddenly or after a prolonged illness. The Life Insurance benefit is most often based on a multiple of the plan member’s earnings. However, depending on the plan sponsor’s wishes, the benefit may also be a flat amount or a combination of an earnings multiple and a flat amount.
In addition to basic amounts of Life Insurance, additional coverage such as Dependent Life Insurance may be part of a plan.
Accidental Death & Dismemberment Insurance is an additional benefit that can be bought in conjunction with Life Insurance coverage. The amount of coverage is usually equal to the amount of Life Insurance selected by the plan member. It provides plan members and/or their families with additional benefits should the plan members die, lose a limb, become paralysed, or lose their hearing, speech or sight as a result of an accident.
Extended Health Care benefits help plan members and their dependents pay for medical expenses that aren’t covered by their provincial plan. Details of exactly what is covered, how much the plan pays, and what the deductible amounts vary among plans. An Extended Health Care package can include a combination of the following features:
- Hospital care: semi-private hospital room in the plan member’s province
- Prescription drugs: medication prescribed by a doctor
- Medical services and equipment: private duty nursing, ambulances, crutches, hearing aids, etc.
- Paramedical services: chiropractors, naturopaths, podiatrists, etc.
- Out-of-province: emergency travel assistance
- Vision care: eyeglasses and contact lenses
Dental Care benefits help plan members and dependents pay for eligible dental procedures that are provided by a licensed dental professional. As well as covering preventive and diagnostic treatment, a plan may also cover:
- Basic coverage, including procedures such as root canals
- Major coverage, for procedures such as crowns and bridges
- Orthodontics, as an additional option with Major coverage
Disability benefits are designed to replace lost income in the event plan members become totally disabled for a prolonged absence as a result of illness or accident. To qualify for this benefit while disabled, individuals must demonstrate that they are following appropriate treatment for their illness. Both Short-Term Disability and Long-Term Disability coverage are normally included in a disability benefit plan.
A Health Spending Account (HSA) is an easy, tax-effective way to offer health and dental benefits choice and self-service to plan members.
Plan sponsors deposit HSA credits (“dollars”) into each plan member’s account every year. The plan member may use the allocated credits as needed for eligible health-related expenses not covered by provincial health plans or by the organization’s regular benefits plan. This can include expenses such as:
- Deductibles or co-insurance payments for health and dental expenses
- Health or dental expenses in excess of maximum coverage amounts
- A wide range of other health-related expenses not covered by your organization’s health and dental plan that qualify as a medical expense tax credit under the Canadian Income Tax Act
The purchase and implementation of a group benefits package is complex. Hatch & Muir are Chartered Life Underwriters and Certified Financial Planners. We can provide you with advice and help you implement the right benefits package for your employees.