Health & Dental Insurance Online

Now you can buy individual and family health and dental insurance directly online:

For Manulife FlexCare and FollowMe plans click HERE 

For Sun Life HCC conversion health plans click HERE

For Sun Life PHI personal health plans click HERE

Poll

What type of coverage do you most need help with?
Life / Mortgage Insurance
23%
Disability Insurance
16%
Employee Health & Dental Benefits
25%
Critical Illness Insurance
19%
Personal Health Trust/PHSP
18%
Total votes: 266

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Federal Updates:

Employer contributions to a group sickness or accident insurance plan 

As announced in  the Federal budget released in March 2012, employer contributions to a group sickness or accident insurance plan, such as accidental death and dismemberment or critical illness insurance,  are a taxable benefit to employees effective January 1, 2013. However, employer contributions paid towards wage loss replacement plans, such as short-term and long-term disability plans are not impacted by this legislation.

Bill C-38 – Protecting long-term disability plans

As part of the Federal budget released in March of 2012, the government announced its commitment to introduce legislation requiring federally regulated private sector employers to insure on a go forward basis, the long-term disability benefit coverage offered to employees.

 

 Alberta:

Generic Prescription Drug Program

In 2010 some provinces took action to reduce the price of generic drugs. Alberta implemented a phased-in approach for some features of their generic drug reform. 

Effective July 1, 2012, Alberta Health announced that it has reduced the amount it will pay for generic prescription drugs from 45 per cent of the cost of name brand-drugs to 35 per cent. 

As of August 1, 2012, Alberta now regulates the naturopathic profession through the College of Naturopathic Doctors, the new governing body for the profession. Alberta joins British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario in broadening access to alternative care in wellness and illness prevention.

 

BC:

Reinstating provincial sales tax (PST) 

When British Columbia introduced its budget in February 2012, the province confirmed its plans to reintroduce the PST at a rate of 7% plus federal goods and services tax (GST) by April 1, 2013. This proposed change will impact group benefits goods and services where the harmonized sales tax (HST) currently applies. We are reviewing the impacts of this change and expect to provide this information closer to the effective date.

 

Effective February 1st, the dental fee guide changes for 2013 are:

AB 3.72% - approximate (since the Alberta Dental Association and College does not publish a dental fee guide, insurers must establish their own reimbursement levels for dental services in Alberta)

BC 2.4%

 The federal government announced the 2013 Employment Insurance (EI) premium rates and maximums:

  • Maximum insurance earnings $47,400
  • Maximum weekly EI benefit $501

 

 

The Canadian life/health insurance industry has announced an industry-wide drug pooling agreement to help mitigate the impact of high drug costs on fully insured employer drug plans.

 This plan allows insurers to sustain group drug benefit programs in the event that one or more of a group's employees has a recurring, very high cost prescription drug claim. The framework was developed under the leadership of the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association (CLHIA) and Canadian health insurers.

Coming into effect on January 1, 2013, the agreement will apply to fully insured drug plans only, not ASO, refund accounting or stop-loss plans. The industry felt the most effective way to way to begin to address drug pooling challenges, was to select a segment of the market that was completely within the scope of the life and health insurance industry, i.e. fully insured plans.  The industry may decide to extend this agreement to cover other types of employer plans at a later date; however doing so at this stage would have significantly increased the complexity of putting this agreement in place and delayed implementation.

The pooling agreement is comprised of 2 components:

Participating insurers have to place all high cost drug claims from all their fully insured group drug business in internal pools, subject to certain exceptions pre-defined in the agreement. The internal pooling arrangement must comply with a set of minimum standards, the key requirement being that insurers cannot set a plan sponsor’s insurance pooled premiums with any reference to the number or size of any high cost claims that are being pooled.  In essence, insurers are required to set the premium assuming that the high cost pooled claims did not exist.  Beyond the basic standards, all aspects of the internal pools will be open for customization by each insurer.

To help each participating insurer sustain the costs of offering this pooling protection to their clients, the industry has also agreed to set up an industry-wide pooling framework to spread the risk of recurrent, high cost prescription drug claims across all participating insurers. 

The agreement helps shield plan sponsors and plan members from the full impact of high cost claims. By having the high claims protected by pooling, plan sponsors will not have to resort to restricting reimbursement for expensive drugs, which means that plan members will not risk being left without coverage when they need it most.  It also allows these plan sponsors to access a fully competitive market for their group business and not be tied to their existing group insurance provider as is sometimes the case today. 

Now you can buy your individual health and dental plan directly online. Below are links to both Manulife and Sun Life plans.

Please note that both insurers offer conversion products designed for people leaving an employer group plan in the last 60 days, with no medical questions asked. Manulife's conversion plan is called FollowMe, and Sun Life's is called Health Coverage Choice.

Manulife's FlexCare and Sun's Personal Health Insurance plans offer varying levels of coverage. These products are designed for people who are self-employed or do not have access to a group plan. Please be aware that some of the plans require a medical questionnaire, and we recommend you speak with an advisor at our office (604.872.2866) before submitting any medical information to an insurer.

Links:

For Manulife FlexCare and FollowMe plans click HERE 

For Sun Life HCC conversion health plans click HERE

For Sun Life PHI personal health plans click HERE

 

In celebration of small business week 2011, a great new article is up on the CBC's website about Private Health Services Plans, and excellent vehicle for business owners to deduct their medical and dental expenses:  http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/smallbusiness/story/2011/09/16/f-smallbiz-phsp.html.

I had the pleasure of being interviewed by CBC for the article, please let me know what you think!

Rachel

Benefits Plans

True Benefits can help you find the best employee benefits plan.

We have access to over 25 insurers.

Clients Say:

"Rachel is professional, courteous and very knowledgeable while providing outstanding customer service. She is well prepared, delivers personal service, and understands our desire to provide the best possible benefit plan to our employees in the most cost effective manner."

Anne, HR Manager

"I appreciate having a person who is both local and accessible, and was impressed with the initial presentation outlining the options available to us. It is extremely helpful to have Rachel advocating on our behalf."

Sarah, Business Owner

"True Benefits has totally met our needs. Rachel gives personalized attention, and is very thorough. She has suggested many good ideas that we have used to benefit our employees."

Vicki, Controller

"I have referred many clients to Rachel in the past, and without exception, they have all commented to me on her professionalism, vast industry knowledge, great service, and fast response time."

 
Rowan

Thank you for everything that you have done for our family. We are grateful for all your hard work. We look forward to working with you again in the future.

Laurin

"True Benefits has an understanding and awareness of the importance of an effective benefits program. They're proactive in looking for cost effective improvements to plan design and cost containment strategies. My expectations were exceeded - Rachel delivered as promised in a timely manner."

Norrey, CFO

"Thank you Rachel. Great service as always. You anticipated our needs."

Pam, HR Director

I used True Benefits to sort through a tricky health insurance issue related to immigration status and an expired work permit.  Rachel recommended a cost effective solution and quickly verified the policy was the best choice for my situation.  My new health coverage was effective within 2 hours of my initial call to Rachel!  I highly recommend working with Rachel at True Benefits for cost effective solutions and friendly and efficient service.

Mike

Your attention to detail and willingness to never to never take "no" for an answer on my behalf left me in awe of your business ethics.

I will continue to use your services, based on your work ethic and my ability to trust that the policy you are suggesting is perfect for me.

Claire