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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After starting a successful business, every entrepreneur begins to wonder about whether they can now afford health and dental coverage. They may have given up employer benefits in order to pursue their dreams, but now they have a big dental appointment looming and they want them back.

There are several solutions designed specifically for the self-employed that are cost effective, tax deductible and straightforward to set up, including: individual health and dental plans, private health services plans (PHSP), and small business group insurance plans.

Individual Health Plans are purchased from an insurer to cover supplementary health and dental expenses such as prescriptions, cleanings, and specialists such as chiropractors and registered massage therapists.

The health and dental coverages are bundled into modular basic, mid-range or enhanced plan designs. Additional coverages can be purchased for items such vision care or travel insurance. Basic plans can usually be obtained without medical evidence, but be forewarned, the top tier coverage bundles generally require a medical questionnaire, and approval is not guaranteed.

These plans are great for sole-proprietors or businesses with one or two employees. There are also products specifically designed for people who have just left an employer plan, so make sure this option is explored within 60 days of leaving an employer group plan if applicable.

Premium costs are based on several factors such as the plan design, applicant’s age, and how many people will be covered under the policy. For those under age 45, expect to spend between $50 and $100 per month per person. The premiums may be eligible for deduction as a business expense.

A Private Health Services Plan (PHSP) is a plan set up between an employer and a trust company for the tax-free reimbursement of medical and dental expenses. It is not an insured plan, but allows an employer to provide benefits in a tax-effective manner under Section 248(1) of the Income Tax Act.

This is fast becoming one of the most popular methods for entrepreneurs to manage health costs. Any expenses that qualify for the Medical Tax Credit will qualify under a PHSP. This includes a wide variety of items that range from laser eye surgery, to medical equipment and orthodontics (Note: cosmetic medical or dental procedures are excluded from coverage).

 A PHSP can be set up for sole-proprietors or an incorporated company. Under current CRA guidelines, sole-proprietors have restrictions on the amount of claims that can be submitted through the plan each year. To set up a PHSP, expect to spend between $200 and $400 initially.  

Administration fees of 10% are charged on paid claims, and are the only ongoing cost, which makes them a great option for the budget conscious. All of the set-up and administrative fees, along with the paid claims, are deductible as business expenses.

Employee Benefit Plans allow small employers the opportunity to offer staff coverage at group rates. One of the biggest perks of group coverage is that the benefits are provided to employees without the need to disclose medical evidence or medical history.

Increasingly, benefits are being implemented to retain valued staff and lure key people away from larger businesses. Insurers have improved their offerings to allow small employers to provide customized plan designs.

Some of the most popular benefits include: life and disability insurance, health, dental and vision care, and employee wellness programs. Flexible health spending accounts, which operate like a bank account for health and dental costs, and critical illness insurance, which pays a tax-free lump sum benefit in the event of a covered condition such as cancer or heart attack, have recently become available for small employers.

A group plan is available for companies with two or more employees; however, feasibility increases when there are at least five. There is ongoing administration required in the form of updating the insurer of new hires, terminations, and changes in earnings, in addition to educating employees about the coverage. All eligible employees are expected to participate, and cannot pick and choose their coverage.

Costs for group benefits can range significantly and will be heavily dependent on the coverage design, employee demographics and employer’s industry. It definitely pays to have your advisor shop for the best rates from a variety of insurers. Each year, the plan will renew and the insurer will have an opportunity to adjust your rates based on plan utilization. This can mean that heavily used plans will result in rate increases for the group, so looking into a pooled plan arrangement may be beneficial.

Group plan premiums are deductible as business expenses, and the benefits can often be provided to employees on a tax-free basis.

Entrepreneurs who are interested in learning more about their health and dental coverage options should talk to an advisor who specializes in working with small business owners.
 

Being kept from your business by a disability or illness isn’t something owners like to think about. Who would? But it’s important to be aware of the coverages available to manage potential risks, and whether they are required in your situation.

For the plans below, evidence of good health is required in order to qualify. Pricing is based on the age, gender, occupation and smoking status of the applicant, and also the structure and total amount of insurance applied for.

Long Term Disability (LTD) Insurance

LTD insurance protects a business owner’s income in the case that a disability or illness or accident prevents them from working. The coverage amount is based on a percentage of their income, and the benefit can be structured to pay out after a 30 to 180 day waiting period. The coverage can be set up to pay disability benefit for a five year period or to age 65. If premiums are paid personally, any disability benefits received are non-taxable.

If there are at least two owners or employees to insure, an Income Loss Replacement Plan can be arranged, which means that the premiums are a tax deduction for the business.

There are a variety of coverage riders are available; the most important of which are:
o Partial Disability coverage, which allows a proportionate disability payment in the event the insured is able to work but in a reduced capacity.
o Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA), which indexes disability payments for cost of living increases each year. This option is especially important for younger business owners.
o Future Earnings Protection Option (FEPO), which allows the insured to add increasing coverage as earnings increase, without having to provide evidence of good health. This is a good benefit to select when income will be rising in the near future.

Business Overhead Expense (BOE) Insurance

BOE insurance pays ongoing business expenses in the event a business owner becomes disabled. This plan can be structured on a reimbursement basis, although a lump sum monthly benefit is preferable. The BOE benefit can help to keep a business running while an owner recuperates. Items such as equipment, building or vehicle leases, and staff wages can be covered. The premiums are tax-deductible for the business. Benefits are taxable if received; however tax deductions for the overhead expenses being paid by the business offsets this.

Critical Illness (CI) Insurance

CI insurance provides a tax-free lump sum in the event of serious illness, such as cancer, heart attack or stroke. Most insurers offer plans that cover at least 22 illnesses. The benefit payable can be used to seek private medical treatment or care, pay personal expenses such as a mortgage, or for business purposes, such as hiring an interim manager. The plan can be structured to provide a return of premiums if no claims are made. Critical Illness coverage is available in amounts ranging upwards from $25,000 to several million dollars. For situations where disability insurance is not available, or is too expensive, clients may consider purchasing CI insurance.

 

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

 

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