Group Benefits: How To Decide What’s Right For You
Employee health and peace of mind is vital to the success of every business. Every job seeker is looking for stability and assurance. They want to know that they are protected if they fall ill or get injured. They want to know that their families will have some financial security if they pass away. Businesses can provide this peace of mind by offering the right Group Benefits and Life Insurance coverage to their employees.
By providing competitive benefits plan, you can attract better employees to your business and retain them for longer. Of course, what constitutes the “right” Group Benefits Plan will vary depending on the business. What works for a self-employed person is different from what is right for a small business. Which might be different from the coverage package optimal for a large company with lots of employees. How can you design a benefits package that makes sense for your business situation? This Blog post will do its best to answer that question.
Getting Started: What Types of Coverage Do You Need?
When designing a Group Benefits Plan for your business, it’s important to think about protecting your most important asset. For most people, the most important asset isn’t a house or a car, but the ability to earn an income. As such, most employees will be looking for an employer that can provide benefits to protect this asset.
In many ways, safeguarding the ability to earn income is the core purpose of any Group Benefits Plan. If your business has Group Benefits that does not adequately protect employees and their income, then the most qualified people are going to look elsewhere.
Here’s what you need to offer to provide an adequate Group Benefits Plan:
In a Group Benefits Plan, disability insurance will provide a specified percentage for an employee’s income if/when that person is disabled and cannot work. If a person is injured, falls ill, whether at work or not, and is unable to work, disability coverage will kick in to protect his or her income. This coverage is vital to the peace of mind of your employees. It ensures they will have income even if they are unable to work. It needs to be a part of your Group Benefits Plan.
Workers’ Compensation and Employment Insurance:
Similar to disability coverage, workers’ compensation insurance exists to replace (some of) an employee’s income if he or she is unable to work due to injury or illness. The difference is that workers’ compensation policies apply specifically to work-related injuries or illnesses. EI will respond when an employer who is not required to carry WCB has an employee that becomes disabled or ill. Some Canadian employers are required to carry workers’ compensation, most will pay EI premiums. Both of these coverages’ generally offer less income benefit, and narrower benefit periods then a traditional Group Plan.
While disability coverage and workers’ compensation are there to protect an employee’s ability to earn an income. Healthcare benefits are vital to protecting the income that has already been earned. Healthcare expenses are steep and can quickly exhaust the savings of families or individuals who are not fully insured. Canada’s publicly-funded provincial healthcare plans can cover a sizeable percentage of healthcare expenses after a certain dollar amount or deductible is reached. However, until that time they do not include everything, and costs that aren’t covered can be quite steep. As such, many job seekers are looking to offset those costs for themselves and their families by finding employers that offer extended health care coverage. The benefits of these extended group plans might include coverage for prescription drugs, paramedic services, hospital care costs, emergency travel healthcare coverage and more.
Dental and Vision Coverage:
Dental and vision are also not covered by Canada’s public healthcare system. Getting these types of coverage is a high priority for many citizens, considering the importance of preventative dental and eye care, regular checkups, and diagnostic services. Sometimes, these benefits will be included under the umbrella of extended health care coverage.
Group Life Insurance:
If a person passes away while employed by your business (and therefore covered by your group life insurance plan), the coverage will pay out a certain amount of money to the employee’s family or beneficiaries. How much the policy pays will depend on how your business sets up the plan. Sometimes, the pay-out is a flat amount that is the same for every employee. Other times, the benefit is based on the salary that the employee was earning before his or her death.
Providing these benefits is an investment for any business, but you need to consider it an investment in your employees. Job seekers are looking for these benefits because they want to protect themselves, their income, their savings, and their families. Failing to provide these benefits (or at least the ones that are not required by law) will save your business money up front, but will also lose you many employees or prospects.
Qualified and experienced professionals are in-demand enough to insist on comprehensive group benefits packages from their employees. Even when finding good people willing to work for a company with limited benefits, you will have difficulty retaining them long term. In other words, by investing in comprehensive Group/Life Benefits, you are investing in quality, satisfaction, morale, and retention of your employees.
How Do I Choose the Right Group Benefits Plan for My Business?
Group Benefits are obviously important for businesses to offer. But does your business need a plan that includes all the elements discussed above?
Not necessarily. If you are self-employed with no employees, you will likely purchase personal insurance and disability policies for yourself and your family. If you run a small business with some employees and your budget for Group Benefits is limited, you might also choose to pursue alternate coverage packages, such as flexible benefit plans or health spending accounts (HSAs).
With flexible benefits, you give employees a list of benefits to choose from and a set number of credits they can allocate throughout that list. By letting employees pick the coverage they need, you avoid paying for insurance that most employees will never use and might not even want. Similarly, HSAs give members credits for healthcare expenses not covered by their provincial plans. This option is cheaper than extended healthcare coverage, but still provides employees with additional peace of mind.
At Guild Insurance Brokers & HMS Insurance Agencies, we can help you choose the right Group Benefits Plan for your business. Between our in-depth knowledge on this subject and our relationships with the best providers in Canada, we can get you competitive pricing on benefits that make sense for your business.