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  • Will promoting a benefits plan increase claims? | Small Biz Advisor
    Group Benefits Within these efforts to increase information to employees many plan sponsors have wondered If we promote our benefits plan will that lead to more claims and ultimately higher costs The answer isn t simply a yes or no it s both Plan sustainability should be at the forefront of this discussion as any sustainable plan relies on employees playing a key role Employee behaviour has a significant impact on costs such as prescription drugs paramedical usage and of course dental services So it is important to inform employees of all the benefits their plan may offer However it is also important to educate employees on the importance of spending their benefits dollars wisely Explaining the impact of their purchasing decisions at the pharmacy paramedical office and dental office will help to create a wiser consumer of insurance services For example simple education on how the purchase of generic drugs over brand name drugs will reduce costs for both employee and employer could have a positive long term impact on claims costs Simply put if there s an increase in claims there will also be an increase in costs to continue the plan However employees who understand their responsibility

    Original URL path: http://www.smallbizadvisor.ca/group-benefits/will-promoting-a-benefits-plan-increase-claims-3752 (2016-04-26)
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  • Benchmarking: ask the right questions | Small Biz Advisor
    s your demographic mix male female age income etc For a long term disability plan Clark takes into account when the payment time kicks in 17 weeks or 26 weeks He also likes to know if it pays as a tax free benefit or a taxable one Clark then gets authorization from the client to take their group and shop with all the different companies out there That way we get a fair comparison quote for every company and I m using the same benchmarks with each of these companies he says Then I put together a spreadsheet and sit down with the client to go through all the pros and cons of the different companies Then we decide which one fits best Focus on the right thing Even though it eventually comes down to cost when it s time to make the final call Clark says cost shouldn t be the driving force behind benchmarking One of the things I run across continually when presenting renewals is that it s a fine line between what the benefits cost and what they provide Clark says Employees are more willing to pay a little extra if they know every time they put up a claim it goes through They re not happy when you ve cut corners to bring the cost down and their claim gets rejected That actually causes more problems In the end Feher says employees are looking for an employer who cares about their wellbeing For example vision may not be a very important benefit from an employer s perspective but if it s not provided an employee may consider the plan lacking So if you spend a few hundred dollars on providing vision benefit you d be considered well above industry norms It s a fine balancing

    Original URL path: http://www.smallbizadvisor.ca/group-benefits/benchmarking-ask-the-right-questions-3746 (2016-04-26)
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  • Get your benchmarking right | Small Biz Advisor
    how they compare to competitors he says But it takes knowledge and work You have to look at numbers not just for this year but over a number of years Benchmark not just externally but also internally he adds I do five year benchmarking for all clients and I look at their competitors in the same industry I also benchmark for different sizes of groups A 50 life group would look much different than a 150 life group To make sure he isn t comparing apples to oranges Feher takes into account specifics such as What are the different benefits being offered What are the employees paying into the benefits plan Is there payroll deduction beyond the LTD What is the co insurance level Criteria for benchmarking 1 Cost For Feher the first and foremost criterion for benchmarking is knowing what you re spending on each employee and how it compares to your competitor down the street One employer may think they re paying a lot for benefits but in fact benchmarking may help them realize they re paying much less per capita which brings their total cost down 2 Differences For benchmarking to be relevant it s important not to make sweeping comparisons For example Feher says it s important to understand the company mix know difference between white and blue collar take into account the average age of the group and how that will impact the benchmark With an older group you ll see higher drug claims For a younger group you ll see higher paramedical vision soft claims 3 Deviations If your drug claims are too high it s important to figure out why Either the cost of drugs may be too high or you may have a couple of very high claimants Feher says it s

    Original URL path: http://www.smallbizadvisor.ca/group-benefits/get-your-benchmarking-right-3738 (2016-04-26)
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  • Helping firms develop successful wellness programs | Small Biz Advisor
    number of steps that these individuals can take Here s what to tell them 1 Take some time It is important to ensure that the necessary time is taken to gather the company metrics input from other sectors and especially input from those who need the assistance to make sure that any resources used in the wellness program this includes time and money are targeted towards the highest need and the highest interest Often the impulse is to reach for the first thing that comes to mind this usually means offering an initiative that appeals to the planner personally which decreases the overall impact on the company as a whole 2 Have realistic expectations The goal of a wellness program or initiative is long term healthy behavioural change and it takes strategic consistent effort to help people succeed in this Not all initiatives offered will work for the entire staff base and that s fine Different offerings will appeal to different people The key to a successful program is to offer a variety of initiatives so that there is literally something for everyone For example not all staff will sign up for a lunch n learn or participate in a group challenge but they might read the newsletter or an email campaign try a healthy recipe at home or share some of the literature with their families Some initiatives may seem more successful than others especially when you can track participation in the events Having the expectation that the majority of staff will participate in a program at various levels is more realistic than expecting 100 participation in each initiative 3 Pace yourself To ensure that wellness becomes an ongoing part of workplace culture it is important that a continuous message is being sent to staff Offering these messages through

    Original URL path: http://www.smallbizadvisor.ca/group-benefits/helping-firms-develop-successful-wellness-programs-3728 (2016-04-26)
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  • Minimizing benefits fraud | Small Biz Advisor
    use of benefit plans As an advisor you can remind employers and they can remind their employees that insurers are not prepared to take a loss every year and will raise prices accordingly if usage is high says Donald Chu of BenefitDeck Consulting Ltd in Vancouver B C Another solution is to have employees pay for part of the plan through co pays or deductibles says Chu Not only does that create vested interest but it adds some accountability and may cause them to think twice before they claim for procedures that are not necessary Businesses can also consider encouraging employees to report suspected fraudulent activity For example many insurance companies provide telephone or online tip lines so employees can report abuse anonymously Awareness and incentives can also go a long way so encourage clients to be creative about creating an anti fraud culture Tips for preventing fraud Sun Life offers the following tips for advisors and employers on preventing fraud and abuse Make sure the plan has reasonable coverage limits and benefit maximums Use deductibles and co payment features so plan members have an incentive to manage their benefits spending Establish a health benefits policy or code of ethics

    Original URL path: http://www.smallbizadvisor.ca/group-benefits/minimizing-benefits-fraud-3720 (2016-04-26)
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  • Help employers manage benefits fraud | Small Biz Advisor
    benefits fraud in Canada at between 1 2 billion and 6 billion per year Fraud can involve any combination of dishonest service providers clinics facilities plan members and sponsors and can even be attributed to organized crime and network schemes Gary Askin assistant vice president Fraud Risk Management at Sun Life Financial Canada says some of the most common forms of fraud involve submitting false receipts for services or products never provided stolen identity forged doctor referrals having receipts issued in the names of dependents who don t receive the service altering information so an ineligible expense becomes eligible or undisclosed coordination of benefits While fraud involves activity that is frankly illegal abuse can be a gray area as it s not up to the employer to say whether or not a claim was medically necessary says Chu For example you could have someone who broke their back and during their recovery they used a chiropractor a physiotherapist a naturopath and a massage therapist and reached their maximum on all four says Chu Perhaps these services were medically necessary in that case But it would be unusual for an entire family to make maximum use of so many services Detecting fraud Red flags for advisors or plan sponsors to look out for include excessive billing or claiming patterns sudden changes in these patterns or submitting claims under fake facilities says Askin Other signs are when multiple non related plan members use the same bank account or when the majority of plan members all attend the same service provider or facility Big insurance companies have sophisticated fraud detection mechanisms in place and letting plan members know these exist may be a good prevention technique For example Askin says Sun Life uses nearly a dozen different fraud detection mechanisms including random and

    Original URL path: http://www.smallbizadvisor.ca/group-benefits/help-employers-manage-benefits-fraud-3714 (2016-04-26)
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  • Group Benefits | Small Biz Advisor - Part 2
    health and wellness programs BY Jennifer Paterson BenefitsCanada com January 14 2016 Although most Canadian employers understand the importance of workplace health and wellness programs many aren t Benefits options for employers on a budget BY Patti Ryan December 1 2015 Employers who are not sure they can afford to offer benefits at all should consider Helping employers understand their employees health needs BY Patti Ryan November 24 2015 The vast majority of Canadians 84 percent believe their employers are responsible for supporting their physical and Diabetes an action plan for employers BY Sun Life Financial November 19 2015 More and more Canadians are affected by diabetes each year and the costs continue to Employee benefits a significant cost for employers BY Staff November 10 2015 Despite cost containment efforts in recent years employers spending on benefits programs for employees represents Communication key to crafting a benefit plan that works BY Amgen Canada October 13 2015 As an advisor selling the idea of covering specialty drugs such as biologics to small Most workers with depression don t recognize need for treatment BY BenefitsCanada com Staff October 8 2015 More than half of workers who reported symptoms of depression did not

    Original URL path: http://www.smallbizadvisor.ca/group-benefits/page/2 (2016-04-26)
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  • Group Benefits | Small Biz Advisor - Part 7
    Nick Otto Employee Benefit News February 25 2015 The role of wellness for employers has of late been like a one chapter book good Recognizing the benefits of health and wellness programs BY Standard Life February 24 2015 Regardless of the organization s size health and wellness programs can be beneficial in many ways Absenteeism encouraging front line prevention BY Standard Life February 17 2015 No one is in a better position to spot the first signs of absenteeism than An advisor s take handling a benefits plan crisis BY Chris Pryce Human Capital Benefits February 12 2015 Recently we met with a plan sponsor looking at structural issues in their plan that How your clients can benefit from workplace vaccination programs BY Hannah Robin February 4 2015 Perhaps you ve been on a wellness program campaign amongst your small biz clients You ve been Top benefits trends for 2015 part 2 BY Patti Ryan January 20 2015 In the second part of a two part series Patti Ryan looks at what clients are Top benefits trends for 2015 part 1 BY Patti Ryan January 15 2015 In the first part of a two part series Patti Ryan talks to

    Original URL path: http://www.smallbizadvisor.ca/group-benefits/page/7 (2016-04-26)
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