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  • Review healthcare pooling with your client: part 2 | Small Biz Advisor
    challenge to a small business owner is the amount of risk that they keep says Cathy Fuchs founder of White Willow Benefit Consultants in Stouffville Ont referring to the pool limit Keeping under the limit is vital to keep premiums down One high cost claim could mean a 20 increase in premiums she says Michael Horne partner at Meldrum Horne Associates in Ottawa agrees Most clients don t have a full understanding of the pool limit It s the role of the advisor to educate the client on the financial impact of the pool limit and how it impacts the premium going forward To assess a client s appropriate pool limit Horne says he reviews the last three years of claims In addition to costs a claims analysis can identify what types of drugs account for the greatest percentage of drug spend letting a client know for example that a majority of drug claims are for ailments fixed by diet and exercise He considers the larger context too such as industry data the company s growth outlook and employee demographics When helping clients struggling with increased charges Fuchs says she informs them of other reimbursement options available to employees such

    Original URL path: http://www.smallbizadvisor.ca/group-benefits/review-healthcare-pooling-with-your-client-part-2-3670 (2016-04-26)
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  • Review healthcare pooling with your client | Small Biz Advisor
    each subsequent year Your client s insurance carrier covers claims between the pool limit of your client s plan and these thresholds Industry pooling Most small to mid size Canadian companies have fully insured healthcare plans says Michael Horne partner at Meldrum Horne Associates in Ottawa He says pool limits are typically 10 000 For small to mid size employers I think mandatory industry pooling has helped equalize the playing field because all the carriers prior to that had different pool limits But Cathy Fuchs founder of White Willow Benefit Consultants in Stouffville Ont notes that pool limits as well as premiums are on the rise because of the ever increasing number of high cost drug claims That s exactly what industry pooling was supposed to protect individual businesses from increased charges due to high cost drug claims But Fuchs says now all businesses are asked to take on more risk because of pool limit increases and pay more for doing so increases in pool premiums can vary 5 40 And when your client s pool premium increases there s no way of comparing that increase to the pooled claims paid out by the carrier Insurers are not transparent with how their pools are doing says Fuchs Portability another objective of industry pooling also gets mixed reviews Horne says before industry pooling businesses with high cost claims got stuck with a carrier offering a low pool limit Now that everyone has a level playing field the top 20 companies are all paying in to the same standardized program It s irrelevant now where the carrier goes Those businesses that were handcuffed in the past now have options to go out and seek alternative pricing options and plan design options where they wouldn t have had that option in the past

    Original URL path: http://www.smallbizadvisor.ca/group-benefits/review-healthcare-pooling-with-your-client-3665 (2016-04-26)
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  • Group Benefits | Small Biz Advisor - Part 8
    sell wellness well BY By Hannah Robin November 20 2014 Let s face it even when small businesses have wellness on their wish list they re often Launching a health and wellness program where to start BY Standard Life November 17 2014 Many SME owners believe that a health and wellness program would keep their employees healthy Product Corner The Standard Life Healthy Step Program BY Standard Life November 11 2014 Most SME managers understand the importance of their employees health and wellness but many believe they The next generation of benefits plans BY Kanupriya Vashisht BenefitsCanada com October 23 2014 A little over a decade ago group benefits were standard fare traditional health dental and Taking action on mental illness BY Brian Lindenberg BenefitsCanada com October 6 2014 I recently experienced a great deal of sadness over the passing of someone I didn t Tax changes coming to disability payments BY Brent Delveaux TRG Group Benefits September 23 2014 If disability premiums are paid by an employer any disability claims payment received by an Addressing employee stress BY Sun Life Financial September 18 2014 Mental illness is a significant threat to employers in terms of loss of productivity absenteeism

    Original URL path: http://www.smallbizadvisor.ca/group-benefits/page/8 (2016-04-26)
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  • ROI, metrics key in wellness programs | Small Biz Advisor
    stories he said We know there is a cost with ROI Harrison continued but we know at London Hydro our employees are our most valuable asset I told the board to just trust me But ROI takes time I m glad I took the advice from our wellness provider Harrison said The provider told Harrison You have to give it three to five years Bell Canada had the opposite challenge It had a strong push from its CEO for its mental health program said Marie Hélène Favreau director of mental health workplace practices and disability management But even if you do have this push you need to work at all levels of the company or employees will get the sense they re being forced into training she said Work at all levels to make the initiative a success Measure for measure To show ROI employers need to have the metrics to show these wellness programs are working Niagara Casino has seen a 6 reduction in healthcare claims in the three years its program has been going said health promotion and safety co ordinator Rebecca Rooney Tania Goodine executive vice president and coach of engagement with Libro Credit Union said it

    Original URL path: http://www.smallbizadvisor.ca/group-benefits/roi-metrics-key-in-wellness-programs-3660 (2016-04-26)
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  • Is personalized medicine the future of benefits plans? | Small Biz Advisor
    sooner But do the cost savings from reduced drug wastage justify the extra costs for pharmacogenetic testing A genetic test generally costs at least 1 000 says Prouse In her practice Chin has had patients with breast cancer who have gone to the U S for more complex genetic testing requiring the analysis of a breast tissue sample which cost them approximately 2 500 That allowed the patient to bypass the utilization of a drug that did not work on that tumour Now who pays for the testing she asks Wendy Jackson manager of Canadian benefit programs at Magna International has seen the value of pharmacogenetic testing In our U S divisions we do pay for the testing on some of the drugs that qualify This is cost effective for us in the long term Given that it s early days for genetic testing as an employee benefit many plan sponsors are in the wait and see stage weighing the pros and cons and wondering how they ll pay for it Insurers need to determine the appropriate evidence based approach for coverage For example what are the criteria for plan members to undergo testing Our contracts don t have genetic tests built into them says Martinez If it makes sense to add them contractually to plans we would certainly examine this And for all types of genetic testing there is also the issue of the accuracy of the test results Genetics testing is a probability not a certainty says Chin adding she personally would not disclose a patient s genetic status if it was not required by an insurance company Confidentiality concerns Unlike the U S Canada does not yet have genetic privacy laws meaning employers and insurers could be privy to potentially discriminating personal information Bill S 201 the Genetic Non Discrimination Act has been before the Senate Committee since June 2014 The proposed legislation would amend the Labour Code to protect employees from being required to undergo or disclose the results of a genetic test while providing them with other protections related to genetic testing and test results Meanwhile in September 2014 the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association released its Industry Code Genetic Testing Information for Insurance Underwriting for adoption by its member life and health insurance companies It states in part Where an individual has voluntarily and independently undergone genetic testing insurers may consider those results as part of their risk assessment More than 2 million North Americans are hospitalized each year due to adverse reactions to prescription drugs And what if an employer has access to information indicating its employee may get very sick requiring ongoing care and costly therapies Chances of discrimination can still occur says Prouse However this only pertains to genetic testing for disease risk and not to genetic testing for therapeutic response as is the case with pharmacogenetic testing But questions remain How much information should insurance companies be allowed to have How can a plan member s privacy be ensured

    Original URL path: http://www.smallbizadvisor.ca/group-benefits/is-personalized-medicine-the-future-of-benefits-plans-3639 (2016-04-26)
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  • Help employers make cutbacks and still increase employee engagement | Small Biz Advisor
    plan The company looked at freezing contributions and moving to a DC plan but employees valued having a DB benefit So instead it increased employee contributions modified the early retirement rules and involved the executive team in contributing Employees were willing to increase their contributions to save the DB plan And there was a positive side effect For the first time they truly understood the value of their pension plan explained Paul Holub VP HR with Corby at this year s Best Workplaces Conference in Toronto Corby also had to cut back in other areas including ultimately its headcount But it didn t want employee engagement to suffer so it implemented two major initiatives 1 Corby s Den Corby s annual national conference for employees was often held in exotic locations such as Ireland or Sweden at considerable expense Instead the company decided to hold smaller regional meetings so employees could meet face to face with the executive team A key component of these meetings was the Corby s Den challenge Modelled on the TV show Dragon s Den this initiative encourage employees to work in teams and come up with ideas to help the company sustain long term growth with the executive team serving as the dragons It was so successful nine of the 20 ideas presented went straight to execution Holub said adding in almost every idea there was a nugget that we really liked 2 I Thank Corby also implemented an employee recognition program called I Thank Based on gamification principles and done online employees give each other badges for different achievements there are 14 different badges in total along with a personal congratulatory note Strong achievements get moved up the recognition ladder to bronze silver or gold levels of recognition Gold award recipients get an extra

    Original URL path: http://www.smallbizadvisor.ca/group-benefits/help-employers-make-cutbacks-and-still-increase-employee-engagement-3635 (2016-04-26)
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  • Employers focus on chronic disease | Small Biz Advisor
    as we d like Gove pointed to a Sanofi study that asked plan sponsors what they want out of their benefits plans Fifty seven percent said they want to keep employees healthy and productive 45 want to reduce absenteeism and disability claims and 27 want coverage for treatments of chronic conditions In reality Gove said plans focus on the transactions i e getting claims paid quickly and cost control and they re not focused on changing employee behaviours But some plan sponsors are taking action Sleep Country Canada Sleep Country Canada s top five conditions are blood pressure cholesterol issues depression diabetes and gastrointestinal said Heather Ricketts national manager of employee and labour relations And the health costs per employee have not been decreasing over the past five years It implemented a Biggest Loser program the winner had to have a combined minimum loss of 10 body weight and 18 pounds The grand prize was a trip for two to the Caribbean There were 135 participants abut 11 of the workforce and they lost a total of 3 34 of body weight and almost 900 pounds Ricketts noted that while the participants made positive changes e g making healthy choices this effect trickled down to their families too Unilever Unilever wanted to help its employee take action to improve their health both physical and mental and nutrition and well being Each participant takes a health risk assessment HRA to get their status and numbers From that we offer programs and resources and education for employees relating to three key areas nutrition mental resilience and exercise said Laura Murray North American wellness and Canadian benefits manager with Unilever If we re going to meet growth objectives we need healthy employees she continued If employees can bring their best selves to work

    Original URL path: http://www.smallbizadvisor.ca/group-benefits/employers-focus-on-chronic-disease-3631 (2016-04-26)
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  • Benefits of Big Data | Small Biz Advisor
    Type 2 diabetes is growing fast with 60 000 new cases annually Nine out of 10 Canadians with diabetes have Type 2 which is largely preventable by making healthy lifestyle choices The Public Health Agency of Canada says 60 of Canadians over the age of 20 have a chronic disease and an additional 20 are at risk of developing a chronic condition David Willows vice president strategic market solutions with Green Shield Canada says there has historically been a focus on high cost drugs but thinks there should be an equal focus on managing high cost drugs and chronic disease management And data can play a pivotal role A few years ago his company noticed a rise of chronic disease in its drug claims data and saw high uses of cholesterol and hypertension medications among employees in their 40s 50s and 60s Also as much as half of them weren t taking their medications properly The company did a study where over six months a group of its plan sponsors members spoke with a pharmacist who educated them about the causes of hypertension and coached them on drug adherence The other group had their medication prescribed as usual The results showed those who received counselling were able to get their blood pressure under control at a much higher rate The company has also launched a pharmacist health coaching program which will be a standard part of all its benefits plans The challenge for smaller plans Larger plan sponsors will likely benefit more from using data and analytics compared to smaller ones They will have more claims use and demographic data and larger data sets mean more accurate outcomes when building models says O Brien Smaller plans might not have access to as much advisory and consultant support Or they might not have enough people to sift through and analyze the data And compared to a larger employer it may be more difficult to spot trends While this may be challenging Willows doesn t think that should discourage them he thinks they should try to get hold of whatever data they can Privacy can also be an issue The industry needs to proceed cautiously particularly with small companies or for rarely used specialty products says Mark Rolnick assistant vice president product development group benefits with Sun Life Financial Due to confidentiality we can t have situations where a company knows which drugs specific individuals are taking But not all worry privacy will be a big issue for plan sponsors You don t need to look much further than Facebook to see how willing people are to disclose what s happening in their personal lives says Miles Data driven Securely protecting plan member information is an ongoing area of importance says Rolnick A number of high profile companies have been hacked recently including Sony and Target And earlier this year U S health insurer Anthem was a victim of hackers who obtained personal information e g names birthdates addresses social security numbers

    Original URL path: http://www.smallbizadvisor.ca/group-benefits/benefits-of-big-data-3626 (2016-04-26)
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