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  • 3 drug trends you need to know | Small Biz Advisor
    He pointed to the large number of higher cost specialty and biologic drugs coming to market as evidence for example there are more than 200 cancer and immune system drugs in the pipeline at the final stage of FDA approval From 2013 to 2014 the number of claimants across Canada rose by 2 4 and claims went up by 2 9 per TELUS Health s book of business explained John Anacleto manager business analysis with TELUS Health Analytics The greatest spend is among those ages 50 to 59 For this group diabetes is the biggest cost driver with a significant spend on insulin and diabetic devices such as test strips But can plan sponsors actually do anything about it You can t really change your plan design to curb costs for all drugs or devices especially for diabetes or insulin said Anacleto But what you should do is look at what your plan is doing to discourage people from becoming part of that group what can you do to help the patients at that point before they move on to the final stage of using insulin 2 Mobile health is on the rise We re seeing a very consumer driven technology enabled medication management trend that s emerging explained Ng Mobile health apps in particular are becoming more prevalent he said noting more than 43 000 apps are categorized as health and fitness or medical in the Apple iTunes store Use of wearables is also growing he said as consumers and plan members are increasingly willing and demanding to monitor their health status Not only does this provide another data source for benefits providers and plan sponsors it may also lead to greater willingness among employees to participate in workplace wellness programs he added 3 Pharmacies will take on a

    Original URL path: http://www.smallbizadvisor.ca/group-benefits/3-drug-trends-you-need-to-know-3609 (2016-04-26)
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  • Take your pills: why non-adherence happens | Small Biz Advisor
    providing easy affordable coverage for the medications they need Empowering their employees with easy claims submission additional tools such as a mobile drug app from an insurance carrier that provides information at the point of care can break down the barriers to adherence even further Characteristics of the disease In many cases conditions with few symptoms or those that have symptom free periods are more likely to lead to non adherence as they do not remind patients to take their medication hypertension is one such example Also if a condition requires the patient to take more than one drug the likelihood of missing or mixing up the dosage timing or sequencing is far greater Chronic conditions and lifelong treatment are also risk factors for non adherence One strategy organizations can employ is to review their plan demographics to determine the chronic conditions that occur most frequently From there they can develop a wellness program that helps employees in the prevention and or management stages of that condition Characteristics of the medication and how it s packaged and dispensed It s not surprising that experiencing side effects is perhaps the single largest cause of non adherence Medication that is perceived to diminish a patient s quality of life or causes other physical or mental health issues is less likely to be taken as prescribed But it s not just side effects that can lead to non adherence The packaging and overall formulation of the medicine can also play a role Complicated packaging such as childproof vials or complex treatments such as having to take more than one dose a day or using an inhaler or other device can have a negative impact on adherence The benefits of drug adherence First the bad news about drug adherence in the short term costs

    Original URL path: http://www.smallbizadvisor.ca/group-benefits/take-your-pills-why-non-adherence-happens-3608 (2016-04-26)
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  • EAP and wellness trends to watch in 2015 | Small Biz Advisor
    in the U S in 2015 For the second consecutive year CGP s EAP utilization in North America increased 7 across its book of business Reasons included challenges individuals reported in accessing alternative community mental health resources due to financial hardships and requesting authorization to exceed EAP session limits due to being placed on a waiting list for a higher level of care Severity of problems to increase An increase in problem severity or level of psychological stress is expected to increase which in turn makes EAPs that much more important in addressing serious employee mental health concerns Emergence of fatigue management While the correlation of a good night s sleep to one s ability to function on a daily basis has been known for years recent research is shedding light on the link between inadequate sleep and an increased risk for diabetes obesity heart disease and depression As a result organizational safety and wellness programs should position themselves to offer services that target the underlying causes of fatigue which range from undiagnosed medical conditions to unhealthy behavioral and lifestyle habits Rising awareness of the value of fee based programs There s a growing recognition that free or embedded EAPs typically do not offer the same level of service as fee based programs and thus may not best serve the organization s primary objective More organizations are viewing EAP through the lens of risk management and productivity and realize the value of increasing employee participation in order to increase utilization positive behavior change and ultimately workplace outcomes Technology to drive EAPs wellness Recent innovations in technology and predictive analytics are changing and will continue to drive EAP and wellness service delivery Some EAPs have already begun to include secure video and evidence based smart phone apps into their product offering

    Original URL path: http://www.smallbizadvisor.ca/group-benefits/eap-and-wellness-trends-to-watch-in-2015-3589 (2016-04-26)
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  • Fitting wellness into your client’s benefits program: part 2 | Small Biz Advisor
    nationally i e February Heart Health Month but also areas that are important to them as an organization It s a good starting point as they can send out a communication and what s great about that is it is continuous she explains This allows employers to be less episodic in their wellness offerings and better enables them to work with vendors to have a more consistent wellness strategy over time Others agree about the customized nature of wellness programs Neil Curtis owner consultant with NCHR Consulting and Recruitment Services says wellness is not a product He explains that advisors who attempt to package wellness as a one size fits all solution are missing the boat When the client sometimes has a problem understanding the advice advisors have a tendency to put a bow on it and say here s the product he notes But says Curtis this is where advisors are getting it wrong and what fits for one company does not necessarily fit for another And much like Morneau s Pawlikowski Curtis says you need to understand the landscape or in this case demographic make up of the company in order to provide solutions that make sense Understanding things like who uses a single versus family plan what therapeutic drugs are being used by members or absenteeism information that is available to business owners to better make the right wellness choices Pawlikowski says that employers get annuals from their insurance companies something advisors can review to determine what areas are driving costs They can then build a wellness program around that information Those are the levers that are going to impact that organization she says And it doesn t cost a lot of money There are so many vendor partners that will come in and do programs or

    Original URL path: http://www.smallbizadvisor.ca/group-benefits/fitting-wellness-into-your-client%e2%80%99s-benefits-program-part-2-3578 (2016-04-26)
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  • Helping employers handle diabetes in the workplace | Small Biz Advisor
    ability to work and other employer cost considerations While the price tags seem daunting Sotto feels that employers need to be proactive about diabetes from screening to covering drugs We need to target this through early screening he says Getting to these employees early can help manage symptoms and may reduce or even prevent their chances of serious complications down the road There are six million Canadians who have metabolic syndrome and pre diabetes and don t know they have it Taking action can also have a big impact on the workplace instead of increased absences and short and long term disability leaves employees with managed diabetes can be more productive at work Sotto says that employers need to be counselled about the best way to educate their employees about diabetes and to take action in the workplace 1 Launch an education campaign Focus on pre diabetes a condition that can lead to the development of Type 2 diabetes and can be reversed through diet and exercise Make employees aware of the symptoms and invite them to discuss these symptoms with their doctor 2 Encourage diabetic employees to take ownership for their health Provide access to information of Type 2 diabetes and literature about prevention strategies Initiate wellness campaigns in the workplace that can help these employees make lifestyle changes This can include providing a gym subsidy instead of a Christmas bonus having a preferred arrangement with a gym Or bringing in a weight loss provider like Weight Watchers or have regular nutritionist visits to provide dietary tips 3 Empower the workforce encouraging employees to eat better and exercise Provide them with step counters Encourage them to form walking clubs And remind them Type 2 diabetes doesn t have to be a life long condition This can change your life

    Original URL path: http://www.smallbizadvisor.ca/group-benefits/helping-employers-handle-diabetes-in-the-workplace-3574 (2016-04-26)
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  • Group Benefits | Small Biz Advisor - Part 9
    Group Benefits August 28 2014 We hear more than ever that employees are asking for choice or flexibility when it Health risk assessments can highlight employee needs BY Andrea Todd ADT Consulting August 26 2014 Unless a small business has an unlimited health and wellness budget when the rubber meets Help your clients manage their group benefits costs BY Conor Quinn The Co operators August 19 2014 When it comes to helping your clients choose the right group benefits plan for their What is the living benefit in a group plan BY Rob Bogress TRG Group Benefits August 19 2014 Although it is not well known there is a clause within most group insurance policies Handling group benefits on maternity parental leave BY Carlo Nichini TRG Group Benefits August 14 2014 Many plan sponsors don t know how to handle group benefits when an employee goes on Health and Wellness The value of mobilization BY Standard Life August 12 2014 Who says that health and wellness programs are a luxury reserved for big companies The Medication non compliance needs to be addressed BY Rob Taylor TRG Benefits August 7 2014 If employees aren t taking their prescribed medications the impact

    Original URL path: http://www.smallbizadvisor.ca/group-benefits/page/9 (2016-04-26)
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  • The cost equation for benefits plans | Small Biz Advisor
    industry of the plan sponsor Insurance products like life insurance are effectively a commodity There is little difference between the various products on the market Differences between insurers preferred industries and costs reflect the amount of risk they are willing to assume Reimbursement of routine expenses Routine expenses often comprise the bulk of an employee benefits plan s costs Routine expenses such as prescription drugs eyeglasses physiotherapy and dental procedures are high frequency and relatively low cost These costs are more directly affected by inflation Claims costs have been trending upwards and will continue to do so Beyond the actual dollar cost of your group s specific claims there are three main factors influencing the cost of your plan Reserves are charged to build a surplus that protects the benefits provider against fluctuations in claiming patterns Fluctuations occur for a variety of reasons many of which are employer specific A common example is a company with a slow time of year when employees are more likely to make appointments for the services they require Inflation factors reflect the insurer s forecast of higher costs within your benefits plan Inflation in the health and dental marketplace is rising faster than it does in the economy at large Each year the provincial dental associations release a new fee guide slowly increasing the costs of procedures Within health care costs new expensive prescription drugs are introduced to the market over time while older drugs become more widely adopted adding to overall costs Trend factors take into account the likelihood that over time as employees age overall claims costs will increase due to a natural decline in health Also costs can increase due to the addition of new family members and the increase in popularity in specific services such as massage therapy Routine medical

    Original URL path: http://www.smallbizadvisor.ca/group-benefits/the-cost-equation-for-benefits-plans-144 (2016-04-26)
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  • A critical look at group critical illness insurance | Small Biz Advisor
    plan are the structure and the definitions A bundled structure with other benefits from the same carrier a factor that obscures the real cost of the C I I incorporates a claims loss ratio based on life accidental death dismemberment AD D long term disability and C I I claims experiences A C I I claim is paid in a lump sum while LTD provides a monthly benefit Since life and AD D claims are infrequent occurrences if the benefit isn t properly priced it could have a substantial impact on renewal rates A bundled plan also risks losing the grandfathering of pre existing conditions and exposing some employees to having claims which would otherwise be paid denied if the benefit program is shopped and moved causing a reset of pre existing conditions A stand alone plan structure is often a better choice Pricing is transparent costs more stable and it provides the flexibility to periodically shop other benefits without exposing employees to the potential of denied claims The single most important consideration when purchasing C I I is the strength of the wording of the covered conditions definitions Definitions can be significantly different from plan to plan and will determine if and when a claim is paid Don t read a list of covered conditions and assume you will be automatically covered for all of the events listed There are significant differences in claim payment procedures amongst C I I plans One example is Parkinson s Disease a disease that can be definitively diagnosed Usual symptoms are muscle rigidity tremors and bradykinesis abnormal slowness of movement sluggishness of physical and mental response With those symptoms and a definite diagnosis you might expect a C I I plan to pay a claim after the 30 day survival period but not

    Original URL path: http://www.smallbizadvisor.ca/group-benefits/a-critical-look-at-group-critical-illness-insurance-143 (2016-04-26)
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