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  • News | Small Biz Advisor - Part 194
    must BY Bonnie Siemens February 1 2011 For business owners looking to attract and retain top talent providing group insurance has become a critical business investment Small business employees at a disadvantage over retirement savings BY Craig Sebastiano February 1 2011 Small business employees in the United States are at a disadvantage when it comes to retirement savings according to a Transamerica survey PREVIOUS 189 190 191 192 193 194

    Original URL path: http://www.smallbizadvisor.ca/news/page/194 (2016-04-26)
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  • Biosimilars starting to take off | Small Biz Advisor
    December 2015 almost two years after getting Health Canada approval the country s first significant biosimilar medication finally received the green light for reimbursement from the pan Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance Provinces will likely begin reimbursing the drug by March and private plans may start seeing claims sooner Health Canada approved the medication Inflectra infliximab to treat four of the six indications treated by Remicade Canada s top selling arthritis drug Inflectra is a subsequent entry biologic also referred to as a biosimilar which means it came to market following the patent expiry of Remicade Based on what s happening in Europe biosimilars cost 20 to 30 less than the originator although there have been reports from consultancies such as PDCI Market Access of discounts as high as 69 But unlike generic copies of traditional medications the interchangeability of biosimilars and originators has yet to be determined Until that happens most regulatory bodies including Health Canada don t subscribe to automatic substitutions So at this point Inflectra s use would likely be for patients who aren t already on Remicade Inflectra though is just the beginning Pfizer has 11 other biosimilar products in development in all of the key autoimmune conditions

    Original URL path: http://www.smallbizadvisor.ca/group-benefits/biosimilars-starting-to-take-off-4250 (2016-04-26)
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  • Health outcomes and personal choice collide | Small Biz Advisor
    form of wellness criteria that employees must meet in order to receive full benefits under their company sponsored health plan Major organizations all over the U S have taken very serious steps to manage the high price of healthcare associated with unhealthy lifestyle choices In fact as a part of Obamacare s Affordable Care Act 2014 employers can actually charge an extra 30 of the total cost employer and employee portions of individual or family health benefits coverage under a section called Wellness Exception to HIPAA Nondiscrimination Provisions which allows premium discounts or rebates or modification to otherwise applicable cost sharing including copayments deductibles or coinsurance in return for adherence to certain programs of health promotion and disease prevention The takeaway here should not be the wiping of our collective brows in relief that it s not happening in Canada but instead how will we be prepared when it does Although legal experts may not be wrong in labelling the Quebec employer s non smoker hiring practices discriminatory at its core it s about personal choice preventable diseases and the higher health costs associated with treatment In Canada the cost to employers of private insurance plans is still masked by our provincial healthcare systems The small cost of maintenance drugs for disease states such as cholesterol high blood pressure and even type 2 diabetes hides the real issue rates of preventable disease are on the rise and are increasing at a frightening trajectory The cost is not simply for drugs Cardiovascular disease had a total spend in 2014 of more than 20 9 billion on physician s services hospital costs lost wages and decreased productivity And one of the fastest growing preventable diseases type 2 diabetes is estimated to have cost Canadians 6 billion in 2015 and accounts for 30

    Original URL path: http://www.smallbizadvisor.ca/group-benefits/health-outcomes-and-personal-choice-collide-4226 (2016-04-26)
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  • 56% of employers use mobile technology to support employee health: survey | Small Biz Advisor
    than 200 employers 70 of whom are multinational organizations It found that mobile technology is the largest growth area since the study s 2013 findings which saw just a 16 mobile usage In relation to mobile technology the survey found 51 use mobile apps for health care benefits up from 32 in 2013 36 may add this technology within the next three years Only 15 use texting or SMS for health or financial related messaging Mobile technology is the highest priority for senior management at 32 Though the survey found that 31 of organizations use gamification when third party providers are included it tops the list of technologies used Three quarters 74 use contests such as weight loss or walking competitions with 17 are considering adopting them over the next few years More than half 52 of respondents incorporate game like features in wellbeing resources and another 30 expect to do so in the next three years Reflecting the need for results driven data activity tracking is now used by 37 of respondents with another 37 planning to adopt the technology in the coming years Measuring the impact of technology supported wellness programs remains challenging for employers particularly where direct cause and effect cannot be quantified said Scot Marcotte client technology leader at Xerox HR Services Wearable sensors offer an opportunity for better measurement but adoption of work sponsored wearable usage has been slow due to a variety of reasons including cost of the technology and privacy concerns According to the survey the greatest barrier preventing organizations from using these new technologies is competition from higher priority issues in their budgets Concerns around confidentiality and privacy issues were also identified by more than 30 of respondents as barriers across all categories particularly for social media Changes in benefit program design

    Original URL path: http://www.smallbizadvisor.ca/group-benefits/56-of-employers-use-mobile-technology-to-support-employee-health-survey-4220 (2016-04-26)
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  • What’s the impact of emerging cancer treatments on benefits plans? | Small Biz Advisor
    Care Summit in Toronto this morning with a panel discussion focused on emerging immuno oncology treatments that involve drugs that target the body s immune system to help fight the disease While the treatments are promising the side effects can still be significant and have an impact on the workplace said panel moderator Louise Binder The side effects in some cases can include loss of part of the immune system despite otherwise being effective in treating the cancer the conference heard Other issues include the potential use of genetic testing that can help determine whether a particular treatment will be effective on an individual While the panellists agreed testing can help make treatment more affordable should insurers have access to the information It s a difficult question but panellist Joan Weir director of health and dental policy at the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association said they should She emphasized the need for both sides to have full information in order to determine the right price for things like life insurance In the absence of that probably everyone will need to bear some higher prices she said Of course with drug prices rising another issue is the cost of new treatments As Binder noted the private sector covers 58 of pharmaceutical expenditures in Canada As a result she said many plan sponsors are getting more proactive in deciding what they ll cover It could mean that it will take longer to come to a private drug plan said Weir acknowledging that insurers are looking for ways to manage costs but suggesting it s a good thing science is playing a bigger role in decision making The conference continues this morning with a panel discussion about Benefits Canada s research which asked employees diagnosed with cancer about their experiences with their

    Original URL path: http://www.smallbizadvisor.ca/group-benefits/whats-the-impact-of-emerging-cancer-treatments-on-benefits-plans-4214 (2016-04-26)
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  • Hacking your way to a healthier workforce | Small Biz Advisor
    of group benefits plans In our view the best way to control health care costs is to prevent illness and absenteeism to be there for employees every step of the way to help them take control of their physical and mental health said Josée Dixon senior vice president of group and business insurance at Desjardins Technology can help promote health because it allows for new communications tools to reach employees And with the rise of millennials in the workforce technology focused options are an important avenue for engagement They re the most connected generation in the history of humanity and to do this differently for them would not make sense said Luc Sirois co founder and executive director at Hacking Health and HH Accelerator Sirois is partnering with Desjardins and spoke at the forum Some examples of developments that can help improve workplace health include a sleep monitor that can connect employees who have trouble sleeping with health care professionals or technology that scans the language employees are using in digital communications to identify early signs of psychological stress The technology not only identifies signs it then confidentially provides the employee with information on how to take action Given the

    Original URL path: http://www.smallbizadvisor.ca/group-benefits/hacking-your-way-to-a-healthier-workforce-4202 (2016-04-26)
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  • 7 ways your clients can communicate benefits better | Small Biz Advisor
    Basis Benefits Different companies provide a lot of additional services in terms of wellness Employees need to be made aware that they are easily accessible and at no additional cost That tends to really improve the buy in Patrick Hill a consultant with Accompass suggests resending preferred provider arrangements on a monthly or quarterly basis versus annually Not everyone uses them right away so regular reminders could help employees become more familiar 2 Seminars Educational seminars are another way of making people aware of what is available Kotsopoulos team offers regular seminars to its clients Generally when we are starting with a new group plan we run a seminar to explain the core benefits Some clients like us to come in once a year and do an educational seminar 3 Promote carrier technology Make sure employees have access to and information about member websites or any cell phone apps that could make claims easy Regularly inform them of any updates Employers get this information from their carriers but many are not mindful of passing it on Hill says But keeping them informed is an effective way to make employees better engaged with their benefits 4 Reminders about annual claim filing deadlines for core and HCSA plan If you want employees to make use of the plan the more reminders you give them on different things the better Hills says 5 Employee assistance program The employee assistance program is another add on you can have on your plan Kotsopoulos says That essentially is a phone number that employees can call confidentially for referral to a psychiatrist or councilor etc What a lot of employees don t understand is you can also call if you need a referral to a lawyer or other such services You re able to get a discount

    Original URL path: http://www.smallbizadvisor.ca/group-benefits/7-ways-your-clients-can-communicate-benefits-better-4173 (2016-04-26)
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  • Easy ways to boost employee benefit enrollment | Small Biz Advisor
    some of the lower salary levels may find a percentage cost prohibitive especially single parents with no alternative coverage options These employees may opt out of the benefits based on cost he adds In such cases employers could consider plans with different rates for different classes You need to analyze what suits your situation best a one size fits all approach a single family flat rate or a per employee rate says Hill In other words it s important to really get a pulse on the employees says Stephanie Kotsopoulos group benefits specialist at Basis Wealth and Basis Benefits A lot of times when we set up benefits plans we really look to the philosophy of how the employer wants the business to be run whether it s focusing on benefits as a key component of compensation or to provide for families and offer flexibility in that It s important to note in most cases small group benefit plans are set up with the default 100 participation requirement Some carriers may allow non mandatory participation but if the advisor doesn t set it up that way the contract usually defaults to a 100 participation Hill says So if you don t want to force single parents without an alternate spousal plan for example to pay the premiums it s important to opt for non mandatory participation 3 Enable While it s not the employer s responsibility to analyze everyone s spousal plans letting them know the pros and cons of enrolling in one or both plans can help them make an informed decision Explain to them this is our plan this is what it costs this is what it covers And encourage them to talk to their spouse review their plan determine their family s needs and expectations throughout the

    Original URL path: http://www.smallbizadvisor.ca/group-benefits/easy-ways-to-boost-employee-benefit-enrollment-4172 (2016-04-26)
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