How to choose the right groupe insurance plan with your employer
Your employer offered you a group insurance plan? Consider yourself lucky! You’ll be able to take advantage of several types of coverage. And they cover a lot more than a trip to the dentist (which costs plenty on its own!). But you still need to determine which plan best suits your needs, and your family’s, too. Let’s take a closer look.
What is group insurance?
Let’s start with the basics. What exactly is group insurance? It’s insurance that completes the healthcare and income security programs offered by the government. It helps you maintain your physical and mental health, and your family’s too.
The principle is simple. As with all insurance, you pay a pre-determined amount to protect you against potential catastrophe, illness or accidents. But with group insurance, the risk is spread out among all employees. That reduces the premium amount that each person has to pay. They also get access to expensive medication or services they would not otherwise be able to afford. For example, you can visit a physiotherapist, massage therapist or a psychologist. All employees chip in to protect all workers who contribute to the plan. A good example that demonstrates we’re better off as a team!
What are the advantages?
Group insurance offers many benefits compared to the Public Prescription Drug Insurance Plan (PPDIP):
- It costs less for greater coverage.
- It covers your immediate family members.
- There’s no medical exam required.
Since prescription drug insurance is mandatory in Quebec, people with group insurance can withdraw from the public plan and take advantage of better coverage provided at work.
What are the main coverages?
In addition to protecting employees, their spouses and minor children, group insurance also covers children under 25 who are studying full-time. So it’s definitely an asset. There are some great coverages to choose from. But which ones?
Medical and dental care insurance
According to the Autorité des marchés financiers, based on your contract, group health insurance helps to pay for common healthcare fees such as:
- Prescription drugs
- Specialized healthcare professionals
- Transportation by ambulance
- Medical devices
Plus, you’ll be reimbursed, in part or in whole, for dental care expenses, such as:
Disability insurance covers you when an illness or injury prevents you from working or doing your usual activities over a relatively long period. The definition of disability varies from one group insurance contract to the next, so make sure to read yours to avoid any unpleasant surprises!
Life insurance is typically included under group insurance. However, this coverage only lasts as long as you participate in the plan. It terminates as soon as you retire or change employers. In most cases, its value is equivalent to your salary.
Sometimes, group insurance can include travel insurance (your credit card may offer it, too). It covers:
- Emergency medical care abroad
- Trip cancellation or interruption
- Loss of your baggage
- Accidental death
If your group insurance doesn’t cover travel insurance, consider purchasing it as soon as you book your trip. You’ll have peace of mind.
Why do coverages vary?
How come group insurance varies from one employer to another? It all depends on the options the employer chooses for its staff members.
The types of group insurance
The employer can choose from many group plans. The first thing to do is identify the plan that would be most beneficial to the employees. For example, a company with young employees may have less use for prescription drug benefits than a company with older employees.
Plus, many employers offer an à la carte plan, where the coverage options are much more flexible. In this case, you can choose from coverages that are best suited to your needs for that year.
Some employers also offer health spending accounts. These involve a sum of money set aside to reimburse health expenses for their employees. This way, staff members can get a set amount to spend as they see fit.
What about the price?
As with any other service, the greater and more flexible a coverage is, the more it will cost. That’s why it’s vital to properly analyze your actual needs before deciding. This way, you’ll be paying for coverage you really need. Orthodontic care is great, but not while the little one is still in the crib!
In summary, group insurance can be a real boon for you and your loved ones. It gives you peace of mind for a reasonable cost.