June 30, 2015 – Press Release
A Great Benefits Plan – Affordable Competitive Advantage
With the Canadian trucking industry forecasting a shortage of 33,000 drivers by 2020, the ongoing health of existing drivers, and those that will enter the industry is a big concern. It’s part of the reason that having a great benefits plan is important. Though many truck drivers face a number of health problems, including sleep apnea, smoking and obesity, with the right benefits plan, companies can keep current drivers healthier and therefore more productive, and attract new drivers at the same time.
It can be an overwhelming process to buy group benefits to protect your employees and attract new ones. There needs to a good balance between value, and a comprehensive set of benefits focusing on cost-containment and sustainability over the long haul. Some key questions to ask include:
1. Cost-containment: Will the coverage you receive help you keep spiraling costs under control?
2. Maximizing value: Is there a long-term sustainable plan to help to minimize cost increases at renewal time without sacrificing benefit coverage?
3. Quick and easy claim payments service: Is there a high level of customer service to help make claim payments a pain-free experience?
4. Customized and innovative products designed to provide you value: Do the plan and provider you’re considering demonstrate innovative products and structures to help keep costs under control and still add overall value to your program?
5. Transparency: Is the insurance provider you are considering showing you exactly how your premium is calculated so you are able to make fully informed decisions?
6. Trust: Based on the above, is the provider a company you can trust?
One of the biggest challenges facing the trucking industry is containing the spiraling costs of long-term disability and the cost of prescription drugs. At an average of 51% of the cost of a benefits plan, it is a challenge facing many associations and industries across Canada, not just trucking. Having been deeply involved with Canada’s trucking associations for many years, GroupHEALTH Benefit Solutions® was aware of the challenges posed by long-term disability in particular. It was the situation of a specific trucking company client dealing with long-term disability costs that led to the development of a different approach; Canada’s original Mid-Term Disability™ (MTD).
Working closely with key employers, insurers, and Advisor Partners, the unique MTD product was exactly the solution that was needed. MTD has collectively saved trucking companies many hundreds of thousands of dollars by offering them a disability coverage option between the traditional short-term (STD) and long-term (LTD) coverage.
Typically, STD coverage starts after sick leave ends, and is generally 15-26 weeks. LTD coverage begins when STD or EI benefits run out and usually pays for up to two years if the employee is unable to perform their regular occupation. LTD only continues after two years if the employee is disabled and unable to perform in any occupation.
Here’s where GroupHEALTH made a seemingly simple innovation. Your insurer puts away a “reserve” to cover the costs of a potential disability claim. They used to have to put away enough to cover a long-term claim. (A traditional LTD reserve can be expensive – it’s 40% of the premium cost)! But with GroupHEALTH’s unique Mid-term Disability product, once STD coverage ends, MTD provides disability coverage for a maximum of two years requiring a smaller 25% reserve for your regular occupation. Since just 30% or so of cases ever get to LTD, it can be a 10 – 15% saving for midsize to larger companies. MTD is only available to companies with 200 or more employees, so the savings can be substantial when annualized across hundreds of drivers.
GroupHEALTH has new approaches to help companies cope with the cost of prescription drugs as well. Some companies have added a Managed Rx™ program to help lower overall prescription drug costs and create additional savings. Managed Rx encourages employees to purchase less costly, but equally effective generic drugs, through a central dispensing pharmacy (CDP). It rewards employees who purchase generic drugs (versus brand-name drugs) thus enabling increased coverage, or for the same coverage to go farther. If the employee also purchases the drug from a CDP, as opposed to retail, the cost is further reduced. CDPs offer companies lower costs through cheaper dispensing fees, generic drugs, and longer days of supply to help avoid unnecessary prescription fees. CDPs also offer personalized care and expertise in managing the drug supply chain to drive costs down. There’s also the added convenience of having the prescription couriered direct to home for their place of work! Managed Rx allows employees to have a direct effect on how much they spend on prescription drugs and the overall costs of the company drug plan.
The combination of MTD and Managed Rx is having a real impact on lowering benefit costs by tackling the root causes of the costs themselves. Instead of just passing increases on as others do, GroupHEALTH is actually working to keep costs down in the first place!
Canada’s Original Mid-term Disability™ and Managed Rx™ are two elements of an overall GroupHEALTH benefits plan. Designed specifically for Canada’s trucking industry, the AdvantagePLUS™ plan offers all of the following:
• Competitive rates
• Benefit enhancements important to employees
• Customized benefit plan designs
• WEBS™ Online Administration (WEBS) ? an easy, online administration system that consolidates all insurers and all benefits
• Next generation Accident and Serious Illness (ASI) benefits
AdvantagePLUS™ plans also include value-added services to give employees the resources to deal with difficult situations. Services typically include DMI’s disability management services, an Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) and a medical second opinion service. Along with MTD and Managed RX, AdvantagePLUS™ provides Canada’s truckers value for the long haul!
We know that Canada’s trucking companies are trying to cope with driver shortages, and that you’re doing so in a challenging cost environment. The right benefits plan can help with both of these issues. It will keep the costs of a competitive plan down by tackling key costs drivers like drugs and disability. And, because it’s a plan that will go farther and has value-adds to keep your employees healthier, it enhances your competitiveness as you try to acquire and retain new employees. For more background, you can visit www.grouphealth.ca/advantageplus.