Group Insurance: More Than Just Financial Benefits!

Group insurance

In collaboration with Assure Direct

The world of insurance can sometimes be difficult to grasp. There are many products available and the vocabulary is complex. As a customer, do you ever wonder if you’re paying the right price for the protection you have? Before taking out an individual insurance policy, it is essential to consider the group insurance you could benefit from. 

This can cover a wide range of needs, including disability protection, dental care and medication. Group insurance has many benefits for both employers and employees. Let’s dive into the heart of the matter!

What is group insurance?

Group insurance is part of the health benefits an employer can offer. Unions and professional associations sometimes also offer such insurance. This insurance is called “group” because it is offered to all members of a group, such as all employees of a company, all executives of an organization, etc.

For such group insurance, the employer signs an insurance contract for the benefit of its employees. Since it’s the employer who subscribes to this protection, they pay part or all of the premiums. As an employer, you can find group insurance by dealing with a broker like Assure Direct.

An employee who benefits from group insurance is covered as a member of the plan. But that’s not all. Their spouse, minor children, and sometimes even children aged up to 25 who are full-time students are also covered. When you file a claim, it’s the insurance company that manages the benefits.

As an employee: what are the benefits of group insurance?

Group insurance has several advantages over individual insurance. First of all, since your employer pays for part or all of the premiums, it usually costs you significantly less than an individual policy. The process is also much simpler. There’s no need to ask for quotes and weigh the pros and cons of each provider. Unlike individual insurance, you don’t deal directly with the insurer.

Next, once you join the group insurance plan, you can withdraw from the public drug insurance plan of the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec (RAMQ). You now benefit from drug insurance that is probably more generous than the one offered by the government.

Last but not least, the third advantage is membership without proof of insurability. Say goodbye to health checks and blood tests! Generally, when your employer offers group insurance, it opens the door to many protections like life insurance, disability, travel, and more without requiring you to undergo a medical exam.

Mandatory Drug Insurance

In Quebec, you must be covered by a drug insurance plan. The RAMQ’s public plan covers people who do not have access to a private plan like group insurance. As soon as you find a job that offers group insurance that includes drug insurance, you must join it. The same rule applies if it’s your spouse who has group insurance. Even if you don’t have access to group insurance with your own employer, you must join your spouse’s plan. If you feel that your needs are not fully met with this group insurance, you are free to take out additional individual insurance to supplement it.

Eligibility for Group Insurance

Some people cannot join the group insurance offered by an employer. Employees 65 years old and over, contract and temporary employees, and freelancers do not have access to it. With the exception of these special cases, an employer or insurer should not refuse your membership in group insurance.

As an employer, should you offer group insurance?

If you’re an employer, group insurance represents much more than an expense. What happens when your employees do not receive the care they need most? They may fall sick more often, take leave, and be frequently absent. You then face a decrease in productivity. The remedy is simple! Group insurance is a perfect tool to minimize the impact of your employee’s health status. By offering them coverage for the services they need, it promotes a quick return to work in case of accident or illness.

Moreover, group insurance helps you attract and retain the best employees. When choosing between two roughly equal job offers, a potential employee will compare the health benefits offered by future employers to make their decision. If your group insurance is more attractive than the competing company, you will have a competitive advantage. Once well-insured, your employees will be more satisfied with their job and will perceive you as a compassionate employer who understands their reality.

From a tax point of view, group insurance allows employees to maximize their total compensation. Without this important health benefit, they must use their after-tax income to pay for a variety of health care services. As an employer, taking out group insurance will cost you less in tax than paying the equivalent in salary, taking into account income tax deductions. Group insurance is a win-win choice! To get the best price for your group insurance, ask a broker for quotes.

What is covered by group insurance?

Group insurance offers a variety of financial protections. The main ones include life insurance, disability, illness, accidental death and dismemberment, dental care, and travel.

Life insurance

What will your spouse and children do if you die tomorrow morning? Will they have enough money to maintain their standard if living? Nobody likes to consider this scenario, but good insurance can give you peace of mind on this matter. Life insurance normally applies to the employee and their family. If the employee, their spouse or their children die, a sum of money is paid to the named beneficiaries.

Disability insurance

Sometimes called wage insurance, it allows the employee to receive part of their usual income if they are temporarily unable to work. For example, an accident could prevent you from performing your tasks and force you to take leave. During your recovery, your disability insurance benefits will allow you to continue paying your bills as normal and prevent you from falling into debt.

Critical illness insurance

About thirty days after the diagnosis of a covered critical illness, your insurance grants you a tax-free, lump sum payment. This sum can be very useful to compensate for your loss of income during your recovery or to replace the income of a loved one who takes time off work to take care of you. This way, you can devote all your energy to healing. It can also help you cover the cost of treatments not covered by public insurance and receive home care, for example.

Accidental death & dismemberment insurance 

If you have an accident that leads to dismemberment (like amputation) or your death, this insurance could help. An accident of such magnitude definitely has consequences on your personal life and perhaps on your ability to resume work. Therefore, it would be very helpful to you and your family in case of disaster.

Health insurance

In Quebec and the rest of Canada, the health system is partially public. Health or medical care insurance helps you pay for what is not covered, like your medications, various equipment (like crutches), eye exams, paramedical care like physiotherapy, and more.

Dental care insurance 

A visit to the dentist can be very expensive, especially when the whole family goes! Dental health is important and this insurance will greatly help you absorb the cost of visits to the dentist. Dental care insurance offers full or partial reimbursement for cleanings, exams, fillings and many other procedures.

Travel insurance 

Travelling during the holidays is one of life’s pleasures! Travel insurance allows you to recover part of your expenses in case of a medical emergency abroad, lost luggage and cancellation or interruption of your trip, for example.

How group insurance works

It is your employer who is responsible for requesting group insurance quotes and choosing the insurance company with which they will do business. To establish the price of your coverage, the insurer looks at demographic data including the age and sex of the employees, as well as risk factors such as the work environment. The premium also varies depending on the number of insured individuals.

You will probably have to partially pay the insurance premium, even though your employer will also pay part of it. It is possible that the price of the premium varies depending on the number of claims made by all employees.

When group insurance doesn’t meet all your needs 

Sometimes, the coverage established for the group is sometimes less than what you need or want, such as the maximum amounts paid for various services. If this is your case, you can get a complimentary individual insurance policy or ask to increase your group insurance coverage. In the latter case, the insurer may ask for proof of insurability before accepting your request.

Group insurance: the feather in your cap

Instead of taking out a host of individual policies, group insurance allows you to get a good deal! The membership process is simple, inclusive and cost-efficient. Both employees and employers come out winners! Ask a group insurance broker for quotes to compare offers now.

Maude Gauthier is a journalist for Hardbacon. Since completing her Ph.D. in communications at University of Montreal, she has been writing about finance, insurance and credit cards for companies like Fonds FMOQ and Code F. As a responsible user of credit cards, she can spend hours reading the fine print to fully understand their benefits. Because of their simplicity, she developed a preference for cash back cards. After suffering steep increases with her former insurer, she can now proudly say that she saved hundreds of dollars by shopping around for her auto and home insurance. In her free time, she reads novels and enjoys streaming popular shows (and possibly less popular shows, like animal documentaries).