Group Benefit Plans Must Focus on Individual Needs to Keep Up with Shifting Trends

It would not be unreasonable to think that group benefit plans will be renamed to “individual” or “personal” benefit plans in the near future. Group benefit plans must focus on individual needs to keep up with shifting trends. While these plans will still take advantage of group buying power, the idea of a “group” plan with a one-size-fits-all benefits package will soon be obsolete.

The pandemic has changed the world almost overnight, if you were not directly affected (or infected) by the virus, you have been indirectly affected by shutdowns and a struggling economy. The crisis has highlighted how unprepared the typical benefits plan is to truly support the needs of an employee in a crisis. Instead of providing a benefits package that meets the needs of most employees, most of the time, it is now more important to provide individuals with choices. This allows employees to navigate their day-to-day reality and adjust their benefits selections to keep up with changing circumstances.

A great example of quickly changing circumstances, in mid-March many employees were sent home and the needs of everyone changed dramatically. A reliable internet source and home computer was more important than massage therapy or acupuncture. Suddenly a gym membership and travel insurance were worthless, yet many benefit plans remained unchanged.

In the above example, employees in different stages of life would have different needs. A younger person would be more interested in a cash injection and money management tools. An older person my value additional dollars in a RRSP more than a health plan that is not useful to them at the moment. These needs could change as well, why not give your employees the flexibility to choose?

If group benefit plans must focus on individual needs, then a good place to start is with a Health Care Spending Account (HSA). HSA’s give your employees the flexibility to choose the benefits most relevant to them, within a defined plan. HSA’s provide your employees with spending limits that they can choose to spend on a variety of benefits covered under the Income Tax Act. Click here to learn more about HSA’s.

Plan sponsors wishing to cover expenses not eligible under the Income Tax Act, they might consider a Wellness Spending Account. Wellness spending accounts allow your employees to choose from a variety of programs, including mental health services, nutrition advice and personal development courses.

Group benefit plans must focus on individual needs to keep up with shifting trends, that means the demand for traditional group benefit plans will continue to decline. If you are looking to evolve your compensation package and attract top talent with personalized group benefit offerings, contact DENT Benefits to explore your options!

The information in this material is derived from various sources. Material is provided for general information and is subject to change without notice. Every effort has been made to compile this material from reliable sources; however, no warranty can be made as to its accuracy or completeness. Before acting on any of the above, please contact us for benefit, pension and insurance advice based on your corporate or personal circumstances.

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