Paramedical Services – Are they Valuable?

Paramedical services are generally defined as services provided by professionals not in the public health system, i.e. not a doctor. These services include chiropractic services, physiotherapy, massage therapy, naturopathy, acupuncture, etc. Paramedical services such as these require a certified professional to perform the service, then provide an insurance receipt for reimbursement from an employee’s group insurance plan.

Are these services valuable? It really depends on who you ask. Some industry stakeholders such as plan sponsors are concerned about the rising costs of such services. According to the latest Sanofi Canada Healthcare Survey, paramedical services ranked second behind prescription medication in terms of the number of claims submitted. Massage therapy has seen the steepest increase in the demand for claims.

However, it should be noted that despite coming in second behind prescription medications, 80% of overall group insurance costs involve claims for prescription drugs.

Besides the cost, some stakeholders are questioning the relevance of offering paramedical services in group benefits plans. However, the relevance of a service comes down to individual perception.

Affecting these services is the age of individual claimants. Younger employees may see more value in a plan that offers good coverage for paramedical services. Younger people tend to have a much lower consumption of prescription medications, and may be more willing to try drug-free treatments.

Whether or not stakeholders and insurance providers think that a certain treatment may be useful, the perception of the employees is often the deciding factor. Employers offer group insurance plans as a form of compensation and to maintain their employee’s good health. The problem lies in deciding which treatments should be covered? Owners of small to medium sized businesses certainly can’t afford to cover every treatment option available, even if they want to.

This is why it is important to examine the sociodemographic profile of your employees to identify the most applicable treatments. However, you do not have to be stuck into a “one-size-fits-all” plan that may only benefit a portion of your workforce. Consider Enterprise Flex under the Western Canadian Buying Group.  Understanding the needs of your people and balancing it against the corporate goals  is the first step to creating a custom fit plan for your company.

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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