Employee Benefits – A Changing Landscape

By Derek Therriault
In July 29, 2019
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Our Group Benefits specialist Tara Klein wrote this excellent article that was recently published in the Ontario Industrial Roofing Contractors Association (OIRCA)’s latest publication of the Ontario Roofing News! Here are the highlights from the article: 

OHIP +
Launched in January of 2018 by Kathleen Wynne’s Liberal government, OHIP + provided prescription drugs to Ontario residents under the age of 25. 4,400 drugs were covered under this plan and it also had extended coverage to those under 25 with insurance coverage through their parents, employment or post-secondary schools. The program was well received by Ontario residents.

For businesses, the main question was “How do I make sure that OHIP + is the first payer of claims as opposed to the company’s benefits plan?” All pharmacies needed was the OHIP card of the claimant and if the drug was covered, OHIP would pay out, if not the company was responsible for the claim.

OHIP + has since been scaled back with the election of the Progressive Conservatives to focus on “those who need it most.” This now means that if you have coverage under a private health care plan of any kind, those under 25 would no longer be eligible for OHIP +.

Ontario Dental Fee Increase
Dental premium costs are adjusted annually and they are increasing in 2019 to 4.19% from 1.86% in 2018. The increase which is higher than average, is due to improved infection and prevention control measures. 

Wellness Accounts
What is considered an under-utilized perk is the employee health and wellness account included in most benefit plans. Here are some things to look into regarding your health and wellness account to see if the following things are covered:

Fitness membership
Sports league fees
Fitness classes
Home exercise equipment
Nutritional and weight counseling services
Sports equipment 

Employee Assistance Plan
An employee assistance plan (EAP) is becoming more common in the workplace. An EAP is a value added service and provides short-term counselling in areas such as:

Stress
Lifestyle problems
Marital/family separation
Psychological disorders
Alcohol and drug use
Bereavement/grief

Legalized Marijuana
Legalized recreational marijuana is one of the most high profile changes in Ontario as of late with the most recent change being the opening of retail stores which started on April 1st 2019. Marijuana with or without a prescription has been claimed to treat physical pain in lieu of narcotics which have proven to be addictive. The legalization of marijuana has now sparked the topic of policies around recreational use, especially as it pertains to safety-sensitive positions.   

Read the full article here:

https://www.mediaedgemagazines.com/issues/on91/?page=20 

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