Leveraging provincial health care and group benefits plans for comprehensive preventative care

“Does my provincial health care plan cover that?”

Raise a hand if you’re in HR and have heard that question. Our provincial and territorial health care insurance plans are at the heart of Canada's health care landscape and is the first frame of reference for every Canadian employee. Provincial and territorial health care plans provide a robust foundation for residents, offering coverage for a wide range of medical services from doctor visits to hospital stays and more. As valuable as they are in ensuring access to essential health services, too often there is a lack of knowledge on what they cover and what needs to be supplemented by employee insurance.

Educate your employees about the differences between provincial health care and employee insurance coverage

To bridge the gap in knowledge about provincial health care coverage and supplementary employee insurance, HR professionals will need a multifaceted approach. Educating employees starts with clear communication - detailed sessions explaining the scope of their provincial health care coverage, such as what’s fully covered, like doctor visits and hospital stays, and spotlighting areas requiring additional insurance, like certain dental services, vision care, and prescription drugs. Incorporating FAQs in employee handbooks, hosting informational seminars, and utilizing the company intranet for resources can demystify health care coverage. By fostering an environment where employees feel comfortable seeking clarification, companies can ensure their teams are well-informed and fully utilize the benefits available to them, thereby enhancing satisfaction and well-being in the workplace.

Understanding provincial health care coverage

Provincial health care covers many preventative care services, including annual check-ups, specific screenings, and vaccinations, aimed at early detection of health issues. While this coverage is extensive, certain areas, particularly related to mental health support, wellness programs, and some specialized screenings, offer room for employers to enhance their health benefits packages. Focus on helping your people get clear about what is automatically covered by the province and what they need to leverage their benefits for. For most Canadian employees, between provincial health care and company benefits, very little should come out-of-pocket. This is a significant factor for employee retention in a post-pandemic context.

Complementing provincial health care with employer-provided benefits

Employers have the unique ability to tailor their benefits plans to fill the gaps. For instance, incorporating digital wellness programs that offer virtual counseling, stress management tools, and online fitness classes can significantly improve employees' mental and physical health. These additions not only support a comprehensive approach to health but also cater to the diverse needs of a modern workforce.

Promoting preventative care through creative engagement

Creative promotion of these programs (both provincially-covered and benefits-covered) is key to ensuring their effectiveness. QR codes strategically placed around the workplace or included in company communications can provide easy access to digital wellness resources. Virtual lunch-and learns serve as an engaging platform to educate employees about the benefits available to them, emphasizing the importance of preventative care and how to access these services.

The role of gamification in wellness engagement

 Gamifying wellness initiatives presents an innovative way to engage employees in their health. Before diving into gamification, it's crucial to assess the company's culture around wellness. Building a culture that values health takes time and requires consistent effort from all levels of the organization. Gamification should be designed to be inclusive, offering a variety of challenges that cater to different interests and fitness levels, ensuring all employees can participate and benefit.

A unified approach to employee health

By understanding the coverage provided provincially and strategically complementing it with employer-provided benefits, companies can offer a more holistic approach to health care benefits. Engaging employees through innovative and accessible digital wellness programs not only enhances the overall health of the workforce but also aligns with the growing emphasis on preventative care. As employers continue to navigate the complexities of health benefits in Canada, the ability to integrate public and private health initiatives stands as a testament to a holistic commitment to employee well-being, paving the way for a healthier, more productive future for all.

Interested in assessing the gap between what provincial and territorial health care covers and your own plan? We’re ready to help you ensure that your employees’ health needs are fully addressed.