Smokers need not apply

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This spring, an Ottawa-based tech company attracted a great deal of attention by publicly declaring its strict policy of not hiring smokers. It claims that by taking this stand, it has slashed the cost of its health benefits and also increased productivity.

http://www.benefitscanada.com/benefits/health-wellness/smokers-need-not-apply-40106?utm_source=EmailMarketing&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Daily_Newsletter

The AQuity 360 Blog Series – Part 5: Are you digging deeply enough into your data?

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AQ Group Solutions is proud to present The AQuity 360 Blog Series as part of The AQuity 360 Program, helping you to avoid The Reactive Decision Trap. Read this series to see how your organization can build a human capital strategy that proactively aligns with your business strategy and goals.

Part 5:  Are you digging deeply enough into your data?

Analyzing data is an important piece of any benefits plan management strategy.  Along with ensuring that a plan’s design aligns with your company’s benefits philosophy and business objectives, plan data provides plan sponsors with a snapshot of their plan’s performance.  Claims history is compared against premium projected at the beginning of the plan year and the carrier’s breakeven point as a measure of “success” in both design and pricing.

The AQuity 360 Blog Series – Part 2: Benefits Vision & Philosophy

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AQ Group Solutions is proud to present The AQuity 360 Blog Series as part of The AQuity 360 Program, helping you to avoid The Reactive Decision Trap. Read this series to see how your organization can build a human capital strategy that proactively aligns with your business strategy and goals.

Part 2: What is your organization’s Benefits Philosophy & Vision?

Most organizations have thoughtfully crafted a well-constructed mission and vision statement.  They know why they do what they do, and the direction in which they’re headed.  As a result, business decisions are assessed against their alignment with corporate objectives, and how they support the mission and vision of the company before they are implemented.  Why should decisions related to your benefits plan be any different?

The Case for Canada Healthcare Reform

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In 2014, the current federal-provincial Health Accord expires.  The Accord, agreed upon by the First Ministers in 2003, set targets for structural changes for access, quality and sustainability, and put in place increases to federal cash transfers to fund the system.  The following year, the First Ministers announced further reforms in ‘A 10-Year Plan to Strengthen Health Care”.  This Plan targeted key areas for system reform; among them, wait times, aboriginal health, medical equipment, prevention, promotion and public health, primary health care and a National Pharmaceutical Strategy.  As you would expect, with renewal of the Accord looming, there has been a lot of discussion about where we are, where we’re going, and what needs to change.  A comprehensive review has been promised by government, and Senate Social Affairs committee hearings are underway.  The Harper government has already committed to continue Canada Health transfers at a rate of $30 Billion annually, with an “escalator” of 6% per year until 2017, and a slightly lesser “escalator” from 2018 onward.

Le Québec est au premier rang pour les RPAC

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Dans son récent budget, le gouvernement du Québec a présenté un cadre de réglementation détaillé pour son nouveau régime volontaire d’épargne retraite (RVER).  Grâce à ce cadre, le Québec devient la première province du pays à couler les fondations pour un régime de pension agréé collectif (RPAC).  Le programme de RVER vise particulièrement les deux millions de travailleurs québecois qui sont propriétaires de petites et moyennes entreprises et qui n’ont pas accès à un régime de retraite d’entreprise.

Aperçu du programme

Sprechen Sie Pharmacy??

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Navigating the terms associated with pharmacies, prescriptions and drug plans can sometimes sound like a foreign language.  Here’s a glossary of what some of those terms mean:

Dispensing fee

When you pay for a prescription at a pharmacy, you are paying for two components:  the ingredient cost, or the cost of the actual drug being dispensed, and the dispensing fee, the professional fee your pharmacist charges for dispensing the drug and giving you advice.  Some benefits plans have dispensing fee caps or maximums, or deductibles based around the dispensing fee.  You can ask your pharmacist what dispensing fee they would charge before getting your prescription filled.

The Pooling Problem

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Pooling, as far as Benefits programs go, is not a very sexy topic.  A pooling provision is kind of like insulation in your house – it’s there, it’s important, you don’t see it, and you’d probably rather spend money on something splashy and fun, like a plasma TV or granite counters.

Large Amount or Stop Loss pooling provisions are arrangements with an insurer where excess claims beyond a predetermined threshold become the responsibility of the insurer rather than the plan sponsor.  Including one of these provisions on any self-insured health benefit to cap your liability is a very good idea.

Benefits Program Considerations for New Canadians

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Many Canadian employers have strategies for integrating new Canadians into their workplaces as part of their recruitment and onboarding plan.  Here are some considerations to ensure that your benefits program is included as part of the overall strategy and properly addresses the special requirements of these new employees.