At the end of 2017, we compiled a list of 8 Insurance Must Knows for 2018.
The list included a number of legislative changes, trending topics such as Canada’s opioid crisis, as well as some news from Benefits by Design (BBD) Inc. As 2018 comes to a close, we wanted to look back at this list for the year to see what we got right ✔, where we missed the mark ✘, and what’s continuing into 2019.
Benefits by Design News
We announced some exciting news in 2017 and 2018, including two new carrier relationships!
Empire Life® – Life and Disability Insurance
In February of 2018, Empire Life became Benefits by Design’s primary provider for Life and Disability Insurance for our Benepac® block of business.
HumanaCare – Medical Second Opinion Services
- ✔ Strong relationships. Both relationships remain strong as we begin 2019, and we’re exploring new ways to work with these partners to bring better service to our Advisors and clients, so we’re giving ourselves a check for this one.
Legislative Changes in 2018
2018 saw quite a few legislative changes that impacted the industry in one way or another.
The Cannabis Act: Legal Recreational Cannabis
On October 17th, 2018, recreational cannabis use became legal in Canada, bringing with it a renewed importance in managing cannabis in the workplace. It’s still early days and the full impact on workplaces remains to be seen, but we anticipate that cannabis will continue to be a big topic in 2019.
- ✔ Nailed it. We were really on top of this topic in 2018. We hosted a webinar, wrote several blog posts (one and two), and featured it as the main topic at our Partner Forum events across the country.
Ontario’s Changes: OHIP+ and Bill 148
The province of Ontario saw plenty of change in 2018, with both the Ontario Provincial Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) being enhanced to OHIP+ and the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act (Bill 148).
Though Bill 148 remains unchanged, OHIP+ saw some proposed revisions shortly after the new Conservative party took their oaths of office in June 2018. As it stands now, OHIP+ covers youths 25 and under, but this is expected to change in March, 2019, when those with private coverage will be required to submit their claims to their private plans first, with OHIP+ covering the outstanding eligible amount.
- ✘/✔ Half points. We were talking about Bill 148 and OHIP+ from the get-go, but we didn’t anticipate the changes that came to OHIP+. Half points for not being psychic.
Employment Insurance Act (Bill C-44)
Bill C-44 brought several changes to employment legislation, including added flexibility for maternity and parental leave, as well as Employment Insurance (EI). Parents were given the option to choose 33% weekly insurable earnings over 61 weeks or the traditional 55% of insurable earnings over 35 weeks.
- ✔ On it. Our partners over at Arete® Human Resources Inc. and our own Human Resources team were all over this one.
2018 Insurance Trends
We talked about several trends that we thought we’d see continue in 2018, including:
Need for Mental Health Services
The increased demand for mental health services was right on the money and it isn’t going anywhere in 2019. As the stigma surrounding mental health continues to be combatted, we are expecting an increased uptake in the use of its services.
- ✔ Demand and supply. “Demand is exploding”, says the Toronto Star, particularly when it comes to our youth. Now the challenge becomes meeting the demand in 2019.
Canada’s Opioid Crisis
Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like Canada’s opioid crisis is going anywhere soon, but insurers like Green Shield Canada (GSC) are taking a leadership role in combating it. With time and a shifting focus, we can expect to see changes.
- ✘/✔ Half points again. We predicted it would be something to look out for (and we were right), but the opioid crisis is only getting worse. We’ll work with folks like GSC to do what we can, where we can.
New to GSC in 2017, medication synchronization allowed pharmacists to coordinate refills, so plan members with multiple medications could refill them at the same time. Evidence continues to show that this can have a significant impact on medication adherence, so we’re glad to see it remain in place.
- ✔ Check. Still happening and still working.