At Benefits by Design (BBD) Inc., our mission is to help working Canadians, and we do that by providing peace of mind through the delivery of benefits by design. One of those benefits offerings is Health Assist™ from Green Shield Canada (GSC).
Health Assist is GSC’s individual health and dental solution for Canadians looking for coverage and has been a part of our benefits portfolio for many years now. Over that time, we’ve seen our Health Assist business grow and have identified new opportunities and common pain points for employers where Health Assist fits the bill.
LINK and ZONE
Health Assist has two individual Health and Dental lines: LINK and ZONE. Each has a wide selection of prescription drug, dental, vision, extended health care, and emergency travel coverage, and a total of 8 guaranteed issue plans between the two products.
LINK – The Conversion Solution
LINK is a conversion option that is available exclusively to employees coming off of a group benefits plan, no matter the reason. There are instances where an employee might be losing coverage – whether by termination, voluntary departure, or simply losing eligibility – that provide an opportunity for the employee to maintain some coverage.
Big advantages: includes four guaranteed issue options and employees can convert from any group plan, regardless of provider.
ZONE – Individual Health and Dental for All
ZONE is an individual health and dental product that is available regardless of previous coverage. Like LINK, ZONE has guaranteed issue plans, but isn’t limited to those coming off of a group benefits plan.
Big advantages: offers coverage for life (yes, you read that right), with 4 guaranteed issue options and no medical underwriting.
Health Assist: Helping Working Canadians
Health Assist is an excellent product to help us fulfill our mission of helping working Canadians because it works well at filling in gaps in coverage or providing benefits to those who might not otherwise qualify for group benefits. Using this criteria as a jumping off point, a number of opportunities for Advisors looking to retain clients and offer a value-add present themselves.
#1. Conversions for employee or group terminations. This is one of the largest and most obvious opportunities when it comes to Health Assist. Groups or individual employees losing coverage can apply for Health Assist, allowing them to maintain important health and dental coverage and protection. We work with Advisors to capture conversion business and maintain coverage for Canadians and commissions for Advisors.
#2. Loss of group benefits, no matter the reason. Whether it’s an overage dependent, someone coming off of their survivor benefits, or losing coverage following a divorce or separation, Health Assist can supplement that gap in coverage. It’s important to note that anyone coming off a group benefits plan can be eligible for Health Assist – the previous plan does not need to be a GSC plan.
#3. Retirees. 75% of the private sector is retiring without medical coverage in place, representing a huge opportunity for eager Advisors with Health Assist in mind. Consider situations where a business owner is retiring, or a client is looking for protection and coverage in their retirement years. And since the Health portion of the product has Travel coverage embedded in it, it’s a great option for those snowbird retirees.
#4. Groups who don’t meet eligibility requirements. Sometimes we may not be able to make a fully insured plan work. Perhaps the family content is too high, the business hasn’t been operational for at least one year, or the group is less than three lives. In cases such as this, Health Assist can be a great option to get them started with benefits and gain a level of coverage and protection, but still leave the door open to transition to a group plan as the business grows and eligibility changes.
#5. Late applicants declined for coverage. In many of these cases, your BBD Client Manager will identify these opportunities and reach out to you.
#6. Transitions between employment. Consider cases where an employee is leaving a group plan and their new group coverage has a three or six month waiting period, Health Assist can fill that gap in coverage. When the group plan becomes effective, Health Assist is an easy transition.
#7. Contract, seasonal, and part-time employees. For a precarious workforce not generally qualifying for traditional group coverage, Health Assist makes an excellent health and dental option for these workers. For more comprehensive coverage, consider combining Health Assist with a Standalone Health Care Spending Account (HCSA) for added coverage and peace of mind.
The advantages here benefit everyone. Clients gain access to or maintain important health and dental coverage, and Advisors bring additional value to their clients and pick up some additional commissions to boot.