Standalone® Health Care Spending Account (HCSA): A Product Story
Published: Sep 06 | 2017
Modified: Oct 29 | 2019
Launched in 2016, Standalone was born not only out of a desire to help working Canadians gain better access to the benefits they want, but in response to shifting industry trends (which we’ll talk more about below). We’re proud to be able to say that Standalone is doing exactly what it was meant to do – offering new options to those who might otherwise not be able to access them.
What is Standalone?
Standalone is a Health Care Spending Account (HCSA) pay-as-you-claim solution that provides health services through an entirely digital platform. Standalone HCSA’s can be combined with Wellness Spending Accounts (WSA), sometimes known as Personal Spending Accounts (PSA), or pooled benefits like Benepac® to create benefits plans for nearly every employer. The only requirement is that the company must be incorporated, which allows Standalone to be a solution for those who otherwise might not be eligible for traditional benefits coverage, such as contract or part-time workers.
The Shifting Trend to Defined Contribution Plans
Over time, we’ve seen the growth of defined contribution plans that, like Standalone, give the power of choice to employees on how and when to spend their dollars. That’s not to say that more traditional insurance products, such as Benepac®, are going anywhere, and in fact, a large majority of benefits plans are still considered traditional.
However, as we’ve covered before, there are now five different generations in the workforce, all with different wants and needs. Millennials now make up almost half of the workforce, but as more and more Canadians continue to work past retirement at age 65, Canadian workplaces are more diverse than ever, and traditional, one-size-fits-all benefits plans just aren’t cutting it anymore.
Defined benefit plan options that provide employees flexibility and choice in how and when they spend their benefits dollars, such as with an HCSA, are growing in popularity alongside the diversity of workforces.
Standalone Truly Stands Alone
Standalone HCSA offers health and dental benefits dollars with no concerns of pre-existing conditions, hours worked, time in business, termination age, or previous coverage. Since the only requirement is that the company be incorporated, Standalone opens the doors for many workplaces that might not otherwise qualify for coverage. At Benefits by Design, our mission is to help working Canadians, and Standalone’s eligibility requirements allow us to provide health and dental coverage to as many working Canadians as possible. As one of our fastest growing products, we’re confident in Standalone’s ability to protect and promote the health, wealth, and happiness of working Canadians.
Use-Cases for Standalone
Over the years, we’ve seen some truly unique uses for Standalone, including a company-wide smoking cessation program and exclusive medical cannabis coverage.
However, there are many other opportunities in which Advisors can consider Standalone as a viable options. For example, when requesting a new quote for a group, our staff may offer Standalone as an alternative when groups aren’t eligible for traditional benefits coverage. Perhaps the group does not meet the required number of lives for certain benefits – Standalone can help fill that gap in coverage and work to build a better plan for employers.
There are also options at renewal. Sometimes a group’s experience may lead to an increase that makes selling the renewal tough. Our team will identify opportunities for cost savings and make recommendations. For example, removing a vision benefit from a traditional plan and utilizing Standalone in its place will reduce costs, and only those who need vision will use their new HCSA for it.
A Product Story
Ultimately, Standalone works to insure as many people as possible, offering greater flexibility and fewer limits to those who can or cannot be insured, making it an excellent option for part-time and seasonal workers, or for those who would no longer qualify for a traditional plan with a different insurer.
Standalone is an important part of our business, and a platform and cornerstone of who we are as a company. To drive this home, we elect product champions for each of our products – experts who know the ins and outs of their chosen product.
You can learn more about Standalone by downloading the Advisor Standalone Workbook below. It’s a working document full of examples, use-cases, and additional information.