A Summary of Relief Measures From Canadian Employee Benefits Carriers

Bryan McLoughlinBryan McLoughlin
Apr 21, 2020
2
min read

After much urging from clients and benefits advisors alike, many Canadian benefits carriers recently announced relief measures for businesses.

As with most of the COVID-19 circumstances, these measures continue to vary from carrier to carrier, so we urge our clients to pay close attention to the communications that you’re receiving (or already received) from your benefits carrier.

We expect to see many others follow suit this week, but so far, the following carriers have communicated their premium credit approaches to further support businesses during these challenging times. For all fully insured, non-refund plans, you can expect to see the following:


Sun Life

Update: Sun Life Financial announced they will be extending their premium credit offering for May. The credit for the month of May will be applied on the July bill.

A 50% credit against dental premiums paid

  • They will apply the April credit to the client’s June 1st invoice
  • They will review their relief program on a monthly basis

A 20% credit against non-drug-related extended health care premiums paid, which equates to between 8% and 9% of overall health premiums

  • Prescription drug usage has not declined during the pandemic. However, while plan members are increasingly making use of virtual care across their paramedical providers, Sun Life is still seeing a reduction in claims activity
  • As with the dental premium credit, Sun Life will apply the April credit to their June 1st invoice
  • They will review their relief program on a monthly basis


Manulife

A 50% credit against dental premiums for the month of May

  • They will automatically make the 50% credit adjustment when conducting their PAD withdrawal for May premiums
  • Nothing is required by you and your plan member’s coverage remains the same
  • They will review their relief program on a monthly basis

A 10% credit against your extended health care premiums paid (including prescription drug coverage) for the month of May

  • They will automatically make the 10% credit adjustment when conducting their PAD withdrawal for May premiums
  • Nothing is required by you and your plan member’s coverage remains the same
  • They will review their relief program on a monthly basis


Canada Life

Update: Canada Life has announced that they will be extending the Dental and EHC premium reduction for May. The adjustments will be reflected on the June billing statement.


A 50% premium reduction adjustment will be applied to the dental benefit

  • Retroactive to April 1st, 2020
  • Will appear on May and June invoices as a COVID-19 premium adjustment

A 20% premium reduction adjustment will be applied to the vision benefit

  • Retroactive to April 1st, 2020
  • Will appear on May and June invoices as a COVID-19 premium adjustment

A 20% premium reduction adjustment will be applied to the healthcare benefit

  • Excludes prescription drugs
  • Retroactive to April 1st, 2020
  • Will appear on May and June invoices as a COVID-19 premium adjustment


Equitable Life

A 50% reduction on dental premiums

  • This reduction is retroactive to April 1st, 2020
  • Will appear as a credit against the next invoice

A 20% reduction on vision and extended healthcare rates which equates to an 8% reduction on health premiums

  • Excludes prescription drugs
  • This reduction is retroactive to April 1st, 2020
  • Will appear as a credit against the next invoice


Victor

Update: Premium credits for the three-month period from April to June inclusive are now being processed. 

Victor originally communicated that April and May credits would appear on the June invoice and that June credits will appear on your July invoice. However, due to unexpected complexities, they will now deliver these credits by electronic funds transfer or cheque, as follows:

  • If you pay your premiums by Automatic Bank Debit, your credits will be deposited into the bank account on file. 
  • If your account has been closed, we will issue a cheque and it will be mailed to your billing address.  
  • If you pay your premiums by cheque or online banking, your credits will be refunded by cheque and mailed to your billing address. 
  • In order to receive the credits, premium payments must be up-to-date. 

Payment schedule:  

  • April and May premium credits will be issued on May 20, 2020. In order to receive your credits, April and May premium must be paid and processed by May 14, 2020.  
  • June premium credits will be issued on June 19, 2020. In order to receive your credits, your June premium must be paid and processed by June 16, 2020. 
  • If premiums for April or May were received after the date noted above, the credits will be issued at this time.  
  • Any credits which were not processed in May or June will be issued on July 20. Your premium must be paid and processed by July 15, 2020. 

Note: If you either terminated or suspended these benefits, you are not eligible for these credits.


Empire Life 

A 50% premium reduction will be applied to dental premiums

  • Applied for the month of April
  • Will appear on June invoices
  • They will review their relief program on a monthly basis

A 10% premium reduction will be applied to extended health care premiums

  • Applied for the month of April
  • Will appear on June invoices
  • They will review their relief program on a monthly basis

 

Medavie Blue Cross 

A 50% premium reduction will be applied to dental premiums

  • This reduction is retroactive to April 1st, 2020
  • Will appear on June invoices
  • They will review their relief program on a monthly basis

A 10% premium reduction will be applied to extended health care premium

  • Includes prescription drugs
  • This reduction is retroactive to April 1st, 2020
  • Will appear on June invoices
  • They will review their relief program on a monthly basis

As an alternative solution, upon request, group clients can opt to receive the savings with the next renewal, as a credit or applied toward the plan’s rates.  This approach could help avoid potential administration issues for plan sponsors, advisors and third-party administrators.  If this is something you’d like to do, please confirm with your Medavie Blue Cross representative by May 8th, 2020.

 

Desjardins Insurance

A 70% premium reduction will be applied to dental premiums

  • Applicable for the month of April and May
  • Will appear on May and June invoices
  • They will review their relief program on a monthly basis


Green Shield Canada

Green Shield Canada will be providing all head office billed clients (excluding GSC TPA clients) with premium reliefs.

A 75% reduction will be applied to dental premiums 

  • Applicable for April, May, and June, retroactive to April 1st
  • Will appear on May and June invoices

A 20% reduction will be applied to vision and extended health care premiums (excluding drugs)

  • Applicable for April, May, and June, retroactive to April 1st
  • Will appear on May and June invoices

BBD

A 50% credit will be applied to dental premiums

  • The credits for April and May will appear on June invoices
  • They will review their relief program on a monthly basis

A 10% credit will be applied to extended health care premiums

  • The credits for April and May will appear on June invoices
  • They will review their relief program on a monthly basis

GroupSource

A 55% credit will be applied to dental premiums for groups insured by SSQ, Empire Life and Cooperators. All La Capitale insured groups will receive a 60% credit.

  • This does not apply to cases that have suspended benefits or removed their paramedical coverage from the health benefit
  • The credits for April and May will appear on June invoices
  • May and June billed premiums will not be changed on the invoice, but the PAD withdrawals will be reduced by the credit amounts indicated above (the statement reconciliation on page 1 of the June invoice will show the May premium, the amount paid by May PAD as well as the May credits) 
  • They will review their relief program on a monthly basis

A 10% credit (excluding pooling charges) will be applied to health premiums, which equates a 9% overall rebate for health. This excludes La Capitale insured groups.

  • This does not apply to cases that have suspended benefits or removed their paramedical coverage from the health benefit
  • The credits for April and May will appear on June invoices
  • May and June billed premiums will not be changed on the invoice, but the PAD withdrawals will be reduced by the credit amounts indicated above (the statement reconciliation on page 1 of the June invoice will show the May premium, the amount paid by May PAD as well as the May credits) 
  • They will review their relief program on a monthly basis

RWAM

A 50% credit will be applied to dental premiums

  • This will be effective as of May 1st and will be reflected on the May invoice
  • This reduction will also remain in effect for June premiums

Honeybee/Benecaid

A 50% credit will be applied to dental premiums

  • This will be effective as of May 1st and logistics on invoicing are pending
  • This reduction will also remain in effect for June premiums


The Co-operators

A reduction of 50% to dental premiums

  • They will apply the adjustment to April and May premiums and reflect it on the May billings
  • It will appear as a premium adjustment on each eligible plan member record

A 10% reduction to health premiums (including prescription drugs)

  • They will apply the adjustment to April and May premiums and reflect it on the May billings
  • It will appear as a premium adjustment on each eligible plan member record


Manitoba Blue Cross

Update: Manitoba Blue Cross are notifying clients that they will continue to apply these reductions for the month of May, with applicable adjustments indicated on July bills.

With businesses starting to re-open and increased provider accessibility, they will continue to monitor claim activity and discount levels as we head into June. Until that time, adjustments remain at the following:

A reduction of 60% to Dental premiums

  • Initially, reductions will be implemented retroactively for the month of April, 2020
  • Depending on the billing arrangement, adjustments will be reflected on the bills distributed in May or will be credited in a lump sum at a future date
  • They will continue to assess these reductions on a monthly basis and adjust according to claims activity as well as health and dental provider re-openings

A 20% reduction to Health premiums (excluding prescription drugs), which equates to roughly 8% overall

  • Initially, reductions will be implemented retroactively for the month of April, 2020
  • Depending on the billing arrangement, adjustments will be reflected on the bills distributed in May or will be credited in a lump sum at a future date
  • They will continue to assess these reductions on a monthly basis and adjust according to claims activity as well as health and dental provider re-openings


Saskatchewan Blue Cross

A reduction of 50% to dental premiums 

  • No change to a business’s dental plan design
  • No change in coverage for members
  • This reduction is retroactive to April 1, 2020 and will appear as a credit against July 2020 billing.  

A 10% reduction to extended health care premiums (including prescription drugs) 

  • No change to a business’s health plan design
  • No change in coverage for members
  • This reduction is retroactive to April 1, 2020 and will appear as a credit against July 2020 billing. 

Bryan McLoughlinBryan McLoughlin

Bryan is the Director of Benefits at Humi. Before joining Humi, while leading the business development arm of a national Third Party Administrator, he spent years assisting benefits advisors in bringing comprehensive benefits programs to their clients at an affordable price. Since joining Humi in 2017, Bryan focuses on bringing an innovative and educational approach to Humi's benefits clients, as well as coaching his team to prioritize client happiness and the obtainment of a benefits programs that meets their organizational needs.

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