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Understanding Group Benefits

Understanding Group Benefits

June 2, 2016

Did you know that group benefits could add thousands of dollars to your annual income?

That’s hardly surprising to Ann-Marie, whose plan provided thousands of dollars in dental expenses for her last family visit to the dentist alone. Or to Johannes, whose plan covered prescription medicine for everyone in his family after his son brought home an infection from daycare.

If your employer offers a group benefit plan, fully understanding what it offers will allow you to maximize its potential.

Dental, medical, vision, and drug

Every employer’s plan is going to be different. It will cover common supplementary medical expenses that fall outside of provincial coverage, but you must learn exactly what is and isn’t covered.

Your employer should provide a booklet or pamphlet detailing your plan, and this information is often also available online for your reference. Some important things to consider:

How much do you pay for the insurance? Your group benefits will likely cover most, but not all of your expenses and you may have to pay a regular amount first, called a premium, typically between $25-$50 per person.

How much do you pay per treatment? You may have to pay a percentage of the cost for some procedures. For more expensive treatment, such as restorative dental care, it’s important to look into how much is covered.

How much will the plan pay? Your plan may have a maximum amount it will spend over a certain period of time (e.g., vision coverage every 24 months) or within your lifetime.

What does it cover? It’s likely that your plan will pay for basic dental hygiene and optometry, but read all the details to learn what other expenses it will cover. This could include physical therapy, massage, mental health services, and more.

Life Insurance

Protect your income through life insurance to protect your family’s future. Learn more about this in our [Guide to Protecting Your Income].

There are many benefits to group life insurance: it is easy to sign up for, as it is often an automatic part of a new job; it does not require a medical check up; and the premiums are automatically deducted from your pay. However, your employer’s plan is tied to you keeping that job and may not provide enough coverage to keep your family secure, so it may be prudent to purchase additional insurance.

Some important questions to ask about your group life insurance plan are:

How much are you paying? The amount you pay will be deducted automatically, and is called your premium.

How much insurance do you need? A general rule of thumb is that your insurance should be equal to 5-10 times the amount you make per year, though everyone is different. Review your finances and budget to determine what’s right for you. For more on this, see [How much life insurance do you need?]

Other benefits

There are many other kinds of group benefits that you may be able to take advantage of. Look into what is offered so you can take advantage of them. Other benefits could include:

Travel insurance — Your work may provide cancellation or health insurance when you travel to other countries.

Retirement — Group RRSPs may push you to save more, as the money comes directly out of your pay cheque with immediate tax savings. They are especially beneficial if your employer matches your contributions, which means more money for your future.

Disability and critical illness — As with life insurance, your employer’s plan may help financially if you develop health problems. Disability insurance provides a monthly income if you are unable to work, whereas critical illness insurance provides a tax-free payout if you are diagnosed with one of the plan’s pre-determined illnesses. These kinds of insurance are an extremely important benefit if you are the sole breadwinner.

Learn more about group insurance to discover how it can give you peace of mind and help your financial future. To have as much information on your side as possible, learn how SafeBridge can help you today.

Categories: FAMILY


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