Employee benefits are non-wage compensation provided by an employer in addition to the employee’s wage or salary. While a number of Canadians receive benefits from their employer, many don’t know the specifics of their benefits plan/package. While having employee benefits are great, it’s important to know exactly what’s included in them. Knowing the specifics of your benefits package can help you when different things in life happen, such as needing medication, medical equipment, or requiring specialist treatments. In this article, we will go over a few different benefits that are most commonly used within employee packages.
Dental benefits provide dental services and supplies for plan members and their eligible dependants. The type of services covered under each plan varies, but there are 3 main sections which include: Basic, Major Restorative, and Orthodontics. Basic covers the check-ups, cleaning, x-rays, and other small procedures. Things like dentures, crowns, and bridgework are classified under the Major Restorative category. With Orthodontics, coverage is provided for mechanical aids required to straighten teeth and other defects such as braces, wires, and spacers. There are certain limits with each of these sections so be sure to look at them carefully.
Extended Health Care (EHC)
Extended Health Care (EHC) benefits, also known as major medical benefits, supplements existing hospital and medical insurance plans. The benefit provides for reimbursement of expenses and services not covered by the government. You may be asking “What is covered in this section of benefits?” Well, they commonly include hospital/drug coverage, paramedical services such as a chiropractor, osteopath, naturopath, psychologist, and physiotherapist. It may also include medical supplies and equipment, out-of-province/out-of-country assistance, ambulance services, and vision care. Just like dental benefits, there are also limits on these services, so it is very important to have a careful read over this section and consult with an advisor or broker if you have any questions.
Short-Term/Long-Term Disability (STD/LTD)
The Short-Term Disability benefit compensates an employee for income lost as a result of short-term absences from work from an accident or sickness. Having Long-Term Disability is more important in protecting the financial well-being of employees. Much like short-term, this portion compensates your income when you are on a longer absence from work. In the case that unfortunate events occur such as accidents or sickness, it’s important to check for this in your benefits package to be assured that you can receive income while taking time to get better.
Health Spending Account (HSA)
A Health Spending Account (HSA), is an individual employee account that provides reimbursement for health care expenses and other benefits that are not covered under provincial health insurance plans. With a Health Spending Account, employees can use a pool of money to pay for expenses that would normally represent an out-of-pocket expense. A HSA can offer more flexibility than traditional benefit plans. Here are some things it can provide reimbursement for: Non-covered surgeries, home renovations for medically required home care, and paying deductibles. Some plans may include regular benefits and a HSA to supplement it, while others just have a HSA on its own.
Group Life Insurance/Accidental Death and Dismemberment
Benefit plans typically provide basic life insurance that pays a pre-specified amount, defined in the contract, in the event of the death of an employee from any cause. There are other options that can include additional life coverage, as well as dependent coverage. The Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D) benefit provides a lump sum amount, set by the employer, in the event that an employee incurs a personal loss such as: life, limb, sight, hearing, and/or speech due to an accidental injury.
The different sections in this article really just scratch the surface on the intricacies in one’s benefit plan. We always recommend reading up on them yourself and looking into it all further. If there is still any confusion, it is always best to speak with your HR department. Our independent advisors can also shed light on your benefits, and we’re also able to fill in any gaps within your plan to ensure that if anything medically happens to you in your life, we have you covered!