There’s no question that benefit plans keep employees happy and healthy, more productive and engaged, and provide a competitive advantage to a business when it comes to recruitment and employee retention.
But as the cost of health plans continues to rise, employers will need to take a long hard look at their plans and ask themselves if what they’re offering is truly in line with the objectives of their plan. One of the biggest potential opportunities for this is specific benefits covered under paramedical coverage.
What is Paramedical Coverage?
Paramedical coverage (also known simply as “parameds”) is embedded into an Extended Health Care (EHC) benefit and covers the use of a number of practitioners to better the health and wellbeing of you and your dependents.
Paramedical Coverage Means Massage, Right?
But a registered massage therapist (RMT) is just one of many practitioners that are covered under the paramedical benefit. Although coverage will differ depending on the specific plan and carrier, here is a list of commonly covered practitioners:
Acupuncturist Chiropractor Dietitian Naturopath Occupational Therapist
Osteopath Physiotherapist Psychologist Social Worker Speech Therapist
Access to these types of practitioners helps to keep plan members healthy both mentally and physically, but research suggests that some may be more beneficial than others. And since parameds are one of the most frequently claimed (and therefore costly) benefits, second only to drug claims1, some insurers are taking a step towards value-based care.
Value-Based Health Care
Value-based care is all about using scientific evidence to make tough decisions regarding plan design, specifically what is covered and what is not. A focus on value-based care encourages employers to evaluate their coverage and ask themselves what is most important and impactful to get the most “bang for their buck”.
But this can involve some difficult decisions regarding coverage. For example, in their September Inside Story, Green Shield Canada (GSC) asks a very direct question:
Would you give up massage if it would help pay for a colleague’s cancer drugs or mental health treatment? “
Rethinking what value means to your plan means going back and asking yourself what your objectives are. Improving employees’ health is a big one, but other objectives might also include acting as an employee retention tool or as a perk when hiring new employees.
When it comes to parameds, mapping value to your plan objectives might just open your eyes.
Questions? Please give us a call!
The Sanofi Canada Healthcare Survey, 2018