Plan member challenges — from uncertainty about what their benefits plan covers to mundane issues such as struggling with passwords and difficulty accessing their benefits portal — become human resources concerns and create additional work for plan sponsors. 

That’s what Canada Life is attempting to address with its new My Canada Life at Work mobile-friendly website, which will be available to plan sponsors and their members through the year.

“It goes without saying . . . but the global pandemic has made this issue even more acute,” said Jamie Godfree, vice-president of digital strategy and group customer at Canada Life, during Benefits Canada’s 2021 Tech Insights: Spring Edition conference in late April. “So it’s critically important that our digital footprint and online presence evolve and simplify things [for plan members].” 

Read: Canada Life to make virtual health care standard in group benefits plans

My Canada Life at Work provides plan members with a “fully integrated, total view” of their employee benefits and/or group savings plans. Members have a single log-in location and set of credentials and are able to see either their employer-sponsored life, health and benefits package, their group retirement savings holdings or both.

Godfree called the site a change from the typical “fork in the road” experience of having two different portals for health plans and retirement benefits.  

From the main page, plan members can navigate to retirement- or health-specific pages, access their claims history and submit new ones and make easy changes to what they’re contributing to their savings accounts or update their banking information as necessary.

Plan members can also access Canada Life’s retirement goal setting calculator through the site, which helps them determine whether they’re saving enough to meet their retirement income objectives by inputting the current balance of their savings, when they hope to retire and their current expenses.  

In addition, the insurer’s Consult+ virtual health-care service, available through a separate app, is a partnership with telehealth provider Dialogue that launched across the country in August 2020. Users are able to connect with medical professionals such as doctors, nurses, care coordinators and psychologists at any time of day. The professionals can diagnose non-urgent conditions, provide medical advice, write prescriptions, requisition a lab test or refer the user to other health-care professionals. In the time since the service’s launch, Godfree said, Canada Life saw a 300 per cent growth in users on the platform. 

Read: Plan sponsors want to send targeted health communications, but members still wary: survey

Canada Life has also built the ability to send targeted and personalized push notifications to plan members who access their member app GroupNet via the site — something that, according to the 2020 Sanofi Canada health-care survey, 62 per cent of plan members are open to.

As an example of what the app can do, Godfree shared a potential scenario where a plan member who had previously downloaded Canada Life’s app arrives at Toronto Pearson International Airport to leave for vacation. After a period of 45 to 60 minutes, when the app would be able to determine the plan member wasn’t just dropping off a family member, it would send a push notification to remind them travel insurance was included in their benefits plan.

The goal of the push notifications is to communicate “relevant information to the right person at the right time,” said Godfree. 

The site is also expected to increase member engagement with their benefits and savings plans. Given employers’ ongoing struggle to get plan members to truly pay attention to and understand their retirement benefits, this could be a boon. 

“We’ve been studying member behaviour on our sites for a number of years and we know with absolute certainty that members are up to 10-times more likely to engage electronically with their life and health [offerings], for obvious reasons. . . . [The website] forces a regular interaction with [employees’] savings that is as frequent as [with] their benefits plan. Each time they make a claim, members are reminded of the value of their pensions or [registered retirement savings plans].”

Read more articles from the 2021 Tech Insights: Spring Edition conference.