For business owners looking to attract and retain top talent, providing group insurance has become a critical business investment.

A survey of Canadians, done by Benecaid in November 2009, revealed that 90% say the availability of an employee health benefits plan plays a role in their decision to accept a job.

It may come as a surprise, but even young people think about healthcare. More than one-in-four Canadians aged 18 to 24 already have concerns about covering the costs of their own future healthcare needs. They are also the group most likely to say they are concerned about covering their children’s healthcare costs (62%), followed by 58% of Canadians aged 25 to 34 that share the same concern.

For small business owners, it’s important to know that offering an attractive benefits package to their employees is not outside the scope of their budget or administrative resources. With the flexibility of most insurance providers today, organizations with as few as two employees can benefit from having a plan in place.

The unlimited variety of insurance plans can leave a small business owner with so many possibly solutions that selecting the right plan can become a difficult decision. Customizing a plan based on the size and needs of the organization, in addition to highlighting the ways to make your plan work for the business’s bottom line is most important.

Sometimes having a small number of employees does limit the amount of customization that an insurer can account for, and in those cases organizations need to get creative. Healthcare spending accounts, telecommuting, closing the office for special holidays or offering sabbaticals after a defined numbers of years of services are examples of initiatives that smaller employers may be able to implement.

Here are some points to consider when implementing an employee benefits plan.

Personal use: The employer and their family can participate in the plan to offset costs related to their own medical and dental expenses.

Bundling: Coupled with life and disability insurance, an employee benefits program can form part of the small business owner’s sound financial plan.

Tax benefits: Providing a tax-deductible business expense to the employer, and a tax-effective form of compensation to employees.

Flexibility: Plans can be designed so each member has the ability to select the level and types of insurance coverage based on their specific needs and Group Insurance plans may be adjusted on an annual basis enabling employees to modify their coverage.

Bonnie Siemens is the manager, insurance product delivery, with Investors Group.

Copyright © 2020 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on

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