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Canadian employers are making ongoing changes to their pension and benefits offerings as the coronavirus pandemic drags on, according to a new survey by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans. The survey found almost one in five (18 per cent) employers offering prescription drug coverage have extended the time allowed under prior authorization periods, […]

  • By: Staff
  • May 5, 2021 May 5, 2021
  • 09:00
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The New Brunswick government is expanding the use of biosimilars for certain chronic conditions in its public drug plans. Approximately 3,000 beneficiaries of the province’s drug plans who are living with diseases such as inflammatory arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes and psoriasis will have until Nov. 30 to switch from a biologic to the biosimilar […]

  • By: Staff
  • April 23, 2021 April 26, 2021
  • 15:00
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While a national pharmacare program is yet to be revealed by the federal government, any future plan should contain provisions for all costly treatments and not just rare diseases, says Jennifer Schmidt, a principal at Mercer Canada. Read: Federal budget highlights national childcare system, extension of pandemic subsidies This week’s federal budget announcement contained only […]

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While drug plan costs are increasing for plan sponsors, the causes for these increases may depend on which part of Canada a plan sponsor resides in, says Philippe Laplante, a principal responsible for the group benefits practice in Eckler Ltd.’s Montreal office. Over the past three years in Quebec, the average annual increase of recommended pricing […]

CLHIA’s Ontario budget submission highlights drug access, inflexible pension plans

In its 2020 budget submission to the Ontario government, the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association is highlighting a lack of access to affordable prescription drugs and inflexible pension plans. With respect to prescription drugs, the CLHIA noted it supports the federal Patented Medicine Prices Review Board reforms, which were introduced on Friday. “It is crucial that the […]

  • By: Staff
  • October 26, 2020 October 26, 2020
  • 15:15
How three benefits plan members are receiving medical cannabis coverage

While medical cannabis coverage is appearing in more benefits plans, most insurers that cover it still have very specific conditions. Sun Life Canada covers the most conditions, at seven, after adding two ailments to its roster in 2019. Marie-Chantal Côté, the insurer’s vice-president of market development for group benefits, says evidence is emerging that shows […]

How are insurers using block-level contract amendments to control drug costs?

An upcoming Sun Life Canada drug plan change that will be implemented outside of plan sponsors’ renewal periods is calling attention to the practice of block-level contract amendments. Sun Life is set to implement the first phase of its reference drug program on Oct. 1, which the insurer says will help plan sponsors with drug plan sustainability by creating categories […]

Over the past four years, total drug costs adjudicated by HBM+ have risen from about $1.2 billion to $1.5 billion, while the number of claimants has increased from 1.7 million to more than two million. The inaugural drug trends and strategic insights report by the health benefits manager, a division of Green Shield Canada, examined drug […]

  • By: Staff
  • September 18, 2020 November 17, 2020
  • 15:00
Plan Sponsor Week: Using analytics to monitor non-adherence, disease states

Plan sponsors have to move beyond benefits plan reporting and dig into analytics to better understand medication non-adherence and the top disease states affecting their workforces. “Leveraging plan-specific data can help answer the fundamental questions needed to manage your benefits program,” said Shawn O’Brien, Telus Health’s principal of data enablement and drug, health, dental product roadmaps, during a session at Benefits […]

Half of Canadian plan members confident their benefits plan covers high-cost drugs: survey

Nearly half (49 per cent) of Canadian plan members said they’re confident their group benefits plan will cover medications for serious diseases such as cancer and diabetes, which cost between $1,000 and $10,000 per month, according to the 2020 Sanofi Canada health-care survey. When presented with the scenario of a drug that can treat or […]

  • By: Staff
  • June 29, 2020 November 12, 2020
  • 09:00