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On occasion, I’ve been critical of the group insurance business. I’ve used the term lethargic to describe the pace of change and have been critical of what I thought was a far too rigorous embrace of  the status quo. There has been some innovation over the years, but it has paled in comparison to the […]

  • August 14, 2017 September 13, 2019
  • 09:00

Innovation in the employee benefits world has historically happened in relatively small increments. Besides some subtle tweaks, plan design has changed very little. Recent enhancements to the employee experience include the implementation of online claims processing and various apps to communicate information more dynamically. Insurers have invested heavily in both their administration- and claims-paying systems to […]

  • March 29, 2017 September 13, 2019
  • 10:01

In late 2015, a Canadian advisory panel on health-care innovation declared the health-care system wasn’t ready for rising costs, quality concerns, accessibility, consumerism and advances in digital technology. The system might not be ready, but organizations can tackle the challenges today and differentiate themselves from the competition. If they don’t, they risk alienating a growing […]

  • December 14, 2016 September 13, 2019
  • 20:20

The digital innovations transforming health care in Canada carry huge implications for benefit plan sponsors and the people they serve. According to MaRS, one of Canada’s preeminent innovation hubs, there are between 800 and 1,000 health-care-related technology startups in Canada today. With investment in research and development by the health information and communications sector expected […]

  • July 28, 2016 September 13, 2019
  • 09:13

I had an excellent chat with an employer client recently about why the concept of employee consumerism hasn’t really caught on in Canada. Is it a concept that is (or was) before its time or are the dynamics of the Canadian benefits marketplace such that it’s simply not relevant? What do we mean by employee consumerism? […]

  • April 12, 2016 September 13, 2019
  • 09:28

Employee benefits plan design has changed very little over the last several decades. Sure, there have been subtle tweaks over the years, but the basic plan design fundamentals have stayed the same. Recently we’ve seen some innovation in the areas of plan management, increased plan flexibility and a greatly enhanced employee experience, but in many respects the […]

  • February 24, 2016 September 13, 2019
  • 09:30

There have been lots of discussions over the years about healthcare pooling—most notably increases in the cost of pooling. And the volume of the dialogue has certainly increased recently as insurers struggle with the cost/risk associated with high-cost medications.

  • June 2, 2015 September 13, 2019
  • 10:58

I recently had an enlightening conversation with a client on a strategic perspective regarding employee benefits plans. The client asked a simple question: Who does this right? After pausing to collect my thoughts, I began to ramble off the names of a number of plan sponsors that I thought did a good job with their benefits programs. But shortly after the meeting, I started to chastise myself for giving the wrong answer. It wasn’t that the examples I provided were wrong, they just were not necessarily the right examples for this particular employer. What works well for one employer does not mean that it will work—or is even relevant—for the next employer.

  • November 25, 2014 September 13, 2019
  • 11:42

If you ask many plan sponsors and/or group insurers, disability plan costs are increasing at concerning rates. Disability plan costs tend to be somewhat variable—always have—but are we experiencing a fundamental change in the nature of the risk? What is the road ahead for disability plan costs?

  • October 20, 2014 September 13, 2019
  • 10:00

I recently experienced a great deal of sadness over the passing of someone I didn’t know—but someone that had brought me so much joy over the years. I was deeply saddened by the fact that this person could not possibly know how much happiness they brought to so many people—how could they? I was heartbroken by the fact that this person clearly suffered in silence and felt so helpless that the only way out was to take their own life. I shed a tear over Robin Williams.

  • October 1, 2014 September 13, 2019
  • 09:49