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Group insurance and group benefits – know what you have

Whether you’re an employer or an employee, group insurance is a good thing. For employers, a group insurance plan helps strengthen compensation packages, making it easier to recruit and retain quality people. For both employers and employees, a group plan provides a sense of security because everyone covered by the plan knows that they have some insurance protection in place if something unexpected happens.

As an employer or employee, assurance that your group benefits plan will deliver the coverage and services you need when you need them is important. The goal of a group insurance plan is to help ensure that every employee has access to a range of benefits. Members of a group insurance plan are compensated when they require medical services, subject to the terms of the contract.

Employers and employees share in the cost of the insurance coverage which helps to ensure affordability amongst participants. Group insurance packages vary, but may include:

  • Life insurance
  • Accidental death and dismemberment
  • Dependent’s insurance
  • Short-term disability
  • Long-term disability
  • Extended health care
  • Dental care
  • Critical illness
  • Out-of-country medical coverage
  • An employee assistance program

Do you know exactly what your group plan covers and what it doesn’t? If not, start by carefully reviewing your group benefits booklet to discover whether or not your plan:

  • Covers all your sources of income such as bonuses and commissions
  • Is indexed to address inflation rates
  • Involves premiums that may increase dramatically over time
  • Can be cancelled
  • Has a restrictive definition of disability

Group plans are attractive but often are not tailored to fully address each individual’s unique needs. Review your group plan with your professional advisor to determine if you need to top up your protection to preserve your finances with a personal, portable plan that is always yours regardless of your employment situation.

Reviewed: September 1, 2014

Written and published by Investors Group as a general source of information only. Not intended as a solicitation to buy or sell specific investments, or to provide tax, legal or investment advice. Seek advice on your specific circumstances from an Investors Group Consultant.