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Employee BenefitsGroup Health BenefitsParamedical Services: A Critical Component of Employee Benefits Plans

Paramedical Services: A Critical Component of Employee Benefits Plans

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Paramedical services have become an increasingly vital component of employee benefits plans in Canada. As employers seek to provide competitive and attractive benefits packages, coverage for physiotherapy, massage therapy, chiropractic treatments, and more is key. 

This article will explore what exactly paramedical services are, the main types of services offered, the advantages and costs associated with providing coverage, and how insurance brokers can help employers secure the best plans.

What are Paramedical Services?

Paramedical services refer to healthcare provided by professionals who are not physicians or nurses. These services are considered supplementary to standard medical care and are not typically covered under provincial healthcare plans in Canada.

Some defining features of paramedical services

  • Services focus on prevention, treatment, and management of physical and mental health conditions. Goals include reducing pain, improving mobility, lowering stress levels, and more.
  • Care is provided by trained, licensed professionals who specialize in specific therapeutic techniques and treatments.
  • Most paramedical services are offered on an outpatient basis at private clinics. Some can also be provided in patient homes when required.

Simply put, paramedical coverage helps pay for care from licensed professionals outside what basic healthcare plans cover. This gives employees access to critical services for improving health and wellbeing.

Types of Paramedical Services Offered


There is a diverse range of paramedical disciplines and specialties. While actual services covered depend on the specifics of each employee benefits plan, some of the most common types of paramedical services include:

Physiotherapy: Treatment of injury, pain, and mobility issues using massage, stretching, heat therapy, and active exercise. Help address musculoskeletal conditions.

Massage Therapy: Use of massage techniques to treat pain, reduce stress, help rehabilitation, and promote overall wellness. Help address conditions like back/neck pain, headaches, arthritis, and more.

Chiropractic: Focuses on diagnosis and treatments related to the spine and musculoskeletal system, including spinal adjustments and manipulations. Help address back, neck, joint, and muscular pain.

Psychology: Assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of mental, emotional, and behavioural disorders. Help address conditions like depression, anxiety, phobias, emotional regulation issues, and more.

Acupuncture: Insertion of thin needles into specific body points to correct imbalances in energy flow and help treat a wide range of conditions.

Osteopathy: Manual therapy techniques focused on enhancing musculoskeletal health. Use stretching, massage, and joint manipulation.

Podiatry: Treatment of foot, ankle, and lower leg issues. Services include assessments, orthotic recommendations, surgery, and specialty footwear.

Dietary Counseling: Individualized dietary assessments, counselling, education, and plans related to health conditions and wellness goals.

Speech Therapy: Assessment and treatment of communication and swallowing disorders. Help conditions like impaired speech/language, cognitive communication problems, swallowing difficulties, and more.

Naturopathy: Natural, non-invasive treatments to enhance the body’s healing abilities. Include herbal remedies, acupuncture, nutritional counselling, and lifestyle changes.

This list captures some of the most common service types, but many others also exist. Employers can choose which disciplines to cover under their paramedical benefits based on employee needs and budget considerations.

Advantages of Providing Paramedical Services


Offering paramedical benefits as part of an overall employee benefits package brings many advantages:

Increased Employee Satisfaction & Engagement

Access to paramedical services gives employees coverage for essential services they value highly. Surveys show paramedics consistently rank among the most appreciated and used benefits. This drives increases in employee satisfaction and engagement scores.

Enhanced Recruitment & Retention Abilities

Competitive benefits help attract top talent and reduce turnover rates. Prospective employees consistently cite health benefits and paramedics as a major consideration during recruitment. Access to massage, chiro, physio, and more is a key draw.

Reduced Absenteeism & Presenteeism

Employees can access treatments to help manage injuries, reduce pain, and improve health without needing time off work for medical appointments. This enhances productivity and reduces absenteeism. Presenteeism rates also decline.

Stronger Sense of Workplace Wellness Culture

Providing healthcare services beyond basic medical coverage promotes employee health and conveys a firm commitment from employers to worker wellbeing. This fosters positive workplace culture.

Potential Cost Savings on Disability Claims

Giving access to therapies that help better manage musculoskeletal issues and pain can reduce future disability leaves and claims. For example, physiotherapy can help prevent minor injuries from becoming major claims.

In summary, paramedical health services offer measurable benefits related to recruitment, retention, engagement, productivity, and disability management. This drives real value for employers.

Cost of Paramedical Coverage

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Getting Paramedical Benefits Plans Right from the Start

The cost of providing coverage for paramedical services depends on several key factors:

  • Number of service types covered: Plans covering more disciplines and therapy types have higher premiums. Employers can control costs by limiting coverage to high-value services like massage, physio and chiro.
  • Annual maximums: Most plans limit the annual dollar amount per service. Typical maximums range from $300 to $800. Higher maximums mean higher premiums.
  • Reimbursement percentages: Typical plans cover 50-80% of costs per visit up to the annual maximum. Higher reimbursements equal higher premiums.
  • Employee demographics: Workforces with larger numbers of older employees or jobs with higher physical demands will have higher paramedical premiums.
  • Provider billing rates: Premium costs are tracked with rates practitioners charge for services, which vary by region.

While adding paramedical coverage increases benefit plan costs, the services generate significant value. Costs also remain very reasonable compared to other major coverage lines like drugs or dental.

Leveraging an experienced insurance broker to design plans with proper controls and cost containment strategies is key to affording paramedical benefits.

List of Top Common Paramedical Services for Employee Benefits Plans

When reviewing options for paramedical health services to cover, below are among the top disciplines for employers to consider:

Physiotherapy: Helps employees recover from musculoskeletal injuries and manage pain/mobility issues. High utilization and value.

Massage Therapy: Popular option for pain relief and tension/stress management. Provides relaxation benefits.

Chiropractic: Effective for addressing back and spinal health issues. Valuable for labour-intensive workforces.

Psychology: Provides support for mental health concerns, especially valuable after pandemic stresses.

Osteopathy: Holistic therapy option providing pain relief and promoting wellness. Lower premium costs.

Acupuncture: Provides alternative treatment methods focused on natural healing and energy flows.

Podiatry: Important for employees in roles requiring extensive walking/standing. Helps foot health.

Naturopathy: Focuses on natural treatments and preventative health. Aligns with wellness goals.

When evaluating coverage options, assessing employee needs, job demands, and workplace demographics leads to plans optimized for maximum benefits.

The Right Insurance Broker Provides Paramedical Health Benefits Expertise

Offering paramedical services brings advantages, but designing and pricing effective plans requires working with an experienced group insurance broker. The right broker brings specialized expertise that ensures you get optimal coverage at reasonable costs, including:

  • Thorough knowledge of the paramedical services terrain and leading practitioners in your region. This allows them to craft tailored plans.
  • Established insurer relationships and group buying power that enable access to top carriers and preferred group rates, maximizing plan value.
  • Ongoing support handling enrolment, employee education, and claims support. This lifts engagement and controls inappropriate utilization.
  • Regular reviews and benchmarking to adjust plans against evolving worker needs and workplace risks. This optimizes programs over the long term.
  • Cost containment insights related to maximums, reimbursement limits, and service mix to balance costs and coverage.

While adding paramedical services requires budget considerations, the health and recruitment/retention benefits warrant the costs. The right insurance advisor makes building effective coverage easier and more affordable. Reach out to discuss options relevant to your employee population and benefits strategy goals.

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