Employee BenefitsCompaniesGMS Group Medical Services Employee Benefits in Canada: Company Review

GMS Group Medical Services Employee Benefits in Canada: Company Review

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GMS, or Group Medical Services, is a top Canadian provider of employee benefits plans. With over 70 years of experience, GMS offers health, dental, life, disability and other insurance products for companies of all sizes.
This review will examine GMS employee benefits packages and compare plan options. It will highlight what makes GMS stand out and highlight the key benefits of using it for your company’s needs. If you want to switch providers or offer benefits for the first time, read on to see if GMS is right for your business and employees.

Who is GMS employee benefits?

History and Founding

Unlocking Benefits: A Review of GMS' Employee Offerings IDC
Unlocking Benefits: A Review of GMS’ Employee Offerings

Group Management Services GMS was founded in 1930s in Regina, Saskatchewan. GMS emerged from a merger between a physician-sponsored health insurance plan and a subscriber cooperative medical insurance plan. This combination allowed GMS to provide affordable health insurance before Saskatchewan implemented Medicare in 1962.

In its early days, Group Management Services offered coverage for healthcare costs not included in the provincial plan, such as prescription drugs, ambulance service, and private nursing. These benefits formed the foundation of GMS’s supplemental health insurance plans, which exist today.

The company expanded nationwide in 2003, bringing its personalized service and health insurance expertise to provinces across Canada. Group Management Services Insurance Inc. was created as a wholly owned subsidiary to facilitate this growth outside Saskatchewan under the GMS brand.

Source: https://www.gms.ca/about-gms

Services and Products

Today, Group Management Services provides a wide range of insurance products for groups and individuals, including:

  • Group Health Benefits: Customizable plans with options for health, dental, drug, travel, life, disability and more.
  • Individual Health Insurance: Personal and replacement health plans to supplement provincial healthcare.
  • Group Life Insurance: Term life, accidental death and dismemberment, dependent life and critical illness policies.
  • Disability Insurance: Short-term and long-term disability benefits.
  • Dental Insurance: Preventative, restorative, orthodontic and other dental care coverage.
  • Vision Care: Coverage for eye exams, glasses and contact lenses.
  • Prescription Drug Coverage: Plans with varying levels of prescription drug reimbursement.
  • Travel Medical Insurance: Emergency medical coverage for trips out of province and country.

GMS utilizes provider networks and direct billing to make claiming benefits easy for plan members. They also offer employees online claims submissions and access.

Company Mission and Values

GMS strives to provide Canadians with affordable, flexible, and comprehensive benefits coverage. As an independent company, it focuses on personalized service and maintaining tradition while also innovating new products.

Fundamental company values include:

  • Affordability: GMS leverages its history and reputation to negotiate competitive rates from providers. It then passes these savings on to customers through affordable premiums.
  • Choice: A wide selection of group and individual plans provides choices for different coverage needs and budgets.
  • Quality: Customer experience is paramount. GMS invests in employee training and provides knowledgeable, responsive support.
  • Tradition: GMS honours its 70+ year legacy while evolving its products and services to meet changing healthcare needs.
  • Innovation: New solutions like healthcare spending accounts and modular benefits maintain GMS’s reputation as an innovation leader.

GMS Employee Benefits Packages

Group Management Services offers packaged and customizable benefits plans to meet the needs of companies of all sizes.

Navigating Perks: GMS' Employee Benefits Under Review IDC
Navigating Perks: GMS’ Employee Benefits Under Review

Group Advantage Plan

Ideal for small businesses, GMS Group Advantage provides pre-set health and dental plan options at affordable rates, simplifying the quoting and enrollment process.

Employers select between Silver, Gold and Platinum health plans, then can add on dental and other insurance. Monthly premiums per employee are listed clearly on the Group Management Services website by province.

Here is an overview of the Group Advantage plan options:

Health Plan Options

  • Silver: Basic prescription drug and vision care coverage. Lowest premiums.
  • Gold: Enhanced drug, vision and travel benefits. Mid-range premiums.
  • Platinum: Highest health maximums and travel coverage. Ideal for comprehensive coverage.

Health Coverage Details

  • Prescription Drugs: Silver covers 70% up to $500. Gold covers 80% up to $1,500. Platinum covers 100% up to $5,000.
  • Vision Care: Silver covers eye exams only. Gold provides $150 per 2 years. Platinum provides $300 per 2 years.
  • Paramedical Services: Gold and Platinum plans include chiropractic, massage therapy, physiotherapy, psychology and more.
  • Medical Supplies & Equipment: Higher tiers include prosthetics, mobility aids and diabetic supplies.
  • Travel Coverage: Gold and Platinum offer $5 million in emergency medical travel benefits.

Dental Plan Options

  • Silver: Preventative services like exams, cleanings and x-rays.
  • Gold: Adds coverage for basic procedures like fillings and simple extractions.
  • Platinum: Includes primary restorative services plus orthodontics for children.

All Group Advantage dental plans allow combining the yearly basic and major coverage maximums between $500 and $2,000 per person. The employer selects this maximum.

Add-Ons like Group Life Insurance:

Group Management Services partners with Assumption Life to enable easy quoting and enrollment for add-on life and disability benefits with Group Advantage health plans. This provides complete protection.

Custom Group Benefit Plans

Group Management Services offers comprehensive customization of benefits packages for groups with at least 11 employees. This allows employers to tailor plans to their specific workforce and budget needs with the help of knowledgeable GMS advisors.

Coverages can include:

  • Health: Prescriptions, dental, vision, paramedical, medical devices and more
  • Life Insurance: Basic, optional, dependent and accidental death & dismemberment
  • Disability: Short-term and long-term disability.
  • Critical Illness: Lump sum payouts for significant illnesses.
  • Travel: Emergency medical coverage for trips out of province/country.
  • Other options: employee assistance programs, healthcare spending accounts, and cost-plus options.

Group Management Services custom group plans utilize provider networks to enable direct billing and smooth claims processing for plan members. They also offer robust online self-service options for employees and HR administrators.

Benefits of GMS Employee Benefits Plans

Comprehensive and Affordable Coverage

Group Management Services leverages its 70+ years in business to secure optimal rates from insurance providers. This enables them to pass on savings through affordable premiums for packaged and custom group benefits products.

Despite lower premiums, Group Management Services plans offer intense coverage levels tailored to employee needs. Maximums for benefits like drugs, dental and vision care are very competitive, especially among providers catering to small and mid-sized businesses.

Easy Enrollment and Administration

Choosing a pre-set Group Advantage plan only requires comparing three tiers of coverage and calculating monthly costs per employee. There is no lengthy underwriting or back-and-forth quoting.

Even custom plans benefit from GMS’s expertise in streamlining employer benefits selection. The enrollment process is simple, and administrative needs like direct billing and online self-service reduce HR overhead.

Range of Coverage Levels

With Group Advantage, Gold plans offer an excellent middle ground between the Silver and Platinum tiers. This allows employers to balance costs while providing higher coverage levels as the Platinum plan delivers.

Group Management Services makes it easy for groups requiring full customization to match employee demographics and needs with the appropriate benefits and maximums through flexible plan design.

Value-Added Offerings like EFAP

Insider Insights: Reviewing GMS' Employee Benefits IDC
Insider Insights: Reviewing GMS’ Employee Benefits

Group Management Services includes an Employee & Family Assistance Program (EFAP) in all Group Advantage plans at no additional cost. EFAP provides mental health resources, financial coaching, nutritional support and much more.

Other additions, such as life insurance, disability protection, and critical illness coverage, complement health benefits. Group Management Services offerings meet all core employee benefit needs.

Premium Stability

Group Management Services Group Advantage plans to utilize 3-year rate guarantees once enrolled to ensure premium stability. This allows companies to forecast benefit costs as part of their budgets accurately.

GMS draws on its decades of group benefits expertise for custom plans to project future costs and eliminate unexpected premium spikes. There are also open enrollment options to contain costs.

Billing and Claims Convenience

With provider networks across Canada, Group Management Services plan members can easily have claims paid directly to practitioners like dentists, pharmacists, optometrists and physiotherapists.

If direct billing is impossible, fast online claims submissions with direct deposit reimbursement eliminate employee paperwork hassles.

GMS Reviews and Reputation

Awards and Recognitions

GMS is routinely recognized for operational excellence and being a top workplace. Recent awards include:

  • 2021 Best WorkplacesTM in Canada by Great Places to Work Institute Canada – 9th time
  • 2024 List of Saskatchewan’s Top Employers by Mediacorp Canada – 7th time (Source)
  • 2020 Canada’s Passion Capitalists by Waterstone Human Capital – 3rd time

This demonstrates GMS’s commitment to fostering a productive, engaging employee experience that translates to better client service.

Financial Stability and Management

As a private company, Group Management Services does not disclose detailed financials. However, Great-West Lifeco does have an ownership stake in GMS, helping to ensure stable and prudent management.

GMS also maintains an A- (Excellent) rating from A.M. Best, an insurance company financial stability authority. This indicates a low risk of disruptions to clients and an excellent ability to pay out claims.

Comparing GMS to Competitors

When choosing an employee benefits provider, comparing GMS side-by-side with companies offering similar services is beneficial. Here is an overview of how GMS distinguishes itself and how it compares to key Canadian competitors, specifically on group plans.

How GMS Stands Out

History and Reputation: Few Canadian benefits providers match GMS’s 70+ year track record. Their reputation for quality and reliability is unmatched.

Customization Options: GMS allows for tailoring group plans to meet a company’s particular employee population and benefits budget needs.

Value for Premiums: Group Management Services routinely benchmarks as offering intense coverage levels at very competitive rates compared to alternatives.

Range of Add-Ons: Robust selections of voluntary add-ons like EFAP, life insurance and healthcare spending accounts.

Small Business Focus: Group Management Services caters extensively to smaller employers from Group Advantage plans to custom offerings.

Main Competitors

Benefits Breakdown: Evaluating GMS' Employee Offerings IDC
Benefits Breakdown: Evaluating GMS’ Employee Offerings

Sun Life Financial: Compared to Group Management Services, Sun Life offers more plan design flexibility for large corporations with thousands of employees to tailor benefits. However, GMS provides better premium value for smaller groups under 500 employees. Sun Life also trails GMS in supplemental offerings like life insurance and disability.

Manulife: Similar to Sun Life, Manulife caters more to enterprise accounts with expansive plan design capabilities. Group Management Services beats Manulife for smaller firms, offering more accessible enrollment, lower premiums and better supplemental options. Manulife also needs to catch up in geographic reach, lacking an extensive cross-Canada provider network.

Blue Cross: Group Management Services matches Blue Cross for no-hassle enrollment, a direct billing network, competitive premiums, and plan member support. However, Blue Cross has more limited plan configurations, while GMS enables greater customization of group benefits packages.

Green Shield Canada: Green Shield is focused mainly on administering benefits plans rather than advising clients like GMS. It lacks the full-service approach to employee benefits that GMS provides, especially for smaller businesses new to offering group benefits.

In addition, you can learn more about other employee benefits providers in Canada, such as:

Why Choose Group Management Services for Employee Benefits

So why should you consider GMS for your company’s employee benefits needs over other providers? There are a few key advantages.

Benefits for Employers

Attract and Retain Talent: With an aging workforce, benefits are becoming one of the top considerations for job seekers in Canada. Partnering with an established provider like Group Management Services demonstrates you invest in talent, helping you compete for in-demand workers.

Increase Productivity: Research shows that employees with sufficient benefits report higher job satisfaction, engagement, and performance. Comprehensive benefits from Group Management Services support a productive, thriving workforce.

Enhance Corporate Image: Offering robust benefits from a reputable, award-winning firm like GMS boosts your employer brand and public image. It signals you put people first.

Streamlined Administration: Between Group Advantage and easily customizable group plans, GMS simplifies benefits management, freeing up precious HR time and resources.

Benefits for Employees

Comprehensive Coverage: Employees can access complete health, dental, life, disability and other essential protections for peace of mind.

Convenience: Employee-centric features like direct billing and online claims through Group Management Services networks make using benefits simple and fast.

Access to Support Services: Value-added offerings like the EFAP program provide easily accessible mental health, wellness and development resources for employees.

Affordability: GMS passes savings from providers through affordable premiums, helping benefits dollars go further for employees.


Employee Well-being Matters: GMS' Benefits Reviewed IDC
Employee Well-being Matters: GMS’ Benefits Reviewed

With decades of experience and expertise supporting companies across Canada, Group Management Services stands out as a top provider of employee benefits solutions. Their group plans cater extensively to businesses of all sizes while offering employees exceptional service, premium value and convenience.

GMS deserves strong consideration if you’re looking for an established yet innovative partner for your company’s needs in terms of benefits. Reach out for a custom quote to learn more about how GMS can provide the proper fit of protection, coverage and add-ons to attract and retain top talent.

Visit Ebsource for more employee benefits news in Canada.

Article Sources

At Ebsource, our mission is to provide Canadians with comprehensive and honest information to help them make prudent choices regarding employee benefits and human resources insights. We leverage the expertise of seasoned financial professionals to ensure our guidance aligns with industry best practices. The statistics we cite originate from trusted government and industry bodies like Statistics Canada and the CLHIA to guarantee accuracy.

Our recommendations stem from thorough, unbiased research of major employee benefits providers in Canada. This allows us to tailor our suggestions to individuals’ specific budgets and needs. Ebsource upholds rigorous standards of objectivity, transparency, and independence in all our content. We pride ourselves on producing advice readers can trust by referencing reputable sources and adhering to editorial principles. As Canada’s most reliable source for employee benefits news and HR expertise, we are dedicated to empowering Canadians to make informed benefits decisions.

Group Insurance For Your Small Business: The GMS Group Advantage Edition – sbis.ca
About GMS Group Medical Services – bakerandbakerbenefits.com
GMS Group Medical Services – gms.ca

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