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Green Shield Canada Employee Benefits

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Green Shield Canada (GSC) is one of the leading providers of group benefits in Canada. This comprehensive review will examine Green Shield Canada employee benefits.

We’ll look at:

  • Company overview and background
  • Types of benefits offered by GSC
  • Working with GSC and customer service
  • Pros and cons of their plans
  • Reasons to choose GSC benefits
  • Recommendations for different types of companies and employees

By the end, you’ll see why Green Shield Canada is considered one of Canada’s top employee benefits providers.

Green Shield Canada Company Overview

Green Shield Canada (GSC) has grown from humble beginnings in 1957 to becoming one of Canada’s health and dental benefits industry leaders.

Unlocking Benefits: A Review of Green Shield Canada's Employee Offerings  IDC
Unlocking Benefits: A Review of Green Shield Canada’s Employee Offerings

Founded in Windsor, Ontario, by a local pharmacist named Bill Wilkinson, GSC started as a small operation called Prescription Services Inc. The initial focus was on pioneering the first pre-paid drug plans in Canada.

Over the decades, Green Shield Canada expanded its offerings from prescription drugs to total health and dental benefits. Today, Green Shield Canada provides benefits plans for over 1.5 million plan members across Canada. (Source)

With headquarters still located in Windsor, GSC has over 1,500 employees nationwide (Source). Through its advanced systems and infrastructure, it processes over 100 million claims each year.

GSC’s vision is “To be Canada’s leader in sustainable health and dental benefit solutions.” Their mission aims to make it easier for all Canadians to access the benefits they need to live their healthiest lives.

As a not-for-profit provider, Green Shield Canada takes a unique approach to the industry. Rather than rewarding shareholders, GSC redirects its profits to enhance internal services, resources and infrastructure.

Over the past ten years, Green Shield Canada has donated over $3 million to various health-related charitable causes across Canada (Source). This includes funding things like:

  • Mobile dental buses offering free check-ups and treatment to underserved communities
  • Medical clinics providing primary care to marginalized groups
  • Health research projects at children’s hospitals
  • Community programs for diabetes education and smoking cessation
  • Shelters, food banks, and mental health programs

GSC’s charitable focus aligns with its mission to improve access to healthcare. The not-for-profit model allows it to invest in innovative services and give back through community initiatives nation-wide, distinguishing it from traditional, for-profit insurance carriers.

What does Green Shield Canada Employee Benefits Offer?

Green Shield Canada's Employee Benefits Under Review IDC
Green Shield Canada’s Employee Benefits Under Review

Green Shield Canada provides a comprehensive range of group benefits options for employers across Canada. Their plans are designed to be tailored to each company’s unique needs and budget.

Green Shield Canada Health Benefits

One primary offering is health benefits, which help cover healthcare, prescriptions, dental care, and more. Green Shield Canada health plans can include:

Prescription Drug Coverage: Companies can select from formularies with over 10,000 drugs. Plans offer features like pay-direct drug cards, mandatory generic substitution, prior authorization programs, and drug pooling aggregation.

Dental Benefits: Dental plans cover basic, minor and major services. Options include:

  • Fee guides based on provincial dental associations.
  • Co-insurance for significant work.
  • Adding orthodontics.

Real-time claims adjudication is available.

Extended Healthcare: This covers registered therapists, medical devices, vision care, hospital stays, and more. Employers choose the types of benefits, reimbursement percentage (e.g., 80%, 100%), and annual maximums.

Emergency Travel: Out-of-country emergency medical coverage for employees while travelling, with trip duration options from 8 to 60+ days.

Green Shield Canada has over 30 customizable benefits plan designs that enable employers to select the optimal mix of coverage, from essential dental/health to comprehensive benefits.

Plan members can search coverage details through GSC’s member site and mobile app. Customizable benefit booklets outline specifics.

Green Shield Canada Disability Insurance

Protecting employee income is crucial in case of illness, injury, or disability. GSC offers both Short-Term and Long-Term disability plans.

Short-Term Disability (STD): This plan replaces income for illnesses/injuries causing disability within the first 15 weeks. Depending on the plan chosen, available benefits range from 55% to 75% of income. (Source)

Long-Term Disability (LTD): For disabilities lasting over 15 weeks, LTD provides income replacement until recovery or age 65. GSC offers partial disability benefits and survivor income benefits on LTD plans.

STD and LTD plans have optional features like cost-of-living adjustments, health coverage contributions, and coverage during leaves. Disability management resources are also available.

Green Shield Canada Life and Accident Insurance

Green Shield Canada life insurance solutions aim to protect employee income and provide survivor benefits:

Employee Basic Life: Core coverage is typically 1-2x the annual salary. Some industries have set benefit amounts.

Optional Life: Employees can add supplemental coverage for themselves and their dependents based on needs.

Dependent Life: Set benefit amounts for spouse and child coverage.

Accidental Death and Dismemberment (AD&D): Lump sum payouts in case of death/dismemberment due to an accident.

Critical Illness: Covers 25+ conditions like cancer, strokes, and heart attacks with lump sum payouts.

Special Insurance: Additional critical illness, disability, and survivor benefits.

Green Shield Canada Travel Insurance

For international employees, Green Shield Canada offers emergency out-of-country travel benefits as part of a base plan or as a standalone.

Coverage durations can range from 8 to 60+ days per trip. Travel assistance for emergency messages, arranging direct billing, and passport replacement are included.

Green Shield Canada Additional Services and Support

Reviewing Green Shield Canada's Employee Benefits IDC
Reviewing Green Shield Canada’s Employee Benefits

On top of core benefits administration, Green Shield Canada provides value-added services like:

HR Consulting: Support for leaves and absences, benefit consulting, total compensation, and more.

Drug Utilization: Programs aimed at drug cost management and sustainability.

Discounts and Perks: Various savings programs and perks for plan members.

Taxation Services: Support for benefit taxation, taxable benefit administration, and regulatory compliance.

Analytics: Reporting and insights on benefit costs, member utilization/engagement, drug trends, and other KPIs.

Administration Tools: HR admin portal, member access, claims management automation, enrolment solutions, etc.

This combination of core benefits and additional services allows GSC to offer employer clients customized, comprehensive, people-focused benefits packages.

Working with Green Shield Canada

Implementation Process

GSC aims to make new clients’ onboarding and implementation as smooth as possible. They assign an implementation team to manage the entire process.

This implementation team will:

  • Review the plan provisions, eligibility criteria, enrollment procedures, and administrative requirements. They ensure everything is configured correctly within their systems.
  • Facilitate open enrollment communications and education for employees. This includes creating customized benefit summaries, newsletters, emails, webinars and posters/visuals that help employees understand their options.
  • Ensure all necessary enrollment forms, data and evidence of insurability are collected from employees. The team can provide both paper forms and electronic self-serve enrollment.
  • Validate eligibility after the effective date through audit processes to confirm that all benefits enrollees meet eligibility requirements.
  • Distribute plan member ID cards and detailed benefits plan booklets to employees. Booklets can be sent in print, online or both.
  • Oversee initial claims processing to confirm the transition is smooth.

After launch, the implementation team transitions the client to an assigned account management team. This team becomes the main point of contact for ongoing questions, support, renewals, and changes.

A dedicated account team helps ensure clients have expertise and are familiar with their benefits plan, company, employees and administration. It also prevents clients from needing to re-explain details whenever they have questions.

The account team will discuss keeping employees engaged with their benefits. This can involve customized education campaigns, newsletters, training sessions and more. For large clients, GSC provides access to a web-based HR portal for benefits administration and self-serve options.

Overall, GSC aims to simplify benefits administration for HR teams by providing dedicated account experts. Their teams handle the heavy lifting for implementation, communication, and ongoing support.

Green Shield Canada Customer Service Experience

Green Shield Canada provides customer service through a toll-free call center and website support. The call center is located at their head office in Windsor, Ontario.

GSC’s call center handled over 100,000 calls with ongoing high call volumes of around 8,000 per day. (Source)

The website offers self-serve options for finding providers, checking coverage, and submitting certain claims. Members can also live chat with agents on the website.

For employers, there is an online benefits administration portal for tasks like enrollment, requesting ID cards, and accessing reports.

Member Resources

A key focus for GSC is providing education and resources so members understand their benefits. Available resources include:

  • Benefit plan booklets detailing coverage
  • Website section for members with articles and videos
  • Customizable postcard campaigns on benefits or health topics
  • Emails and newsletters for benefits education and promotion
  • Dedicated account manager for ongoing client support
  • Access to live webinars on benefits and wellness topics

This support can help improve employee engagement and utilization of health benefits.

Pros and Cons of Green Shield Canada Benefits

Benefits Breakdown: Evaluating Green Shield Canada's Employee Offerings IDC
Benefits Breakdown: Evaluating Green Shield Canada’s Employee Offerings

Here are some of the critical advantages reported by many GSC clients:

Pros of Green Shield Canada

  • Not-for-profit model and competitive pricing
  • Wide range of plan options for customization
  • Excellent customer service and account support
  • Processing over 90% of claims within five business days
  • Member-focused resources and education
  • Benefit consulting and cost containment expertise
  • Data analytics on costs, usage and drug trends
  • Automation and integration capabilities with HRIS systems
  • Experience handling large, complex benefits plans
  • National coverage with offices across Canada

In surveys, the most common positives highlighted are the quality of service and account support. Many also report good value and customization for group plans.

Cons of Green Shield Canada

  • Prior authorization programs can lead to some claims delays or extra steps for plan members on certain drugs
  • Limited plan options for individual insurance compared to group
  • Changes to lower costs, like delisting drugs, can upset some plan members
  • The approval process for medical items like wheelchairs can be extensive

The most frequent complaint reported concerns GSC’s prior authorization program, which aims to ensure the right drug use. This can mean extra paperwork and potential delays for certain high-cost prescription drugs. However, prior authorization is common among insurers.

Why Choose Green Shield Canada?

There are many good reasons to consider Green Shield Canada for employee benefits:

Not-for-profit model and competitive pricing

As a not-for-profit, Green Shield Canada can reinvest in enhancing its services, resources and community support. Many clients report they offer substantial value and reasonable pricing, especially for customized group benefits.

Wide selection of group benefits

GSC offers comprehensive options from essential dental/health to complete benefits packages. Plans can be tailored with different levels of coverage based on specific workplace needs.

Excellent customer service

Surveys and reviews show widespread satisfaction with GSC’s customer service and responsiveness. Account management teams provide ongoing support, which can relieve the HR workload.

Quick claims processing and reimbursement

GSC processes most claims within 0-5 business days for quick reimbursement. Members can submit claims directly via the GSC app and website.

Strong focus on education and member experience

GSC invests heavily in benefits, education, and resources to promote employee understanding and engagement.

Data analytics and consulting

Green Shield Canada provides insightful reporting on benefit utilization and costs. Their analytics team consults on trends, cost drivers and containment strategies.

National coverage with accessibility

With offices and account teams across Canada, GSC provides nationwide local support. Plan members have access to bilingual customer service in English and French.

Experience handling needs of large payors

As one of Canada’s most significant benefits carriers, GSC has proven experience managing large, complex group plans with thousands of members nationwide.

GSC may be a better solution for some organizations. Companies with younger workforces may find carriers with more robust digital tools better aligned. Some smaller employers may benefit from an insurance broker for customized advice. However, GSC’s core advantages make it one of Canada’s top choices for employee benefits among various employers and industries.

Conclusions and Recommendations

Green Shield Canada deserves consideration for companies looking to enhance their benefits offerings. Their wide range of plans, competitive pricing, dedication to service and focus on members have kept them a leader in employee benefits for over 60 years.

Green Shield Canada also offers individual health insurance plans that can provide employees with stop-gap coverage or alternative options. However, these plans offer far fewer options than their group plans.

Employee Well-being Matters: Green Shield Canada's Benefits Reviewed IDC
Employee Well-being Matters: Green Shield Canada’s Benefits Reviewed

Here are some key takeaways on the types of employers that tend to benefit most from Green Shield Canada’s offerings:

  • For mid-to-large employers who want customization and consultation, GSC shines with flexibility in plan design and data-driven expertise.
  • Companies with multiple locations nationwide – GSC’s national teams and offices provide localized support from coast to coast
  • Organizations who value education and member experience – GSC invests heavily in employee communications and engagement.
  • Employers with older workforces or higher healthcare usage – GSC’s expertise in cost containment is helpful in these cases.

While GSC charges some of the lowest administration fees among insurers, cost-conscious smaller employers may find a good fit with discount insurers like Wawanesa Life. As one of Canada’s largest employee benefits providers, Green Shield Canada remains a top choice for employers seeking a quality benefits partner. Their not-for-profit mission, client focus, and range of plan options provide a robust platform for companies investing in their workforce.

Finding the right employee benefits provider is an important decision for any business in Canada. With a range of options to choose from, it’s helpful to understand the landscape of top providers across the country. Some of the leading employee benefits providers in Canada include:

Article Sources

Ebsource is a website dedicated to empowering Canadians to make informed choices about employee benefits and human resources. We strive to provide comprehensive and unbiased information to Canadians looking to understand their options regarding work benefits and HR insights. Our advice is rooted in research conducted by veteran finance professionals, ensuring it aligns with industry best practices. The statistics we cite come directly from respected government agencies and industry organizations like Statistics Canada and the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association, guaranteeing the accuracy of our data.

Our recommendations are tailored to individuals’ specific needs and budgets, stemming from meticulous and impartial research on the major employee benefits providers across Canada. Ebsource upholds high standards of objectivity, transparency, and independence in all of our materials. We take pride in producing advice readers can trust by drawing on reputable sources and adhering to strict editorial principles. As Canada’s most reliable hub for employee benefits news and HR expertise, we are devoted to empowering Canadians to make informed benefits decisions.

Green Shield Canada – GSC – thinkinsure.ca
Green Shield Health and Dental Insurance – bestquotetravelinsurance.ca
Better Health for All – greenshield.ca
Green Shield Benefit Plan Booklet – Professionals, Managers, Confidentials and TST – vicu.utoronto.ca

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