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Employee BenefitsGroup Health BenefitsGroup Health Insurance for Hospitality Workers in Canada

Group Health Insurance for Hospitality Workers in Canada

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The hospitality industry employs over 1.2 million workers across Canada. This includes jobs at hotels, resorts, restaurants, bars, casinos, catering companies, and other food service establishments. Hospitality work can be rewarding but also has significant physical and mental demands. The long hours, customer service pressures, and risk of injury make hospitality one of the most challenging industries for employees.

Source: https://www.alrichhospitalitystaffing.com/various-hospitality-jobs.html

That’s why having access to comprehensive and affordable healthcare through group health benefits is so important for hospitality staff. This article will explore group health insurance for hospitality workers, how it benefits hospitality employers, what typical plans cover and cost, and how companies can choose the right plan.

Learn more about insurance for hospitality workers in Canada
Hospitality Group Disability Insurance in Canada
Hospitality Group Critical Illness Insurance in Canada
Group Life Insurance for Hospitality Staff in Canada – A Helpful Guide

Why Do Hospitality Workers Need Group Health Insurance?

Hospitality employees face unique challenges that demonstrate why employer-provided group health insurance is so essential.

Why Do Hospitality Workers Need Group Health Insurance? ebs
Why Do Hospitality Workers Need Group Health Insurance?

The Physical and Mental Demands of Hospitality Work

Working in hospitality is physically gruelling. Hours are long, shifts extend late into the night, and there is constant pressure to deliver excellent customer service – no matter the circumstances. Servers, cooks, housekeepers, and other staff are on their feet all day, often lifting heavy loads. This leads to high injury rates, chronic pain, and increased mental stress. Hospitality workers have the highest risk of workplace injury out of all sectors in Canada. Access to quality healthcare helps hospitality staff manage work-related injuries and the cumulative toll caused by long-term physical labour.

On top of the physical demands, hospitality work brings substantial mental and emotional challenges. Dealing with customers – sometimes quite difficult ones – all day requires patience, empathy, problem-solving skills, stress management, and more. Hospitality workers have been found to have higher rates of depression, sleep disorders, and substance abuse compared to the general population. This increased risk makes access to mental health support, counselling, and treatment all the more necessary.

High Risk of Injury and Illness

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the accommodations and food services industry had one of the highest rates of nonfatal occupational injury and illness cases. Sprains, strains, tears, soreness, and fractures from slips, trips, and falls are extremely common. Hospitality workers also suffer many burns from hot surfaces or liquids. Without proper treatment, these injuries can worsen over time and lead to chronic health issues.

In addition to injuries, hospitality employees face elevated exposure to illnesses. Flu and other contagious diseases easily spread between workers and guests in crowded dining rooms, hotel lobbies, and convention venues. Food service employees must be incredibly diligent to avoid transmitting foodborne illnesses. Healthcare plans allow hospitality staff to access the preventative, diagnostic, and treatment care required to promote health and limit the spread of disease.

Lack of Benefits in Hospitality Jobs

Wages in hospitality traditionally lag behind other sectors, making benefits all the more critical for financial security. However, according to Statistics Canada, employees in accommodation and food services have the lowest access to medical insurance, dental plans, life and disability insurance, pension plans, paid sick leave, and other job perks of any industry. Cost pressures have caused many hospitality employers to forgo offering comprehensive health insurance.

For most hospitality employees, paying for individual health plans is unaffordable – especially for those working part-time. But going uninsured threatens financial ruin. Average healthcare costs for an individual with employer coverage in Canada are $706 per year (with the employer contributing much of the plan’s premium). According to Statista, costs for someone without coverage jump to a whopping $1,189 annually in out-of-pocket health expenses in 2022. This burden disproportionately impacts hospitality workers, given the preexisting challenges outlined above.

Source: https://www.statista.com/statistics/1387046/out-of-pocket-per-capita-health-spending-canada/

What Does Group Health Insurance for Hospitality Workers Typically Cover?

Group health insurance plans provide comprehensive healthcare and financial benefits that meet hospitality employees’ unique needs. Here are some of the most common coverages.

What Does Group Health Insurance Typically Cover for Hospitality Workers? ebs
What Does Group Health Insurance Typically Cover for Hospitality Workers?

Medical Coverage

Medical insurance covers expenses incurred for necessary diagnostics, treatment services, surgeries, and hospitalizations. This provides financial protection from unexpected emergencies or the identification of severe conditions requiring intervention. Healthcare plans usually establish an annual limit for how much they will pay. Anything beyond that limit is paid out-of-pocket by the insured. Typical in-network reimbursements range from 80% to 100%. Out-of-network providers are reimbursed at lower rates.

Dental Coverage

Dental insurance helps pay for regular preventative care like exams, cleanings, and x-rays, as well as basic procedures like fillings and extractions. Some plans cover significant services like crowns, dentures, bridges, braces, and implants. Annual limits usually apply. Many dental plans pay 50% to 80% of primary care and less (or nothing) for significant care.

Vision Coverage

Vision insurance covers routine eye exams and may subsidize eyeglass frames, lenses, or contact lenses. Vision plans provide essential preventative care to keep hospitality employees seeing clearly and safely performing work duties. Copays typically apply for materials. Maximums for hardware often range from $150-$500 per year.

Prescription Drugs

Prescription coverage helps pay for necessary medications doctors prescribe. This benefit ensures hospitality workers have access to the therapies and treatments needed to manage health conditions. Plans establish formularies—a list of approved medications covered at set tiers or copays. Newer, more expensive drugs are usually excluded or subject to higher copays.

Source: https://www.gms.ca/group-plans/overview

How Much Does Group Health Insurance for Hospitality Workers Cost?

Group health insurance represents a significant yet strategic investment in human capital for hospitality businesses. There are several factors impacting total costs.

Factors That Determine Cost

  • Plan design: More comprehensive benefits, lower deductibles, higher reimbursement rates, and lower copays raise costs. Offering separate health, dental, vision, disability, and other policies is more expensive than bundled plans.
  • Covered dependents: Including spouses, children, and families on the plan(s) increases premiums.
  • Employer contribution: Plans where employers pay a larger share of the premium cost more overall than employees pay a higher portion.
  • Employee demographics: The age, gender, and location of staff impact risk and, therefore, premiums. Older workforces cost more.
  • Company size: Below ten employees, premiums are higher as risk pools are minor. Larger groups get lower rates.
  • Industry risk factors: Hospitality’s physical nature may warrant loading premiums slightly.

Estimated Costs

Premiums are normally paid on a cost-shared basis between employers and employees. A 50/50 split is typical for health premiums, while employers tend to cover over two-thirds of dental premiums. Of course, actual costs vary significantly based on the factors above.

What are the Benefits of Providing Group Health Insurance for Hospitality Workers?

What are the benefits of providing group health insurance to hospitality employers? ebs
What are the benefits of providing group health insurance to hospitality employers?

While health insurance represents a substantial expense, it provides hospitality businesses with a range of workforce and bottom-line benefits that outweigh the costs.

Improved Recruitment and Retention

Offering healthcare coverage makes hospitality employers stand out in competing for talent. Employees are less likely to leave for alternate jobs or industries when their employer provides healthcare.

Increased Productivity

Healthy employees are more productive. Easy access to medical treatment through insurance keeps minor issues from turning into lost time. Preventative and mental health benefits like counselling help avoid burnout and catch conditions early.

Reduced Absenteeism

Absences drain hospitality business revenues through lost wages, overtime pay for replacements, and temporary staffing agency fees. Workers with health insurance miss substantially fewer days than the uninsured.

Tax Benefits

Premiums paid for employees’ healthcare coverage are considered a business expense and tax deductible. This provides sizable savings compared to money taken out of pre-tax profits to pay for benefits.

How Hospitality Employers Can Choose the Right Group Health Insurance Plan

Selecting group health insurance for your hospitality business does require some consideration. Focus on balancing robust coverage with affordability.

Comparing Plan Options

  • Review at least three different health insurance providers and have brokers outline available plan designs. Compare coverage levels, premiums, out-of-pocket costs, provider networks, online tools, mobile apps, member services, and added programs.
  • Consider both fully insured options, where you pay a set premium, and self-insured plans, where you bear financial risk but can customize policies. Self-funding may provide greater flexibility for hospitality companies that can shoulder more risk.
  • Look for insurers with experience serving the hospitality and food and beverage space. They will understand the workforce needs and risks. An experienced broker can also provide a big assist in navigating options.

Considering Employee Needs

Get input from your staff on what they value most in health benefits. Are they looking for lower deductibles or premiums? Do they want more access to mental health resources? Have kids covered or retirement savings benefits? Survey employees and incorporate feedback into your search.

Finding the Right Insurance Partner

When designing options, you want an insurance company that will take the time to understand your business and workforce. They should demonstrate hospitality experience. Responsive account management, easy online access for you and your employees, strong provider networks in your locations, and healthcare industry leadership are also musts. Checking reviews and seeking referrals help identify good prospective partners.

Frequently Asked Questions about Group Health Insurance for Hospitality Workers

How is group health insurance different from travel insurance hospitality employers sometimes offer?

Travel insurance helps pay for medical costs incurred by employees who get sick or injured while away on business trips. However, it only covers emergency treatment in urgent situations. Group health insurance pays for everyday preventative and diagnostic care, chronic condition management, elective but recommended surgeries, mental health therapy, and more. The two policies serve totally different purposes.

Are self-insured group health plans a viable option for hospitality companies?

Self-insured plans work better for larger employers who can easily shoulder financial risk across significant workforces. However, some hospitality companies with 200-300+ employees could consider the flexibility of self-funding some policies. Stop loss insurance protection caps damages. Just know the administration is complex. Getting professional help designing self-funded group benefits is a must in hospitality.

Can I offer different group health insurance options to different classes of employees?

Hospitality employers can establish classes - like management and hourly workers - and offer different plans and coverage levels for those groups. However, you must ensure the classes are based on job roles and not discriminatory factors like age or health conditions. Offering equal access across classes makes the most sense to simplify administration - just with different employer/employee premium splits.

Should group health plans be mandatory or voluntary at hospitality companies?

You can designate health benefits as mandatory for eligible employees or make them voluntary (opt-in). Voluntary plans cost less, as some staff will decline, but they also see lower participation, which reduces financial savings. Mandatory participation ensures widespread usage of preventative and primary care benefits, lowering long-term claim costs. However, employees forfeit the premiums from their paychecks.

How long does implementing group health insurance at my hospitality business take?

You should allow 60 to 90 days after choosing a provider for enrollment, underwriting, communications, payments setup, ID card issuance, and other launch logistics. Preparation with ownership, HR, and managers also takes time. Identify a go-live date based on when current policies expire and work backwards. Get organized to hit the ground running once the new plan takes effect.


Finding the right partner, understanding options, and implementing thoughtfully pave the path to win-win group health benefits in hospitality. ebs
Finding the right partner, understanding options, and implementing thoughtfully pave the path to win-win group health benefits in hospitality.

Having access to healthcare through group health insurance plans is so important for hospitality workers. However, hospitality employers have traditionally been reluctant or unable to provide quality benefits. Cost concerns, high turnover rates, and work-hour eligibility restrictions have prevented many hospitality companies from making health insurance available.

This is changing as more evidence shows that providing group health benefits positively impacts the hospitality workforce’s recruitment, retention, engagement, and productivity. Forward-thinking employers are realizing group health insurance can give them a competitive advantage.

The stakes have never been higher for hospitality businesses to take exceptional care of their workforce as competition for talent heats up. Providing group health insurance represents a worthy investment in recruitment, retention, productivity, and morale. Employees realize tremendous financial value and peace of mind – benefits they often can’t access alone. Forward-thinking employers discover healthcare plans deliver concrete bottom-line returns today while setting their company up for sustained success. Finding the right partner, understanding options, and implementing thoughtfully pave the path to win-win group health benefits in hospitality.

Learn more: Group Health Insurance for Engineers in Canada
Article Sources

Ebsource enables informed benefits decisions. Our unbiased insights come from financial veterans adhering to industry best practices. We source accurate data from respected agencies like Statistics Canada. Through extensive research of top providers, we offer customized recommendations matched to individual needs and budgets. At Ebsource, we maintain strict editorial standards and transparent sourcing. Our aim is equipping Canadians with trusted knowledge to choose optimal benefits confidently. Our purpose is being Canada’s most dependable resource for savvy benefits guidance.

Health Insurance plans for hospitality businesses – equipsme.com
Hospitality Insurance – zensurance.com
A Benefits Plan Built for the Hospitality Industry to Help You Attract and Retain Employees – hospitalitybenefits.ca

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