David Imrie

While we’re lucky to have universal healthcare in Canada, there are still unexpected health-related expenses that many Canadians have to pay for out of pocket. Braces alone for your child could set you back anywhere between $5,000 and $8,000. That’s a hefty price to pay out of pocket if you’re not covered.


Download "Canada's Best Small Business Tax Tip" Whitepaper


With major expenses like these on the line, it’s more important than ever to be covered. Employees look to their employers for group benefits coverage, as this is one of the most important decision-making factors when choosing an employer. As a small business owner, you need to ensure you’re offering suitable coverage to your employees in order to attract top talent.


Navigating the world of group benefits can be tricky, so here are the top five pitfalls you’ll want to avoid when choosing your coverage.

1. Price Versus Value

When it comes to choosing a group benefits package, you want to find the perfect balance between price and coverage. It’s important not to fall into the pitfall of price being your determining factor. Sure, you don’t want to break the bank, but you also want to ensure your employees are covered for exactly what they need and want.


You can find group benefits at both ends of the spectrum—very inexpensive benefits that are lacking the most valuable coverage to your employees and unbelievably expensive benefits that likely offer the same coverage as a mid-level plan. It’s all about comparing plans and finding the best bang for your buck.


Make sure you understand which coverage options are important for you and find a benefits plan that incorporates this while also being affordable.

2. Annual Premium Increases   

Many small business owners don’t understand that, with many insurance companies, the price you sign up for isn’t going to be the price you pay in five years. Don’t fall victim to significant annual premium increases. Avoid this pitfall by choosing a coverage option that has no annual premium increases, like a health spending account. Make sure the price you pay now is what you’ll be paying five, ten, even fifteen years down the line.

3. Partial Coverage

Just because something is covered in a group benefits plan doesn’t mean it is fully covered. You need to be careful when choosing plans that you’re not opting for partial coverage when your employees should be fully insured. Don’t let insurance companies trick you into thinking partial coverage is the norm; your employees deserve full coverage.

Full coverage is more enticing to your employees, as it limits the out-of-pocket expenses associated with your coverage.

4. After-Tax Dollars

Make sure that, when you’re choosing insurance coverage, 100 percent coverage truly means just that. Many insurance companies require employees to pay after-tax dollars, even on fully covered plans. Be aware of this fact when choosing your provider and ensure the group benefits option you choose is completely covered with no extra after-tax spending required.

5. No Flexibility

Having a rigid and inflexible benefits package is an outdated option. Health needs can greatly differ from one employee to the next. To guarantee your employees are satisfied and fully covered, you’ll need a benefits plan that is flexible.


The best way to ensure your employees are getting exactly what they want is to choose a registered health spending account. This allows your employees to use their benefit money on exactly what they need it for. From laser eye surgery to medical marijuana, this is the most valuable option for your employees. 


The CEOs Guide to Decreasing Group Health Premium Cost

David Imrie

Dr. David Imrie founded RHSA Canada in 2009. Dr. Imrie is a medical doctor and former health insurance professional who has a passion for helping small businesses reduce their healthcare costs. As an executive in the insurance industry, he was shocked to find that so many common healthcare services are covered only partially by most insured plans, when employees were entitled to 100% coverage for all prescription drugs, dental services, and other healthcare expenses. Since leaving the insurance industry in 2001, Dr. Imrie committed to using newer technology to develop a better alternative program for small business health benefits.
Find David Imrie on: