Employee Health – Small Businesses need options in time of COVID-19

It’s always tough for British Columbia’s half a million small businesses to compete and thrive, but COVID-19 has created a business climate that is almost unrecognizable—creating an even tougher environment for them to operate.

This is concerning because, according to Small Business BC, these businesses employ over one million people in the province.

Enlightened business owners know that the health of their employees is paramount; they also know they compete with larger, deep-pocketed employers to retain their best and brightest employees. 

For small-to mid-size groups, having a health benefits plan that’s competitive with larger employers is a critical part of a total compensation package, but it’s a balancing act between flexibility and affordability.

“Small business represents an important focus for us now and into the future, and we know the undue strain that the COVID-19 pandemic has put on them,” says John Crawford, CEO of Pacific Blue Cross. “In response, we’ve redesigned our Blue Chip product to provide the flexibility and cost effectiveness they need to adapt to the changing needs of their employee base.” 

The Blue Chip advantage

The Pacific Blue Cross Blue Chip product for organizations with three to 30 employees offers the flexibility of a large group plan at an affordable price. 

It keeps rates low by pooling premiums with other smaller employers while protecting individual employers from costly claims at the same time. And it offers value-added features and coverage options that meet or exceed what’s available in the group benefits marketplace.

Virtual care. Pacific Blue Cross offers 24/7, on-demand doctors and care managers with referrals to specialists and mental health practitioners through their partnership with EQ Care, Canada’s premiere virtual care provider. They are one of a small number of carriers in BC to offer this service to small- and mid-size groups as a standard covered benefit.

Enhanced support for expecting new parents. Their New Parent Boost benefit provides increased mental health support for parents when starting or adding to a family as well as increased physiotherapy support for pregnant mothers. 

“New Parent Boost was developed in collaboration with the BC Women’s Health Foundation and is the first of its kind in Canada,” says Heidi Worthington, Chief Revenue Officer for Pacific Blue Cross. “We’ve been a pillar sponsor of research they’re doing to highlight the health care disparities of women of all ages and socio-economic conditions across the province, and are drawing learnings from that research to improve our products to facilitate better access to the care women need to help close the gap in women’s health.”

Customizable plans to balance benefits and cost. Employers choose from a number of coverage levels for life, accidental death and dismemberment, and extended health care. For an even more robust plan, they can add optional coverage for dental care, critical illness, long term disability, or a health spending account. 

Expanded coverage. All Blue Chip plans now cover registered dieticians, fertility drugs, the HPV vaccine, and out-of-country medical insurance to age 75. 

More mental health coverage. Plan members can now see clinical counsellors as well as psychologists, and there’s newly added coverage for online Cognitive Behavioural Therapy programs to help them with mild to moderate anxiety, depression, insomnia, post-traumatic stress, and substance use issues.

Better cost control for prescription drugs. With over 80 years in the BC health care system, Pacific Blue Cross is the best in the business in managing drug costs. Their Blue Chip drug plan provides safe, high quality drugs at an affordable price while maximizing public funding for high cost drugs through their integration with BC PharmaCare.

Exclusive savings for business services

Every Pacific Blue Cross Blue Chip plan also includes free access to their new business support program to receive discounts on the following services: 

  • accounting
  • design for branding/logo development, websites, and collateral
  • shipping and couriers
  • business travel.

Pacific Blue Cross is BC’s Health Benefits Society with a mission to improve the health and wellbeing of British Columbians. For more info about the new Blue Chip, talk to your trusted advisor or go to pacificbluecross.ca.