Benefits provider launches new option for retirees

Those soon to retire can carry on their group benefits under another format

Benefits provider launches new option for retirees
For people on the cusp of retirement, healthcare is a key concern. In Canada, workers come to depend heavily on health benefits for certain treatments, but what happens when they are no longer gainfully employed?

Co-operators Life Insurance Company believes it has the answer with its newly launched ContinYou GOLDEN program, providing coverage in health, dental and emergency travel medical costs.

The product is available to those approaching retirement who are covered by a group benefits plan – consumers then have 60 days to apply after their group coverage ends.

Plans will include coverage for prescription drugs, accidental dental treatment, emergency travel medical treatment, in-home nursing care, medical items and prosthetic equipment, paramedical services and hospital
accommodation. Enhanced plans also cover vision care and dental services, with options to increase emergency travel medical coverage.

ContinYou GOLDEN is therefore targeted at those concerned about life after their career ends, explained Conor Quinn, vice-president, group benefits at Co-operators Life Insurance Company.

 “It’s generally understood that as we age and retire, healthcare costs increase,” he said. “As we move into retirement, we are on more of a fixed income, so there is a need for products like this to cover that risk. Two-thirds of seniors take five or more drugs, and not all of those drugs are covered by a provincial healthcare plan.”

The cost of drugs is a major issue for insurance providers, not to mention a real concern for the public. That’s especially the case for retirees, who tend to have more health issues than the rest of the population. In reponse, firms like Co-operators Life are making efforts to reduce the financial hit on plan sponsors, as Quinn outlined. 

“You now see carriers moving into managed formularies, which means there is more thought that goes into listing drugs,” he said. “There are cost control considerations that a plan sponsor will want to consider in terms of what they put forward for their plans.”

The first step for any provider will be establishing if a product has a drug identification number from Health Canada. After that is establishing if the drug in question is an effective treatment for plan members, but also cost effective. That means looking to less expensive options whenever possible.

“Most of our plans are mandatory generic,” said Quinn. “We will pay up to the generic equivalent where one is available and proven to be as effective as a brand. That type of program actually brings down the cost of brand name drugs, so they can compete with the generics.”

Related stories:
Co-operators announces new joint venture
BC healthcare costs surging from influx of seniors, says report