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Changes to the Group Benefit Landscape (Fall 2018)

Change is constant. This is one certainty in the Group Benefit industry. As we approach the end of the third quarter, we examine changes and events that will impact the administration of your program.

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Back to School for Overage Dependents

September is a busy time for parents with the fresh school year beginning for most students, university age dependents included. This is the perfect opportunity to complete an annual overage dependent audit to your program.

How is coverage affected?

When a dependent child reaches the age of 21 (or 22 with some insurance carriers) their coverage is typically terminated as they no longer meet the definition of “dependent”. The coverages in place are most commonly: Dependent Life, Health and Dental benefits. Coverage can be continued if these dependents are enrolled in an accredited educational institution, college or university as a full-time student; becoming an “Overage Dependent Student”. These dependents can stay on the program until the age of 25 (or 26 with some insurance carriers) providing that they meet the conditions outlined within the master policy.

What needs to be done?

The process of ensuring that the coverage for these dependents is continued will vary depending on the insurer. Please contact your Silverberg consultant or insurance carrier to understand the process unique to your program and insurer.

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Health Benefits for Injured Workers – Alberta

Effective September 1, 2018 employers in Alberta are required to continue to pay the health benefits of their injured workers while they are absent from work due to a work injury. The duration of this requirement is for up to one year from the date of the workplace accident.

What if the employee resigns?

If the employee voluntarily ends their relationship with their employer during the one-year coverage period, they will no longer be entitled to continued employer paid health benefits past the last day of employment.

What about employee paid portion of the premium?

If there was a cost share of the premium prior to the workplace incident, the employee must continue to pay their portion of the premium while away from work.

Does this claim affect all current WCB claims?

This legislation applies to all claims with a date of accident on or after September 1, 2018.

Additional valuable employer facts can be found at: https://www.wcb.ab.ca/assets/pdfs/employers/EFS_Employment_health_benefits.pdf

A summary of the WCB changes made in 2018 can be found at: https://www.wcb.ab.ca/about-wcb/2018-updates.html

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Legalization of Recreational Cannabis

It was announced at the beginning of the summer that marijuana will be fully legalized across Canada on October 17, 2018. With this has come an abundance of questions from employers around how this affects internal policy as well as current group benefit programs.

We invite you to refer to our July newsletter for additional information on this topic, which remains top of mind as we approach October. Please also watch for additional posts on this subject in the coming months as we gain further clarification and expertise on this subject.

http://silverberggroup.com/medical-versus-recreational-what-cannabis-concerns-exist-for-plan-sponsors/

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Employer Health Tax – British Columbia

The employer health tax will be an annual payroll tax that will apply to employers beginning January 2019. This tax will only apply to employees with B.C. payroll under both of the following conditions:

What is the impact on Private Benefit Plans?

Additional information can be found here:

https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/taxes/employer-health-tax/notice-2018-001-employer-health-tax.pdf

What is the effective date?

The effective date of this change is January 1, 2019; more details on how to register to pay this new tax online will be available after the legislation is enacted this fall.

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Sources:

Your injured worker’s health benefits (effective Sept.1, 2018). (2018, June 15). Retrieved from https://www.wcb.ab.ca/assets/pdfs/employers/EFS_Employment_health_benefits.pdf

Ministry of Finance Employer Health Tax Notice. (2018, July). Retrieved from https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/taxes/employer-health-tax/notice-2018-001-employer-health-tax.pdf

 

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