Trending Employee Benefit Plan Concerns

3 min read

Benefits Canada conducts an annual survey that takes a pulse on perceptions from Canadian benefit plan members and employers to understand key areas of concern in healthcare and employee benefit plans. The results of the 2022 Benefits Canada Healthcare Survey have come in and today we’re exploring some of the biggest concerns raised by employers.

While there were many positive reviews about virtual healthcare and overall plan quality, 83% of respondents confirmed that they have at least one major concern about their employee benefits plan. Let’s take a closer look at the top concerns raised by employers and dive into how you can manage or mitigate these areas.

1. Competitiveness: top benefit plan concern

37% of respondents in the 2022 Benefits Canada Healthcare Survey identified plan competitiveness as their number one major concern, and this comes as no surprise given that employment shortages are a growing issue for recruiters.

We recently shared some insights into how a benefits plan can help employers win the talent war. It’s a fact that salary isn’t necessarily enough anymore to recruit and attract prospective employees, so a competitive benefits plan can be particularly helpful to set you apart as an employer of choice.

Some great differentiators to make your plan stand out are Employee Assistance Programs, Critical Illness Coverage, and Short- and Long-Term Disability. To learn more about these features and types of coverage, take a look at our recent post on how to make your benefits plan especially attractive in a competitive hiring market.

2. Sustainability

Plan sustainability is all about cost containment and finding a balance between providing what the employee wants in terms of coverage and what the employer needs to maintain reasonable costs. 31% of respondents indicated that their biggest benefit plan concern was either overall plan sustainability or the sustainability of their drug or dental plan.

There are several different measures a plan administrator can take to contain cost. An important consideration is that the overall design of your plan and how it is managed will impact the cost. For example, does your plan have exposure to cover high-cost drugs? Are you leveraging and communicating with your employees about the benefits of the SaskHealth Drug Plan? Having a drug program within the plan to look after the high cost of prescription drugs can be a great strategy.

We put together a two-part series on how to reduce your benefit costs without taking benefits away and suggest you take a look at part one and part two for some helpful tips.

3. Paramedical Services

Use of paramedical services was raised as a major benefit plan concern by 26% of respondents in the survey. Paramedical services are anything that a doctor in the public health system does not generally cover. A few examples include professionals like massage therapist, naturopath, chiropractor, dietician, psychologist, social worker, physiotherapist, and speech therapist.

There is always give and take when it comes to paramedical services in a benefits plan, and we encourage you to look at the combined maximum to manage this. You can certainly restrict services for cost containment and to make the plan sustainable. But then it becomes a question of whether it will give employees what they really need in the plan. There is a trade-off here to a certain degree so it’s important to have an idea of what you really want to offer as an employer.

Keep in mind that COVID-19 has changed the way some paramedical services are being delivered. Online paramedical practitioner services are more common these days so it would be helpful to look at whether your plan provides the right kind of coverage for this. Check out our post on virtual healthcare for more information.


Do the top benefit plan concerns identified in the survey resonate with you? If you’re wondering how to manage these issues, get in touch with us – we’d be happy to chat!