Making the decision to provide additional coverage for employees, yourself or your family if you are self-employed is one key reason to start shopping for a Private Health Services Plan (PHSP). Each plan and plan provider may have slight difference that, when added together, can have an impact on your bottom line. These plans are designed to provide businesses with a tax deduction for contributions to the employees’ pool, plus the employee can access the funds without incurring any tax on the money.
One of the major factors to look for in a Private Health Services Plan (PHSP) is how the plan will be funded. There are some companies that offer maximum flexibility with a pay-as-you-go option. This means that you pay a small percentage on each claim without a standard monthly premium. For a small company, or one that has a constantly changing workforce, this is often the most cost effective option. Some companies offer a combination of prepaid and pay-as-you-go funding, which may be an important consideration if you have a very stable workforce and a large, established company.
Online access to information, including reporting online regarding the status of a claim, the amount that has been paid in and the total amount that has been claimed is also very handy to company managers and financial departments. In addition, having all the information available at the click of a mouse, cuts down on administrative time on the phone, sending queries by email and waiting for responses. It also helps in checking on the budget status of the account. The security of these sites should be top notch and password protected as well as encrypted. Most providers already have security in place, but it never hurts to ask and confirm before choosing a provider.
Being able to carry forward any unused or unclaimed amounts from one budget year to the next is a terrific advantage to a self-employed person or a small business. Not all Private Health Services Plan (PHSP) providers offer this option, but it will help with saving money over the short and long run. Some companies offer extended time frames for filing claims, allowing you to claim on up to a year previous, which is a variation on a carry forward type of program. Just make sure it meets your company requirements and that there is some flexibility built into the program.
While businesses should expect that the plan is in full compliance with the regulations set forth by the Canada Revenue Agency, it is absolutely essential to confirm with the provider that they meet all standards including mandated privacy requirements. Failure to meet regulations can result in the CRA auditing your books and possibly denying your deductions. The provider should be regularly audited with regards to complying with the regulations to demonstrate that they are professionally managed and administered.
Last, but certainly not least, the Private Health Services Plan (PHSP) should have a reputation for prompt and accurate processing of all claims. Some of the older systems may have what is called a “black out period” that is a time, usually when switching from one year to the next, during which new claims are not processed. This not only holds up any reimbursement but it creates a nightmare situation for company administrators trying to deal with employees that want their claim processed immediately.
As a business owner or a self-employed individual choosing a Private Health Services Plan (PHSP) takes a bit of research and a good understanding of just what you require.
Sandy Winslow is a writer on many topics, including health insurance and finding the right Private Health Services Plan (PHSP).