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Insights on benefits

For employers and plan sponsors

Welcome to Insights on Benefits, our online publication for employers, plan sponsors and group administrators. This publication will bring fresh perspectives to help you stay current on health and benefit issues.

We welcome your feedback and suggestions for topics that you would like to see addressed.


How we are identifying and creating new opportunities to help plan sponsors and plan members take full advantage of their benefit plans.

Group Administrator Zone

Practical tips and guidance on administering your plan and members

Medavie Blue Cross Updates

Find out what we have been up to lately

Plus industry news, reader polls and more


Digital tools with a purpose

As we all know, modern life is lived online. In fact, for a growing percentage of our population, life before always-on mobile access (let alone the Internet itself) is something they have never known.

We’re harnessing this digital revolution to bring advantages to both plan members and benefit plans.

More than a quarter of a million of our plan members are using their phones to interact with us. Mobile claims have more than doubled over the last two years and the rate of growth continues to escalate.

Today, members can use their phone to find a trusted provider who will submit their claim for them, or submit it themselves through the app. And with instant access to details on their coverage, they can make informed benefit choices.

But our digital story isn’t only about creating the best possible member experience. By using our data, we can identify and address opportunities to offer tools that will improve member health and returns from plans’ benefit spend.

For example, almost 17% of our total plan member population will claim for drugs primarily used to treat mental illness (depression and anxiety) over the course of their lifetime. Utilization climbs rapidly in the late teens and is highest for people in their 50s.

Yet only 7% of these -plan members are also claiming for the services of a psychologist.

So how can new technologies help address this gap? We’re exploring new approaches such as the online delivery of cognitive behavioral therapies (CBT). It’s a great way to deliver therapy, in today’s digital world, where instant access to services is quickly becoming the norm.

The online delivery of CBT can be as effective as face-to-face therapy. It reduces time with clinicians, without losing effectiveness of the treatment. It’s a great solution for many plan members who prefer its convenience, confidentiality.

Bottom Line

Technology for its own sake can be a distraction. By focussing on the results technology can deliver – from making it easier for plan members to submit claims or access mental health support, to providing us with data to ensure our plan designs deliver maximum return on investment – we’re making technology work for everyone’s benefit.

Group Administrator Zone

Managing your member information

We are happy to work together with plan sponsors to ensure your members get the services and coverage they need. To help make this happen, we depend on Group Administrators to provide us with the member information we need to support your members.

There are a few simple actions you can do to make things easy for you and your members:

Up-to-date salary records

Maintaining up-to-date salary information is critical in the event of a Life or Disability claim if your group plan has salary-based benefits. When current salary is not maintained and benefits and premiums are not adjusted accordingly, individuals who become eligible for payment may not receive the expected amounts.

Please ensure salary changes are processed online via the Group Administrator Portal or communicated to our Group Administration department when the update occurs. You will be billed for past volume/premium increases associated with any corresponding salary changes to the effective date of the change and this may also affect employee deductions.

New members

Enroll new members within 31 days of completion of their waiting period (the continuous period of time which the employee must be actively at work before being eligible for coverage). New dependents must also be enrolled within 31 days of becoming eligible dependents.

Premium deductions will appear on the next available invoice, and coverage takes effect on the latest of the following:

  • Effective date of the policy
  • The date the employee meets all of the eligible requirements, or
  • The date we approve the member’s proof of health, if required. (when an application is received more than 31 days after the date on which the member became eligible, the member proof of health will be required before coverage is granted and benefit levels may be reduced).

Ongoing management

  • Ensure all employees are enrolled for benefits that they are eligible for.
  • Inform members of their rights and obligations under the policy, including changes to, or termination of benefits.
  • Retain all member enrolment forms and beneficiary designation forms for your records.

Departing members

  • Communicate member terminations to Medavie Blue Cross in a timely manner.
  • Discuss Conversion Options with employees who are leaving your group benefit plan.

For more information, check out the Group Administrator toolkit

Bottom Line

By working together to keep the member information that we have on record current, we can make it easy for your members to get access to the services they are covered for.

Medavie Blue Cross Updates

New Insights blog launched

The benefits landscape is changing continually, and keeping on top of it is always a challenge. We’re here to help.

Our new Insights blog is a hub of information including webinar recordings, blog posts, articles and other industry news. It will be updated at least once per month so make sure you stop in often. You can also keep up to date on new posts by following us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Medavie Health Foundation 2018 Grants Program now open

Medavie Health Foundation is seeking funding applications from community-based organizations focused on improving the lives of those impacted by child and youth mental health, type 2 diabetes and post-traumatic stress disorder.

To apply for funding, organizations must be a registered charity offering programs in one of these three core cause areas. New for this year: no deadline to apply, with applications being accepted year-round. Visit the Foundation’s website for details.

Blue Cross recognized as “Most Admired” brand

The Canadian Association of Blue Cross Plans chose to participate in the Léger Corporate Reputation Study again for 2018. The study is designed to reveal the enterprises most admired by Canadians. We’re pleased to announce that Blue Cross is again recognized as one of Canada’s Top 100 Brands for 2018. This year we’ve moved up almost 10 positions in the top 100 ranking and we’re also pleased to continue to be recognized in the ranking as Canada’s #1 health benefits provider. More information about the results of this survey can be found online at

Industry News

Focus on generic drugs paying off

As of April 1, our plans are benefiting from the savings negotiated earlier this year by the pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance (pCPA), representing all provinces and territories except Quebec, and the Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association (CGPA). The prices of nearly 70 of the most commonly prescribed drugs in Canada have been reduced by 25% to 40%. Though private plan sponsors are not represented by the pCPA, these plans still benefit from these reduced generic drug prices.

New generic savings are also in place for plan members in Quebec as of April 3. This is part of a separate agreement between the province and the CGPA that led to a five-year agreement on negotiated pricing agreements.

Leveraging generics to help control drug costs has been an integral part of our drug management strategy for several years, with 80% adoption of Mandatory Generic Substitution among our group plans. That means our clients will see immediate and sustained savings thanks to these agreements.

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