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Designing benefit plans to reflect today’s realities


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Alaina MacKenzie, Regional Vice President Business Development at Medavie Blue Cross, shared her insights on benefit plan design for a modern workforce as special guest of a recent virtual roundtable discussion, hosted by Canadian HR Reporter.

“Canadians are at the point now where they are deciding health care on their terms.”
  • Alaina MacKenzie

Pandemic Impact

Alaina described the pandemic as the single biggest catalyst of change we have seen in terms of how Canadians are accessing and receiving health care, recognizing the significant shift in their consumption from in-person to online diagnosis and treatment. The accelerated adoption of virtual care is turning Canadians into drivers, rather than passengers, of their health care journeys. “Canadians are at the point now where they are deciding health care on their terms.”

She added that Canadians will continue to take a proactive role in their health care post pandemic which will lead to “broader system benefits.”

Alaina was joined by Christy Prada, Vice President Business Development, Maple, our Online Doctors service provider, and Jean-Nicolas Reyt, Assistant Professor, Organizational Behaviour at McGill University, in discussing emerging trends in plan design with a focus on optionality, flexibility and integrated solutions driven by virtual care options. The session was moderated by Sarah Dobson, Editor, Canadian HR Reporter Group.

Optional Benefits

Alaina recognized that a one-size-fits-all approach no longer works in meeting the health care needs and expectations of today’s multi-generational, digital savvy workforce who want the same on-demand experiences they have as consumers. As a result, employers are increasingly flexing their benefits with optional benefits to complement their traditional packages. Given the fierce competition for new hires, this is an important consideration.

As Alaina stated, an organization’s “value proposition is critical to attracting new talent and part of that is their benefit program.”

“Managing health through technology is here to stay and it’s a pretty exciting time.”

Digital Health

Alaina described the incredible speed at which health care technologies has evolved in recent years. “Managing health through technology is here to stay and it’s a pretty exciting time.”

She spoke of how innovations in health care are giving plan members easier, faster access to expert care, noting that we have gone from acute chronic disease management to, in the case of diabetes, providing all-in-one access to care with a glucose monitoring tool, home-delivered test strips and the one-on-one counselling and education services of a health coach team.

Looking to the Future

Alaina said increasing accessibility of quality health care, fast tracked by the pandemic, gives her hope for the future, referencing how this is dismantling access barriers to mental health care. “It keeps people from struggling.”

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Medavie Blue Cross

For over 75 years, Medavie Blue Cross has been a leading health services partner for individuals, employers...