Replacing Employer-Provided Benefits Plans

wooden dock on a calm lake at sunrise

BY SHAUNA BL ACKBURN-COOK , BCOM, THE NAK AMUN GROUP, EDMONTON

When you retire or leave an employer for any other reason, or reach the maximum age limit of your employer-sponsored benefits plan, you face important decisions regarding the replacement of your benefits. You may have the option to convert your health and dental benefits to a personal plan, however, if your group plan has an age limit, once you reach that age, conversion is not an option.

In the past, conversion options were limited, but now, with more options available, the decisions become more complex. If you are able
to convert to a personal plan without having to reapply and provide health and medical information — a significant advantage if you or a dependent has a health condition — you typically must do so within 30 days from the date your group benefits cease. These personal plans generally have low coverage levels, but in most cases, you can increase the coverage, add other features, or choose another insurance provider.If you change the personal plan that is offered for conversion, you may or may not have to provide health and medical information. The premium costs will depend on the coverage and features you choose.

Coordination with Provincial Coverage

Conversion plans are coordinated with the health and drug plans of the province where you reside, and premiums are priced accordingly.

Health and Dental Care Benefits

The health and dental care benefits you choose will be determined by an analysis of your needs or anticipated needs, and the cost-benefits of the type of insurance that would be required to provide the coverage you desire. For example, if you need chiropractic, physiotherapy, or dental care, those costs are, to some extent, predictable. The cost to insure could be similar to the cost of the benefits received.

Life Insurance Conversions

grandkidsWhen your employee benefits cease, if life insurance is a component, you may be able to convert that to an individual policy, as well. The options will be determined by your group plan, and they might not be appropriate for you. When you retire, your life insurance needs change. For example, you might want life insurance as part of your estate planning strategy to cover capital gains taxes or for charitable giving. Insurance companies offer various types of coverage, some which might be more suitable for you than others, and some offer lower premiums, if you can provide proof of good health.

Contact Your Nakamun Advisor

If you are about to become ineligible for your employer-provided benefits plan, please contact your Nakamun Advisor to discuss options for replacing your group insurance coverage with individual coverage that meets your needs now and in the future.

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