Paramedical services are often a highly valued benefit. Prospective employees want to work for a company that covers paramedical services, and employees who already have coverage often cite paramedical coverage as one of their top benefits. There are a number of ways that these benefits can help your employees so they can help your business.
Paramedical Services 101
Paramedical services are generally not part of the public health system in Canada. This means that without extended health coverage, a person must pay out-of-pocket to visit these healthcare practitioners.
The term “Paramedical” refers to services that supplement and support medical care, but do not require a fully qualified physician. There are a wide range of services in this category that focus on physical and mental health and wellbeing. These services can be provided by a:
- Massage therapist
- Speech Therapist
- Clinical counsellor
There are many more types of paramedical practitioners. The above list is just some of the most common, and every plan is different as to which practitioners are covered.
Paramedical practitioners support your employees via the services they provide. They provide diagnostic, advisory, curative and preventative medical services. They can focus on both acute and long-term conditions. Often, paramedical services act as supplemental care in addition to traditional treatments.
Generally speaking, paramedical services focus on relieving pain, reducing pain, relaxing muscles, improving sleep, reducing stress and improving personal wellness.
Let’s take a moment to look at an example of a paramedical practitioner and how their services can support employees; a massage therapist. If an employee has a very sore neck, they may choose to visit a massage therapist. The massage therapist might do an assessment and determine that the employee most likely has a soft tissue impairment. The massage therapist would then provide massage services targeting the impairment, hopefully reducing the pain and improving the range of motion. They may also recommend ice or rest. In this example, the massage therapist has provided diagnostic, advisory and curative services for the impairment. The paramedical services received may influence whether an employee is able to go to work and how effective they are at doing their job. This is just one example of how paramedical services can support employees outside of traditional medical services provided by a physician. They can also provide support for mental health.
For mental health, a physician can prescribe medication and/or have a short discussion with the patient about the underlying cause. With paramedical coverage, an employee can visit a registered counsellor or a psychologist to try to work through the cause of the mental health challenge, develop strategies to overcome the challenge, and look at ways to prevent further mental health challenges from arising.
It’s clear that these services are a valuable support for employees. There is a growing cultural acceptance for alternative medicines and therapies, which is why paramedical coverage is so important.
What’s in it for Your Company
Providing coverage for paramedical services has many benefits for your organization. First, it can support your efforts to recruit and retain the best employees. Employees place a high value on paramedical services. Coverage for paramedical services has become almost expected, so prospective employees will likely be discouraged from working for your company if you don’t have them. If you have a benefits plan, it should most certainly include paramedical coverage.
The other main reason to include coverage for paramedical services is to support the health of your employees. Paramedical services can help relieve pain and stress (both physical and mental). Healthy employees are happier and more productive, and they have fewer absences. These are all good things for your business.
As with all health benefits, paramedical coverage is an investment which will hopefully pay off in a number of ways. It’s also important to build cost control into the plan and the coverage right from the start.
One common way to control costs is to include maximum reimbursable amounts for professional services. These are determined by reviewing the average fees charged in that geographic area. Having a maximum reimbursable cost helps ensure costs are appropriate for the area.
Another way to control costs is to group different categories or services with a shared maximum. For example, employees may have a total of $750 that can be spent on massage therapy, physiotherapy and acupuncture (combined). This gives employees some flexibility in the benefits they spend their maximum on, while also controlling costs.
The final piece to cost control for your paramedical coverage is to communicate with employees. Educate them on the benefits that are available to help keep them healthy, but also that they need to do their part to keep the plan sustainable when utilizing the benefits.
Good Advice is Key
Are your employees supported with access to paramedical services? Have you considered the positive impact these benefits can have on the health of your employees and their productivity? Explore your options with one of our licensed advisors on the phone, or contact us for a comparison quote.
Whether you’re looking for extended health and dental coverage, disability coverage, or life and critical illness coverage, GroupHEALTH has affordable benefits packages that work as hard as you do.