We are an Edmonton based employee benefits advisory specializing in benefit plan review and design, ASO (Admin Services Only), and HCSAs (Health Care Spending Accounts)/WSAs (Wellness Spending Accounts), as well as a number of other employee benefit related services. We have over 70 years of combined experience on both the insurer and broker sides of the industry. Our team has regional management and account executive experience for a large national insurance companies, as well as decades of experience as employee benefit advisors. We have helped save money and improve plans for companies of sizes ranging from 10 employees to 1000+ employees.
Large consulting houses have dozens of brokers. At HFI Benefits Inc, we are a small and effective team. This allows us to provide our clients with consulting house quality and service at a local boutique cost.
If you're looking to improve your benefit plan at a reasonable cost or looking to reduce the cost of your current plan, we can help you. We have helped our clients get control of their benefit plans, improve their offerings, and collectively save millions of dollars. We have a deep knowledge of employee benefits and know how to make sure your plan is robust and affordable, year over year.
Experienced Employee Benefit Specialists
The employee benefits insurance industry has become very specialized over the years. Each insurance company has five or more benefit coverage categories and uses their own metrics to come up with their own cost structure. With changes in legislation, the introduction of new technology, the need for HR liability protection, and changes in taxation, it's easy to see how complex employee benefits can get. This is why it's important to have an employee benefit specialist on your side. Companies often come to us for a benefit plan review and it's very easy for us to tell that the broker who helped the design their plan is not an employee benefit specialist. There are many generalist brokers who choose to make employee benefits a secondary offering, but the problem with that is employee benefits is the largest and most complex type of insurance offering of the three: employee benefits, life insurance, and general insurance.
It's important to enlist an employee benefit specialist firm to help you with your employee benefit plan. We often hear of companies who think they can simply call insurance companies and request a plan quotation, but the reality is, you will always be referred to either an internal direct representative (if you call Alberta Blue Cross) or a preferred employee benefit firm (if you call any other insurance company). And, unless the broker you're referred to has a solid fundamental understanding of employee benefits, and is not a generalist, they will not be able to provide you a quality rate comparison of many insurance companies and you will end up paying a lot more for you plan than you need to.
We Negotiate for the Long-Term Success of Your Business
When you employ an experienced group benefits specialist firm, you know you're getting the best rates possible and you know that those rates will be consistently reasonable year-after-year. Often inexperienced broker will get "low-ball" rates for their client thinking they're saving their client money, but this is a tactic insurance companies use to get business; they offer low rates for the first year, then at the next renewal, they jack up the prices to recover their losses. And, insurance companies will not quote your plan more than once ever 3-4 years. An experienced employee benefit broker understand this, and will negotiate good rates for you that will be consistently reasonable year-over-year.
Typically there are 2 main components to a Group Benefit Plan:
1. Core Insurance – generally administered through an insurance provider; covers Basic Life, A. D. & D. Dependent Life, Disability, Health and Dental benefits (some companies completely replace these last 2 coverages with QubeFlex 2.0 credits).
2. Spending Account/QubeFlex 2.0 – Our Flexible WSA (Wellness Spending Account)/HSA (Health Spending Account) flexible benefit add-on is administered through a dedicated web application and Smartphone application. Your employees receive flex-credits (dollars) that they are able to allocate and use according to what they need and want.
Flexible Benefits – How do they work?
At each plan anniversary date, a fixed amount credits, determined by employee class (such as single or family) are added to your employees' profiles on the QubeFlex 2.0 web application. Employees are then advised, via email, to login into to the website to allocate their credits. Employees may allocate credits however they wish; there are a number of plan options:
- Healthcare (HSA)
- Dental care (HSA)
- Vision Care (HSA)
- Gym Memberships
- Exercise Equipment
- Health Plan Premiums
- Volunteerism Benefits
- Educational Savings Plans
- Retirement Savings Plans
- Childcare Benefits
- Vacation/Flex Day Purchase
- Staff Mortgage Plan
The most common Flexible Benefit Options are:
- Health Spending Account (HSA) – tax free reimbursement for medical, vision or dental expenses. Any unused credits allocated to this benefit will typically roll-over into the next plan year (one year only).
- Comprehensive Wellness – taxable reimbursement for expenses related to fitness, alternative treatment or therapy, and much more. Additional options can be added to this benefit – Childcare expenses, Professional Development, Alternate Transportation (bus passes), etc. Any unused credits allocated to this benefit may carry forward or forfeit at the end of each plan year.
- RRSP Contribution – employees have the opportunity to make additional contributions to an RRSP plan; either their own personal RRSP or a group employer sponsored RRSP. All Employer contributions are taxable to the employee.
Other points to note:
- Employee claims for the Health Spending Account and the Comprehensive Wellness account are paid directly into the employee’s bank account through EFT. Claims are paid every Tuesday and Thursday, with approved claims paid within 24 – 48 hours (work days).
- Once claims are paid, the corresponding amount, plus the administration fee (including GST) will be withdrawn from the employer’s bank account with an email notice sent per claims processed. Claims reports, allocations and a Bank Reconciliation report are readily available on the Plan Administrators login to the website.
- The RRSP, RESP benefits are paid through Payroll.
- Employees will have a login to update their records. Employees have access to a personalized Flex Account on a dedicated website, where they can submit claims, track their claims history, submit inquiries or use our Chat function. The login ID will be the email address provided by the employer.
- A Smartphone app (Android & iOS) is available for employee’s to view their information and submit claims.
- Once the allocations are set for the current year, they cannot be changed until the next anniversary date.
- If an employee does not allocate their credits within the required time limit (30 days), credits will automatically default to a specific options – usually the HSA.
- If an employee terminates, all remaining unused/unpaid credits will forfeit.
- Employees have 90 days at the end of each plan year to submit any outstanding claims from the previous year. (15 days for Wellness). After 90 days, only current year credits are payable.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do I Decide Who Gets What Amount of Credits?
Credits can be based on years of service or can be structured by specific classes i.e. Senior Management/ All Other employees etc. Credits would be pro-rated within the first year of employment.
How do the administration fees work?
Administration fees are a % per claim, set based on group size, to a maximum of $250 per claim.
What's the best way to incorporate QubeFlex 2.0 into my benefit plan?
We believe a well-designed core Health and Dental plan, along with the QubeFlex 2.0 flexible benefit add-on, provides the employer with a more predictable, year to year, total compensation budget. Ask us how we can help you manage your costs while providing comprehensive coverage and flexibility for your employees.