These days, it’s common for people to work part time. In 2016, the Canadian economy added 153,700 net new part-time jobs, compared to only 60,400 full-time jobs. That means almost three-quarters of the country’s new jobs were part-time positions
One of the downsides of part-time work is not getting a benefits plan through your employer. Usually, employers only provide benefits to their full-time employees. As a part-time or casual employee, you may think your employment status limits your healthcare coverage. That’s not the case; you can apply for voluntary benefits. Here’s everything you need to know about voluntary benefits.
What Are Voluntary Benefits?
Voluntary group benefits plans are voluntary, employee-funded plans. Part-time employees who aren’t eligible for their employer’s benefits plan can choose to sign up for a voluntary plan. This lets them access health and medical benefits without having to work full time.
If you decide to join the plan, you’ll be responsible for paying the premiums on your own. The premiums will be conveniently deducted from your paycheques on a regular basis.
What Do Voluntary Benefits Plans Cover?
Voluntary plans help you pay for the services that aren’t covered by your provincial health plan. The exact services covered by the voluntary plan will vary depending on which plan option you choose. If you’re a casual hospital worker (working fewer than 18 hours a week), you could get a plan that provides coverage for extended health care. Extended health care includes things like prescription drugs, accidental dental, vision care, and emergency transportation.
If you’re working more than 18 hours a week, you could get a plan that covers extended healthcare as well other types of insurance. For example, life insurance and long-term disability insurance.
Advantages of Voluntary Benefits
You may be wondering if it’s worth it to sign up for a voluntary plan. After all, can’t you just buy an individual benefits plan, without going through your employer? That’s certainly an option, but not necessarily the best one. There are plenty of advantages of voluntary plans.
One big advantage is reduced cost. Many employees sign up for voluntary benefits plans, and this means you get to benefit from group buying power. Since there are many people participating, you can get great benefits for reasonable prices. If you buy an individual benefits plan, you won’t get a group rate, and could pay more for fewer benefits
Voluntary plans through HCP also offer guaranteed approval. You don’t need to provide any information about your health or the health of your dependents. This is a major advantage of voluntary plans. If you choose to apply for an individual benefits plan, you’ll need to provide health information. Some people could need to pay higher premiums, or even be rejected for coverage, based on pre-existing health conditions.
How to Apply for Voluntary Benefits
Applying for a voluntary plan is easy. To get started, all you need to do is fill out an application form. On the application form, you’ll need to include your personal information, and information about any dependents you have. You’ll also need to provide details about your job, like how many hours a week you work and what hospital you work for.
If you want to apply for a higher level of coverage—which is optional—you can fill out an additional statement of health form. On this form, you’ll detail your medical history. You may or may not be approved for more coverage, depending on your medical history.
If you’re ready to get voluntary benefits for yourself and your family, just fill out an application form.