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Shannon Lebert

Part-time work is on the rise in Canada. The number of part-time jobs has increased 5.6 percent in the last year, while full-time employment only increased 0.6 percent in the same timeframe. Among employed Canadians, 19.6 percent are now working part-time.

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In hospitals, part-time employees can even outnumber full-time employees. Hospitals need the flexibility of a large part-time workforce to operate smoothly, but part-time workers can be at a disadvantage. They may not be eligible for the same health insurance benefits as their full-time coworkers and could end up going without any benefits. This leaves them vulnerable to high healthcare costs.


Voluntary benefits are a solution to this problem. Part-time employees can opt-in to these plans and pay for their own premiums. Of course, employees can only sign up if they know the option is available. Here are some tips for educating your employees about your voluntary benefits plan.


Include Benefits Information in New Hire Packages


Part-time or casual employees often aren’t eligible for health insurance benefits at work. They may assume they can’t get any benefits at your hospital. To break this assumption, include information about voluntary benefits in your new hire packages.


Including this information will let your new hires know they’re able to get benefits. Not all of them will choose to apply, but they’ll know the plan exists. New hires also have a 60-day window where they can get guaranteed coverage at HCP’s Complete level. If they don’t know about the voluntary plans until this window has closed, they’ll only be guaranteed coverage at the Essential level.


Talk about Benefits Year-Round


Employees can apply for voluntary benefits at any point during the year. They don’t need to wait for an open enrollment period like your full-time employees do. That means you can talk about voluntary plans throughout the year. Year-round communication helps keep your voluntary benefit options in the front of employees’ minds. It’s harder for them to miss an information session or forget about the plan when communication is ongoing.


Ongoing communication also helps you educate employees who didn’t need benefits the last time you mentioned the option. Full-time employees who transfer to part-time could lose their regular benefits and need voluntary benefits. Part-time employees who previously had spousal coverage could need to get their own coverage.


Consider Varying Communication Preferences


To make your messaging more effective, remember that people prefer different communication styles. Some people prefer written communication and won’t remember information from an in-person meeting. Others prefer verbal communication and don’t like reading memos or emails.


For employees who prefer written communications, you could send emails about the benefits program. You could provide brochures or handouts with details of the plans. Another option is to hang informational posters in the breakrooms or employee bathrooms.


Employees who prefer verbal communications could benefit from one-on-one meetings with HR. They could also enjoy staff meetings or presentations.


Make It Easy for Employees to Sign Up


Your employees don’t just need to know the voluntary benefits plan exists, they also need to know how to apply. Let employees know that applying for benefits is as easy as filling out an application form and submitting it by mail. Ensure employees know where to mail their completed, signed applications.


Application forms are available online. Since some of your employees may not have access to a printer, consider making printed application forms available at the hospital. This makes the application process simpler.

If your hospital offers voluntary benefits to part-time and casual employees, make sure they know about their options. By educating employees about the benefits plan, you can boost participation.



Shannon Lebert

Shannon is the Benefits Administrator and Medical Underwriter for HCP and HMA. She conducts research to determine plan members eligibility for higher levels of coverage and enjoys working with the hospital human resources staff to ensure their employees are informed of the unique HCP group benefit plans. Shannon loves being an HCP team member and takes pride in being detail oriented. Outside of work, she loves spending time outdoors at the cottage, backcountry camping, and biking. When not outdoors, Shannon can be found watching movies and snuggling with her dog.
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