Weighing the Relative Value of Different Employee Benefit Plan Options

Weighing the Relative Value of Different Employee Benefit Plan Options

When considering the benefits you offer your employees, quantifying the relative value of your plan’s cost can be difficult. Offering a competitive group benefits plan is essential to your staff’s long-term happiness and success, but a fully comprehensive plan can be unsustainably expensive, especially in the long term. 

Calculating Relative Value of Coverage Options

Certain types of coverage may seem more basic and necessary than others. However, some seemingly less common benefits may actually present a better value for your employees. Let’s take a look at some of the most common options for supplemental group benefits plans and consider their relative value. 

Dental Coverage

While many Canadian employers currently do not offer dental coverage as part of their benefits packages, dental care has a very high relative value compared to other supplemental benefit options. There are two primary reasons for this.

Firstly, dental-related work absences are far more common than you may assume. A 2017 report estimated that Canadian businesses lost 4.15 million working days annually due to dental visits or dental sick days in Canada alone. 

The second reason is that dental plan options have a high degree of flexibility. Choosing between Basic and Preventative, Major and Restorative, and Orthodontics allows you to find a dental plan that works for your budget. 

Prescriptions and Chronic Illness Medications

Despite seeming like one of the most basic forms of supplemental benefits, drug coverage can also be one of the most draining on your company’s finances. Chronic illness medications, in particular, are a major cost driver. Innovative Medicines Canada found that chronic disease medications accounted for 83.7% percent of drug plan cost increases in 2021-2022. 

Not only does this place a significant burden on the rest of your employees, but offering this type of drug coverage is largely unnecessary. Many provinces cover the cost of chronic medications beyond what employee benefits pay for, meaning that your employees can still access the drugs they need if you do not cover them. 

Likewise, new legislation in Ontario and other provinces has made getting prescriptions even easier in 2023 than ever before. 

Mental Health Coverage

Contrary to more “old-school” thinking, mental health coverage has an extremely high relative value when compared to other benefits.

The negative effects of your staff not having adequate mental health resources may be less immediately apparent than some physical forms of coverage. But the impact of supporting your employees’ mental health is actually considerable. For one, Canadian workers are increasingly listing mental health as one of their primary considerations when deciding to accept or leave jobs. 

In addition to boosting your hiring and employee retention prospects, there is a noted productivity benefit to supporting your employees psychologically. A number of studies have found that happier employees are more efficient at their jobs, with some studies suggesting that the difference in productivity between happy and unhappy employees is as high as 20%

Create Sustainable Benefits with Zarmac

Ultimately, the goal of every business owner is to support their employees in a sustainable, efficient way. Each company has unique needs, and working with an experienced partner can help you find the ideal solution for your company. 

Zarmac Benefits has been providing benefit programs to both new and established businesses for over 20 years. We take the time to analyze what you need and customize a benefits package specifically for your business style, now and for the future. 

Zarmac provides critical analysis specific to your business to deliver real choices, advise on trends, streamline renewals, and optimize your plan design. We make it easy for you and your team by supporting the management of your program. We also proactively educate and eliminate questions to ensure there are no surprises.


We have some exciting news at Zarmac Benefits! We are extremely pleased to announce our merger with Marquee Benefits Inc., a highly respected benefit and pension solutions consultant based in Barrie, Ontario. Our newly combined firm will be conducting its practice as Marquee Benefits Inc., effective February 13, 2024.

Marquee Benefits shares the same values as we do. A genuine approach based on extensive knowledge of the industry and genuine desire to help create the right benefit solution for your organization. Please feel free to connect with us if you have any questions.

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