Chatbots: The next innovation in group benefits

You may or may not have heard of a ‘chatbot‘, but it will most definitely be a topic of discussion at future group benefits conferences in Canada in 2017.

A chatbot is a rising trend, at the intersection of the hottest topics right now in tech: artificial intelligence, messenger apps, the mobile wave, and of course…teens. It can be likened to an artificial concierge, like a Siri or Alexa, but embedded within the messenger application.


For example, you might open up the Kik bot store, add the Sephora chatbot, and ask it about beauty tips or to find you the best eyeliner. The Sephora chatbot script returns to you the answers, customized to you, and delivered in a human-like fashion…as if you are chatting with a human. Except that you’re chatting with a ‘robot’.

(Throughout researching this post, I stumbled across a ‘chatbot girlfriend’ and shed a single tear for humanity).

It is estimated that teens spend 80% of the time on mobile devices on chat applications, such as Facebook Messenger, Kik, Whatsapp, iMessage, and beyond. Most marketers know that many mobile trends start with teens, then the 20s, and then the mainstream usually follows. sephora chat bot kik

Keep reading →

What Is Pharmacogenetics and Why You Need to Know About It

When the human genetic code was cracked about 12 years ago, it brought with it enormous belief of instant application to human disease. It was soon after that pronouncements were made that there would soon be a cure for cancer, Alzheimer’s  and heart diseases, given that we now are aware of the genes causing them. Over the last ten years or so it has become apparent that any given disease is not caused by one gene alone. There is no “cancer gene” and there is no ‘heart disease gene”. In spite of this realization that one gene does not cause one disease, over the last 10 years, integrative medicine has evolved and several new genetic tests have become available; many with immediate clinical application to daily care. One of the most powerful of these applications is Pharmacogenetics. Keep reading →

3 Ways to Minimize Group Benefits Plan Abuse

Keeping health insurance costs down without cutting employees health benefits is a very common request from business leaders and HR professionals these days. With the costs of employer-funded health insurance rising at double digit rates year over year, employers are shifting some costs on to employees or exploring caps. While expenses are rising very rapidly and having an effect on your bottom line, the “sleeping” costs of plan abuse are often overlooked by employers.  According to a report by the Canadian Health Care Anti-fraud association, fraudulent billing activity translates to between $1.2 and $6 Billion dollars on private health care plans each year. To a great extent, people get away with it because some plans design allow its members to get away it. While having investigation of health claims may first appear to be a good idea, one must consider that forensic accountants are not medical billing experts and a typical healthcare transaction doesn’t leave that many traces in the first place. In this article, we provide you three ways that will help you identify and reduce plan fraud and abuse, without giving up any of your benefits. Keep reading →

[Infographic] What is a Tiered Formulary? (And Why your Company Should Use One)

Insurers are hiking pooling costs, and we don’t blame them. Don’t kid yourself: if you were about to write your name underneath a policy, I’d wager that you too would increase premiums. Our block at The Beneplan Employee Benefits Co-operative was hit hard in 2015 by several biologic drug claims. While drug companies are falling over themselves to acquire the rights of biologic drugs, plan sponsors and advisors are scrambling to react to this new normal. Keep reading →

Save the Date: March 29th 2016 – M2M Webinar: The Beneplan Cooperative: Strategies and Techniques to Reduce Group Benefit Cost

It is a well-known fact that smaller companies pay higher fees than larger companies when purchasing group benefits for their employees. Hosted by The Beneplan Cooperative, join us to learn about strategies and techniques that larger freight forwarders and shipping lines employ to reduce their group benefits costs. Case studies will be shared of other small and medium-sized freight forwarders who were successful in reducing their premiums over the long term.  Keep reading →

Take Control of your Drug Plans Runaway costs with Reformulary

You might have been reading a lot of stories about pharmaceutical companies increasing the price of brand and generic drugs tenfold. None more so perhaps than Martin Shkreli, the “Pharma Bro” and former CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, who raised the price of Daraprim, a drug used to treat HIV, by 5000%.

But there is more to drug pricing than Martin Shkreli. Laval Quebec based Valeant Pharmaceuticals raised the price of the diabetes pill Glumetza by 800%, after the company had acquired Salix Pharmaceuticals. While talk over Valeant’s business model and practices, and sinking stock price dominated the headlines, the bottom line cost on your drug insurance plan might have seen red ink. Keep reading →

RBC Insurance raises Long Term Disability Coverage to age 70

Forget Freedom 55. Canada’s retirement age is on the way up. On average, Canadians are working 3.5 years longer past the retirement age. Due to a whole host of factors such as lifespans and poor performance in financial markets, Canada’s retirement age is already rising. Changes were made to the Old Age Security pension during the Conservative Federal Government under Steven Harper, when it was announced during the 2012 budget that the age of eligibility for the old age security pension will be increased gradually from 65 years of age to 67 by the year 2029. Keep reading →

Slides from the December 1 2015 Beneplan Benefits Law & Admin Workshop

In case you missed it, here are the slide decks from Beneplan’s annual Benefits Law & Admin Workshop:


Please contact us at 1-800-387-1670 if you have any questions.