Choose your settings
Choose your language
Business insurance

4 reasons why group health benefits are important

March 6, 2023
Desjardins Insurance

To attract and retain top talent in your team, you need to offer a competitive compensation package—and that doesn’t just mean salary. It also means group benefits. One of the most sought-after perks you can offer employees is a group health benefits plan. But what exactly are group health benefits and what can they do for your business?

What are group health benefits?

Canadians enjoy healthcare coverage through their provincial or territorial health plans, but those plans don’t cover everything. That’s where employer-sponsored group health benefits come in. Group health benefits help bridge the gap for things that aren’t covered by public plans, such as prescription drugs, dental care, hospitalization, vision care, paramedical services (e.g., physiotherapy or massage therapy), and ambulance services. 

Why are group health benefits important?

Perhaps surprisingly, according to the 2020 Sanofi Canada Healthcare survey, more important than the public healthcare system! And a whopping 86% of plan members agree that employee benefits are a key factor when deciding on a job offer.

By offering group benefits to your employees, you’re showing them that they matter. That you care about their well-being. And health benefits aren’t just good for plan members, they’re good for businesses too. Find out what a solid benefits plan can do for your business.

1. Attract employees

You know you need to offer competitive salaries to attract the best employees. But did you know how important a total compensation package is? After salary, benefits are the second most important factor to employees considering a job offer, according to a 2021 survey by the Conference Board of Canada.

2. Retain employees

And once you’ve attracted that top talent, you want to keep them. Turnover is bad for business. It’s bad for morale, it’s bad for productivity, and recruiting and training costs for replacements are high. According to the Sanofi survey, 71% of plan members say that their health plan is a big reason to stay in their job, so you definitely want to make sure your benefits package is competitive. 

3. Boost productivity

Your employees are your number one asset, but they can’t work if they’re not healthy. A group plan makes it easier for them to get the care they need. It also gives them the peace of mind of knowing that they have protection, and all together, that makes for happy, healthy employees.

And as it turns out, happy, healthy employees are productive employees. Healthy employees perform better, miss work less often, and are better able to focus at work. It’s a win-win!

4. Get a tax credit

In addition to the intangible benefits listed above, there’s a compelling bottom-line argument as well: employer contributions to a group insurance plan for employees are considered a business expense. That means the amounts you pay for health and dental insurance for employees and their families are a tax-deductible expense for your company.

Which benefits are most important to employees? 

Group health benefits cover a range of healthcare costs, some of which are more in demand than others. According to the Conference Board of Canada survey, prescription drug coverage and basic dental care top the list of the most important benefits for employees, with glasses/contacts and eye exams not far behind.

But the benefits landscape is changing all the time, so it’s important for your plan to keep up. The past few years in particular have seen major shifts in both the types of care people are looking for and the ways in which care is provided. 

Virtual healthcare

Virtual healthcare is on the rise—for good reason. Despite the public’s positive reception to virtual care, only 29% of employers reported having a health benefits plan that includes a virtual healthcare service. This is something for employers to think about, especially in small or remote communities where it’s hard to get care.

Different demographics, different needs

The importance employees place on coverage depends on their needs. For example, a younger workforce might be more focused on supports like fertility benefits or dependant life insurance. An older workforce, on the other hand, might be more concerned about drug expenses or major restorative dental care. There is no one-size-fits all solution.


Benefits are sometimes seen as a reflection of the value an organization places on its employees, so it’s important to build a plan that shows just how important your employees truly are. Staying on top of market trends, looking at your workforce’s demographics, and making sure your employees are aware of which benefits are available to them will help you attract and retain the employees you need. And that’s just good business.