Money Has Wings - Employer Benefit Premiums

As we're looking to our 2015 budget and where we're spending money - I thought it would also be a good idea to look at the money that is spent before we ever see it, the money that is deducted straight from our pay cheques.

First up - benefits! A lot of folks think that health care is free in Canada. It's not.

We do have basic health care services (doctor visits, emergency room visits) that are paid for through provincial health care premiums and some provinces - like mine - pay for those directly (we pay in taxes I'm sure). Many employees also have benefits through their work - but often time employees and employers split the costs of those benefits.  These sometimes include long and short term disability insurance, extended health and dental, and life insurance.

The premiums that I want to look at are the extended health and dental - they are the most $$.

We currently have family coverage from both of our employers for both dental and health care which costs us $277+/month...a month!

When Jordan was looking at dental surgery we knew this was the right plan for us, but now that it's over - it's time to reassess.

If we switched to single coverage from both employers - but kept extended health for Jordan (b/c it's free through my employer) - we would save $185!!

Okay...but do I need the extended health care offered through Jordan's employer?

Right now I have about 4 physio appointments a week - but that will only last for a couple more months.  Those cost $75/visit and my benefits pay for $60/visit...Jordan's pay for $15.  That's $60/month that wouldn't be reimbursed any longer BUT we would still be saving $26.90 (rather than $86.90).

I can't see a reason to keep extended dental - it's not needed to pay for regular dentist visits/checkups...it's really only necessary when you need big dental surgeries and what not.  The kicker here though - is that it's a bit of a risk.  If we move from family to single dental premiums, we can't change it again for a 12 month period following the change.

So...what do you think?  Is it worth it?  Should we switch to single?  That $125-185 (depending on physio) would sure help in the month budget!


  1. Where do your vision benefits reside? How does that change the calculation?

    1. Vision is in extended health. Jordan doesn't get any $$ value coverage, just a discount with specific vendors that isn't standard across so difficult to calculate. My optometrist isn't part of the network that gives the discounts (pvs).

  2. Nice job looking at those savings! My husband and I both work for the feds and get great coverage.

    Just to confirm, you're looking at switching both of your plans to single coverage? In that case wouldn't you still get the $60 physio coverage but lose Jordan's $15 as opposed to the other way around?

    1. You got it - we're thinking about swtiching both plans to single...except for my extended health b/c that's free for family or single. The $60 comes from four visits a month times $15/visit from Jordan's coverage. So it's a total of $60 we wouldn't be reimbursed each month which is still less than we pay. I also won't be on physio forever; just a few more months likely.

    2. Ahh gotcha! I'm with you on switching to single and reconsider if/when you have kids. The risk is you'll pay more out of pocket, but you're young and can absorb it if it comes to that. Odds are likely you won't.

  3. Hmm, both mine and T's employers won't let us switch to single coverage, has to be family. I do like having chiro/messages/dental etc covered 100% though, I'm pretty sure this saves us money in the long run.

    1. Jordan doesn't use annnny of his benefits - and I'm only using it for a couple of months while I work through a health issue. I'm surprised they won't let you switch to single coverage....that doesn't actually seem legal?


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