What are Paramedical Services? Everything you need to know

By: Updated: June 2, 2021

One of the most popular employee benefits favored by Canadians is paramedical services. Sometimes these types of services are also simply referred to as Parameds.

When recruiting new employees, it's likely they'll look at your overall employee benefits coverage. Needless to say, paramedical service benefits are likely to be on their shopping list.

That said, let's take a closer look at what these are...


What Is Paramedical Coverage?

Paramedical services are part of the Extended Health Benefits system in Canada. They provide employees with coverage for treatment with a range of healthcare practitioners.

These are typically associated with support for insomnia, stress, and personal wellness.

Paramedical services often include services that complement and support medical care. Usually, these treatments don't require a fully qualified medical doctor.

Employees working for companies that provide access to health and wellness provision are more likely to be happy in their job (80%) than those working for companies that don't offer this benefit (66%).


What Type of Services Are Included?

The types of services included in such a provision aren't typically covered in standard provincial health plans.

Below are just some paramedical services examples:

  • Acupuncturist
  • Audiologist
  • Chiropodist
  • Chiropractor
  • Dietician
  • Massage therapist
  • Naturopath
  • Occupational therapist
  • Podiatrist
  • Psychologist
  • Physiotherapist
  • Social worker
  • Speech Therapist

This list isn't exhaustive. Generally, practitioners covered under paramedical services benefits packages have to be licensed. Either that or registered/certified with the appropriate professional body for their profession.

It's worth noting here that paramedical services also include help in emergencies such as the following:

  • Ambulance services
  • CPR
  • A pulse rate check
  • Oxygen support
  • Diagnostics

...and so on.


Offering Paramedical Services: The Benefits

Unlike large corporations that appear to have deep pockets, for smaller businesses, every dollar counts.

That’s why it’s essential to understand the benefits of offering paramedical services for your business.

It’s Not Necessary to Take Out a Separate Plan

You can provide paramedical services for employees as part of an existing Health and Dental plan. Here, employees can contribute towards paramedical services.

Employee Expectations Are Changing

As many as 51% of Canadian executives expect work benefits to be more generous by 2037. Suppose you want to keep your employees and attract top talent to your growing business.

In that case, it makes sense to offer more holistic compensation packages that include paramedical services.

A Boost to Productivity

Life is hectic, with increasing numbers of Canadians reporting they experience stress at work. Extreme stress is experienced by 27% of Canadians, while 47% claim to feel “a bit stressed” at work daily.

If you want employees to be productive and happy at work, providing a means to seek support can be invaluable. Not only is this a 'nice' thing to do, but your business should also reap the rewards further down the line.

Paramedical Services Are Popular

This is popular amongst employees and candidates looking for a more holistic employee package from their employer.

Paramedical services are the second-most common services for which employees submit claims (53%), after claims for drug services (85%).

You'll Attract Younger Employees

Suppose your business hopes to attract younger employees. In that case, know that paramedical services are popular amongst this cohort.

This demographic typically has a lower usage of prescription medications than their older counterparts. They may also be more interested in trying treatments offered by healthcare professionals listed under paramedical services plans.


Is Paramedical Coverage Expensive?

While the benefits of such coverage are clear, you may have concerns about whether or not it is costly to you as a small business.

The answer here lies in weighing up the benefits of providing paramedical services to attract top talent that expects it. Their overall remuneration package will include access to different types of paramedical services.

The cost will depend on how much you, as an employer, contribute to a paramedical policy vs. how much the employee does.

This is called coinsurance. You can set the terms under which you provide paramedical service by setting specific budgetary-led criteria such as:

A Combined Maximum or Decreased Paramedical Maximums

Typically paramedical services will have a maximum dollar ceiling per type of practitioner. Once your employee reaches that ceiling, they can’t claim any further within that benefit year.

If you decrease this dollar ceiling, it can reduce your overall costs. The alternative is to set an overall/combined total maximum dollar ceiling to spend on all practitioners (for example, $2,000). Your employees control how they claim up to that maximum.

A Healthcare Spending Account

Another option for small businesses in Canada is to open a Health Spending Account (HSA), which allows an employer to set the dollar amount they want to spend on health and dental costs per employee. This includes paramedical charges within that figure. In addition, the reimbursements are tax-free for the employee. Oftentimes, this will be the most cost-effective plan for a small business or incorporated individual. 

Value-Based Care

We understand the importance of getting good value for money when you’re a small business. You want to attract good talent, have a motivated and productive workforce, and low sickness and absence rates.

Adding paramedical services coverage to an employee benefits package that already includes, for example, medical care, dental care, and vision care creates a more rounded and appealing offering. 

This is all the more feasible if the provider gives you value for money with no hidden fees, underwritten clauses, or monthly premiums.


Are You Ready to Start Offering Paramedical Services?

Paramedical services coverage doesn’t have to be time-consuming or complicated. With a Health Spending Account (HSA), a small business can get coverage for paramedical services and vision/dental at a reasonable cost. 


Find out more about paramedical services coverage with a Health Spending Account (HSA), download my free guides:

Download the HSA Guide for Incorporated Individuals

Download the HSA Guide for a Business with Staff

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