The advantage - Q1 2022

March 29, 2022

the advantage
what's new

Tranquility by Inkblot is GSC’s preferred iCBT program

We’re proud to share that Tranquility by Inkblot is now GSC’s preferred internet-based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (iCBT) program. This innovative iCBT digital mental health solution – available via desktop and mobile app in partnership with Tranquility and Inkblot Technologies – was co-developed by clinical psychologists and people with lived experience with anxiety and depression. View the press release issued by Inkblot to launch this solution.

You’ve likely all read about the increasing prevalence of Canadians living with mild-to-moderate anxiety and depression, especially over the past 24 months. It continues to be a priority for GSC to provide plan members with easy and instant access to affordable mental health solutions. Better yet, providing them with access to solutions they can use anytime and anywhere empowers plan members to work on their mental health on their own terms.

Being our preferred iCBT program, we’re excited to share that effective May 1, 2022, coverage for the Tranquility by Inkblot iCBT program will be included in all Group plans (ASO and non-refund) and Individual plans that currently include coverage for MindBeacon’s iCBT program. Reimbursement of these programs will continue to be based on the limitations currently in place at the Mental Health Services category, other than per-visit maximums (when applicable). Plan members can choose from a self-guided program ($75 plus applicable taxes) or a coach-assisted program ($325 plus applicable taxes).

This benefit inclusion allows plan members to use digital mental health coverage already available in their plans to access another GSC-approved iCBT solution. This approach also allows us to remove barriers to access mental health care, such as long wait times or high treatment costs, and provide much-needed alternatives for plan members struggling to navigate the mental health system. In February 2022, Tranquility by Inkblot was validated in the Journal of Medical Internet Research (JMIR) – Formative Research, where Tranquility’s strong fidelity to traditional CBT was demonstrated. Read more here.

Given that we will be leveraging existing digital mental health (iCBT) coverage in plans and applying reimbursement limitations such as copayments, deductibles and maximums, we do not anticipate there to be a material increase to total health costs across GSC’s entire book of business.

  • ForASO-fundedgroups, costs will flow through the extended health services experience.

  • For non-refund and retention-funded groups, the cost impact will be built into the extended health rate over time and across the book – resulting in very minimal direct impact to each individual renewal.

For Group plans that don’t currently include digital mental health coverage, a request can be submitted to your account team at any time to have coverage for Tranquility by Inkblot added to a benefits plan.

More about the program:

  • Tranquility by Inkblot is a proprietary web-based platform that offers nine psychoeducational modules and four interactive tools designed to engage plan members age 15 and older with mild to moderate anxiety and/or depression to complete the iCBT program, with four out of five users showing improved outcomes after completing the program.

  • A 24-hour lock period is in place between sessions to help pace the user. The recommendation is to complete one session each week. Program access is offered for a total of 26 weeks, even though the program can be completed in nine to 12 weeks.

  • The biggest challenge with most iCBT programs is getting individuals to commit and complete the program. Notification reminders improve adherence and help plan members stay on track. With the help of coaches, plan members are best positioned for success.

You also have the option to provide program access to your plan members by paying a per-employee per-month fee. This approach allows plan members to access Tranquility by Inkblot outside of the benefits plan, which means there’s no out-of-pocket cost for the plan member, and no claim for them to submit. They can then use existing mental health coverage included within the benefits plan for other support options.

Contact your account team if you’d like a quote or would like to learn more about Tranquility by Inkblot.

Change4Life in the year ahead

When Change4Life® relaunched in November 2021, the ability to integrate more wearables and new ways to get educated were delivered along with a fresh new logo and a sleek look and feel. These features were a great addition to the existing robust health risk assessment (HRA) that results in a personalized health report card and an overall health score.

In addition to the regular monthly reward store draw, 2022 Change4Life will include new ways to earn points and bid on prizes – including monthly and quarterly bonus draws for plan members who are most active on the portal. The quarterly challenges ensure that plan members have something to look forward to throughout the year. The Q1 challenge encouraged plan members to complete their HRA, and the Q2 challenge that starts on April 1 and ends on June 30 is all about mindfulness. We’ve created some promo materials to share with your plan members, so please help us encourage them to participate.

Also new in 2022 is the monthly testimonial draw, where we encourage plan members to share how using Change4Life has helped them take small steps to make changes in their overall health. We’re excited to share a few of our favourites received to date:

  • Judi from Alberta: “I try each day to track my goals, and I really like being able to check my status on each goal as I know what I need to work harder on to achieve my healthy goals. I also like to learn & earn mostly because I can get good information on something that is a problem or of interest. The reminders keep me on track to remember what needs improving on each day. The thing that I appreciate the most is that the information is from a reliable source.”

  • Pascal from Quebec: “The tracking tools are great. I no longer forget the important everyday elements of my life thanks to this tool. Thank you for creating good tools to help us in our daily lives.”

  • Chuck from Ontario: “Change4Life has helped me become more mindful of healthy lifestyle practices; I completed a number of assessments and was surprised by my risk score. It made me consider my overall health; sleep/stress/exercise were areas of opportunity to improve. I have become a regular checker on my health profile here and encouraged many of our staff to do the same...and then I actually won a $100 gift card with my benefits indeed!”

While the 2021 relaunch and 2022 additions will promote increased registrations and utilization, plan sponsors have an opportunity to take the Change4Life experience to the next level via enhancements that range from adding your company name/logo to provide a co-branded experience, running a custom HRA challenge for employees or issuing bonus codes for activities sponsored by your organization, to even creating a custom reward store. You can learn more about the enhancement options here. And remember, by increasing participation and engagement, you will have access to valuable reporting on the overall health of your plan members – keep reading to learn more.

Interested in identifying key risk factors for your plan members through aggregate HRA results? Or learning where they are most motivated to make changes? Would you like to see individual behaviour results over time? How about knowing which tools, education modules and content your plan members are using the most? When 10 per cent of your plan members complete their HRA, we can provide you with health behaviour-change analytics and reporting insights. This is another reason you’ll want to encourage your plan members to register and use Change4Life.

We also look forward to making a Change4Life app available to plan members later this year – providing them with another way to engage with the portal so they can achieve better health and win great rewards.

If you’re interested in learning more about what Change4Life has to offer, about the available enhancements that can be implemented for a reasonable fee, or accessing data via our new reporting, please contact your account team.

Family Planning product coming soon

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) continue to be top of mind when creating new products at GSC. To follow our gender affirmation offering that was included in all ASO and non-refund Group plans as a standard benefit back in June 2021, we are now actively developing our Family Planning product – one that will include a Fertility and Surrogacy offering.

We want to create a product that will be considered a valuable addition to benefit plans by plan sponsors and one that plan members will view as supportive to their needs. To date, we’ve combed through research, consulted with advocates and experts, reviewed available provincial and territorial funding, identified the barriers individuals face when navigating through fertility challenges, and made adjustments to the product along the way.

You’ll have the option to add this product to your benefit plans later this year, and we’ll share product-specific details in an upcoming communication.


Introducing our new suite of administration outsourcing solutions

Our clients have long been asking for increased administration support, and we’ve heard you! GSC has recently launched a suite of administration outsourcing solutions, in partnership with Computer Workware Inc. (CWI), as an expansion of our benefits administration capabilities. This demonstrates that we’re listening and fulfilling our commitment to aligning our products and services with meeting your needs. Click here to read the press release.

With this new offering, clients can choose an outsourced benefits administration option (securing support for technology and HR tasks) or a technology-only option with iBenefits (where benefits administration responsibilities remain with the HR team) – as well as any level of support in between.

Here’s what makes this administration offering unique…

All Canadian

  • When we say “made by Canadians for Canadians”, we mean it. You get 100% home-grown Canadian solutions – all developed, implemented, and supported in Canada, where we also call home.

  • We speak your language – expect only easy-to-understand tech talk and group benefits speak.

  • And we accurately demystify compliance legislation. Nothing is “lost in translation”.

  • Plus, if we weren’t so modest, we’d mention that we’re nice. And polite.

Tailored to all plan designs and needs

  • Flex. Hour-bank. No plan gets left behind.

  • Scale up. Scale down. Or anywhere in between.

  • Sit back and let us do all the plan member administration work for you, from hire to retire.

  • Let us be your 911 during busy periods. Just think of us as help-on-demand.

  • Go it alone with your own expertise while taking advantage of our iBenefits platform.

Sit back and let us do the work

  • We’ll seamlessly manage your hand-picked selection of providers to deliver a user-friendly benefits administration experience for both you and your plan members.

  • We’ll handle whatever group benefits administration support you need – at all times and especially during busy periods like enrolment. By outsourcing, say goodbye to panic calls, emails, and meetings. Get back to your business with group benefits now off your plate and on ours.

Technology that keeps up

  • An integrated, flexible, intuitive benefits administration system – the iBenefits platform – means all administration is based on a single source of truth, offering reliable, real-time service that makes every benefit dollar count.

  • Continuous technology updates keep up with the ever-changing Canadian benefits landscape so you are always one step ahead.

  • All updates are provided at no additional cost.

We would love to tell you more!

Please contact your GSC account team to learn more or receive a quote.

GSC partners with ALAViDA, a LifeSpeak company

As we communicated in January, we’ve recently partnered with ALAViDA, enabling plan sponsors to offer accessible, low-barrier substance use management coverage through their benefits plan, without the need for plan members to leave work, and at a fraction of the cost of traditional programs.

ALAViDA™ has now been added to GSC’s Digital Clinic– our suite of carefully vetted virtual health solutions – so GSC plan members age 18 and older can benefit from a personalized, evidence-based program to support unaddressed substance use. Plan members without coverage through their benefits plan can access the preferred GSC discount – $600 plus applicable taxes versus $700 plus applicable taxes – to reduce the out-of-pocket cost.

You can still add reimbursement of ALAViDA’s Hello Premium Program to your benefits plan, leveraging existing mental health coverage limitations (maximums, deductibles, and copays) in the Mental Health Services benefits category. Please contact your GSC account team to discuss further.

First Nations benefits review

It’s important for us to understand the unique challenges faced by our First Nations, Inuit, and Métis plan members through their health care and benefits plan experience. This includes enrolment processes, accessing coverage through the Non-Insured Health Benefits (NIHB) program, coordinating claims with NIHB (where applicable), and where gaps may exist for expenses that are traditionally not covered through an extended health, drug, or dental plan.

Connecting with individuals in these communities and better understanding their health care journey will be pivotal to achieving our goal, which is to improve the overall plan member experience.

Enhancements to existing processes will be implemented once solutions are co-developed with our community stakeholders, and we’re confident that we will soon provide plan sponsors with the option to update their benefit plans to provide reimbursement for expenses that were at one time ineligible. We are looking forward to sharing what we learn with you along the way.