Canadian healthcare co-op pushes down the cost of medical bills

Beneplan covers more than 25,000 people and offers access to medication not included in state assistance schemes

As more and more Canadians find themselves in need of expensive medication every year, a healthcare co-operative is helping its deal with the cost.

A member owned co-op, Beneplan works to provide group employee benefits at low prices, covering more than 25,000 individuals across 350 employers, majority of them small and medium enterprises.

The Beneplan Compassionate Drug Assistance Program gives members complementary access to a drug advocate who tailors a plan to their individual circumstances and works with various sources of financial assistance to ensure excess costs are eliminated.

In addition, the co-op offers coverage for pharmacogenetic testing at low prices, offering members a personalised prescription plan. These members include Denise Bennett, who suffers from a degenerative kidney disease and was eligible for a drug that stave off dialysis.

Canadians spending 3 to 4% or more of their post-tax household income on prescription drug costs can qualify for government support through the Trillium Drug Program – but Ms Bennett’s drug, which costs CAD $5,800 per month, does not qualify for this and she could no afford it.

Through her employer, Ms Bennett had access to Beneplan’s Compassionate Drug Assistance Program and managed to secure the drug at no cost with support from a drug advocate.

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“This literally changed my outlook on my future,” she said. “I would definitely recommend this program and am happy to spread the word about how wonderful Beneplan is. More companies should be leaning into personal client care. Beneplan was life-changing and life-saving.”

Beneplan’s co-operative structure means members receive a share of the profit through dividends, even when their expenses are lower than the value of their premiums. Since 2000, the co-op has paid more than CAD $10m to its member-owners.

Members also have access to a wellness programme to help educate and assist them to find natural remedies for health of mind, body and spirit.

“Beneplan’s sole focus is Canadian employee benefits,” says Yafa Sakkejha, general manager of Beneplan. “We are much more than just consultants or administrators. We are known as innovators in the industry for minimising costs for small businesses, while maximising patient care.”

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