What Group Benefits Will Keep Millennials Healthy and Happy?


I get it, Group benefits is often boring and downright confusing! It is like going to a buffet for the first time…..where do you start? In a world of so many choices, group benefits are no different with even the “one size fits all” cookie cutter plans having different plan designs.
With many variables, the typical Millennial needs to keep it simple when researching and look for the following:

  1. What are the various coverages offered? (Dental, Prescription Drugs, Vision Care, Paramedicals like Massage Therapy, Chiropractor etc)
  2. Is the claim process automated? (mobile app submission or similar)
  3. What is the monthly cost? (If you are self-employed or required to cost share premiums with employer)

At the end of the day you really need to ask yourself:

  • What are my medical/dental needs?
  • How much can I budget for a particular plan?

Millennials are experiencing a new frontier of work environment in an ever-changing world. Many are self-employed, work freelance or on a contract basis. The advent of “big data” availability has dramatically changed the landscape for this group.

These days you will find a Millennial in jobs such as Data Analyst, Financial Analyst, Market Researcher, Statistician, Web Developers and Marketing and Advertising to name a few.

This type of worker if part of an employer group will not have much choice in benefits offering but if self-employed the best approach is to be incorporated to take advantage of the expense write off.

A note to employers to really take the time to learn about the needs of this group as it will very much make a difference in your key objective which is to attract and retain key employees.

Why Millennials are different?

Millennials represent the young workforce today and by definition were born between 1981-1996 (22-37 years old). Generally, they have less health concerns and very health conscious in a world of lifestyles such as Vegan, Vegetarian, Paleo, Keto and many others. The internet has opened up a whole new way of learning about health and fitness and this generation will look for new programs such as the inclusion of a Wellness Platform or even a Mental Health strategy/program and virtual doctors like EQ Care or similar.

You will most likely find on the wrists of the majority, technology such as an Apple iWatch, Fitbit, Garmin or Samsung Gear Fit to track their steps and heart rate while integrating with their phones to gauge overall health and set fitness/wellness goals.

They may belong to an online social media community to share wellness achievements, recipes and give each other daily support. The awareness and actionable tasks technology brings to this group will dramatically impact an employer’s benefit costs in a positive way and assist with cost containment.

Group Benefits Plan Minimum: What do most Millennials expect?

I have found in my travels that Millennials are not so much looking at the life insurance component of their group plan since they secure outside coverage. They do look for some form of long or short-term disability coverage and once they are educated about the benefits of a critical illness product, find this to be a welcomed and valuable coverage to have in a plan. It is always looking to where you can find value and an edge versus competitors and critical illness is one such product offering to do just that. Keep in mind the wellness component because that affects the “now” rather than the perceived prescription drug benefit. Remember, the younger age groups are typically not on prescription drugs and have that “Superman or Superwoman” mentality or a shift with this group is towards non prescription drugs and towards a more holistic approach with plant based diets becoming mainstream.

Vision Care component will forever be a top request with any generation and the utilization will be high as a result which could lead to discussions on carving out this benefit to control plan costs. We will save that for another post! Ha!

Dental coverage will be a key component for Millennials and consideration on the Major Restorative inclusion needs discussion since the introduction of Invisalign as the alternative to braces under the Ortho component.

The expectations of the typical Millennial are similar on most coverages with special attention on new and developing programs and technologies since this is their world and speed and convenience are at the core of what they will be looking for. Key takeaway with this group is to Communicate!! For the most part these are data driven, technology savvy and Google/Search engine educators that are wanting clear explanation of plan benefits and coverages.

What elements of group benefit plan will impress your Millennial staff?

If you are looking to impress this group or even look to lure away top talent from a competitor, a benefit plan offering is certainly one key way to do so. After all, the objective is to attract and retain.

Here are some of my top tips to impress:

  • Virtual Doctor access such as Equinoxe’s EQ Care https://eqcare.com/en/
  • Wellness Platform such as Meschino Wellness (gives you an idea but not the employer site/platform)
  • Mental Health in a Box (nice addition to the referral service EQ Care provides) https://www.mhibglobal.org/
  • Adding a Health Spending Account for use towards a gym membership, top up of massage, chiro or weight loss and nutritional supplements (based on certain rules)
  • Venngo work perks to provide discounts at various retailers

Tips for getting a group plan that impresses Millennials w/o breaking the bank

Many of the above tips can be done extremely affordable and the monthly cost per employee will surprise you. You really can add tremendous value at a reasonable cost. Here are some additional tips and food for thought that can have an impact and keep premium dollars in check:

  •  Choose what’s really needed. You do NOT need a $1,500 Dental benefit when $750 is well above typical claims on minor restorative procedures. Also, you must take a basic life insurance component BUT you can go as low as $10,000 flat for each employee. You are also not obligated to take Extended Health care or Dental. You can carve these out and utilize a Health Spending Account.
  • Optional opt-in for Disability and Critical Illness. You can make this valuable benefit available and have the employees pay for the premiums. It would be a wise move on the disability since the benefit would then be considered non-taxable to the employee. Critical illness is non taxable regardless of who pays the premium and is a great value add to any employer plan
  • Not included in a plan, however, very valuable in this day and group is to offer flex scheduling, work at home days and special days off such as birthdays
  •  Work with a broker! It is tricky to navigate through a benefits plan and you really need to look at a “whole approach” when it comes to deciding what to offer. A broker has access to traditional insurance carriers as well as new distribution channels for Health Care Spending Accounts. They also can represent your best interests at renewal time by negotiating a fair renewal and making suggestions as new technologies are introduced into the market.

Millennials are an engaged group who embrace life, conscious of the world and their community. They are an educated group that multi tasks thanks to technology and a sense of adventure is within most. I believe this generation will provide employers a significant contribution as a result and the approach to win top talent will be won by listening to their needs and adapting to accommodate. A Benefits plan that is well designed with them in mind is one of many foundational keys to success.


Jason Julian’s Bio

I have been in the Financial Services industry for 27 years. I started in the banking sector in 1991 for Canada Trust in Hamilton later to begin an insurance career as an agent with Prudential of America in 1995. The majority of my selling career was spent in Hamilton Ontario at one of Canada’s leading brokerages; Dan Lawrie Insurance Brokers Ltd.

I went on to work as a Life Member of MDRT and two-time Court of the Table producer along with Top 10 status for 7 years with Unity Life before joining the company in 2007. After selling my book of business, I joined the corporate side serving as Director of Sales for Southwestern Ontario for Unity Life/Foresters 2007 to 2012 before becoming AVP Ontario Sales. In 2014, I worked with National Accounts to oversee growth as well as Business Development in 2017.

In 2018 I took on the role as Senior VP at a growing benefits company (SAFG Benefits Solutions Inc.) to grow the brand and market our unique value proposition to brokers and employers using the latest technology platform and best of class services including Mental Health, Meschino Wellness, EQ Care virtual doctors and Pharmacogenetics.

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