‘When offered the choice, plan sponsors will agree plastic cards are no longer a necessary feature of their plan’
Winnipeg-based benefits provider Canada Life is looking to eliminate plastic drug cards for its customers.
Beginning on Jan. 1, the company will encourage group benefits plan sponsors to opt out of handing out plastic drug cards to plan members.
“In 2018, we issued approximately 1.1 million cards,” says Ryan Weiss, vice-president, product and experience, group customer, Canada Life. “Stacked flat on top of each other, the pile would be twice as tall as the CN Tower. I’m confident that when offered the choice, plan sponsors will agree plastic cards are no longer a necessary feature of their plan.”
Canada Life has started to inform sponsors and stakeholders about the change and its goal is to become fully digital by 2021.
The move follows that of the health insurance industry in “leveraging digital tools, artificial intelligence (AI) and analytics to gradually move toward an efficient, digitally integrated ecosystem,” according to a recent Capgemini report.
Customers can access Canada Life drug cards online or from the GroupNet mobile benefits app that allows members to make claims and check coverage balances. There’s also a version of the drug card that can be added to a device’s electronic wallet, says Canada Life.
It’s not the physical card that gives customers access to the benefits plan, says Weiss, “it’s the identification number that’s important. Most providers, like dental offices and pharmacies, keep a digital record of a client’s insurance information. The plastic card, in most instances, is for one-time use, just like a plastic straw or water bottle.”
In looking at other ways to reduce its environmental footprint, Canada Life will be targeting benefits booklets next.
“Reducing and eventually eliminating our paper products is another goal for 2020. A searchable, digital format is easier for members to get the information they need,” says Weiss.