After over a year of effort, the CAPS/ACSP Executive Council has finally managed to find a suitable National Health/Dental Insurance Plan to offer postdocs.

The anticipated launch date is: September 1st, 2018

Although we did not end up needing to request additional input or assistance from members, the Executive Council would like to thank the postdocs who offered to assist in the development of this plan when responding to the Insurance Survey we conducted a year ago (see http://www.caps-acsp.ca/en/events/group-healthdental-insurance/ for more information).  We originally planned to ask for feedback from those people once we got quotes from insurance companies, but despite contacting 7 different insurance companies, in the end we only found one company that offered a plan that suited our needs – Manulife.

From the outset we knew our plan was going to be a difficult one to negotiate and maintain long-term, as enrollment was always going to be optional and we’re only drawing from a pool of ~4,000 current postdocs (and an unknown number of former postdocs) who lack coverage through their employers. This type of plan is considered high-risk, as the buy-in by optional enrollees is typically poor (~1% according to insurance industry insiders) and the people who do sign up tend to have pre-existing medical conditions. The resulting combination of low enrollment and high cost/enrollee inevitably results in much higher rates over time and eventually such plans almost invariably fail as they end up costing the average enrollee more than their own private plan would.
 
Manulife was the only company to offer a solution to that issue, as they offered to include CAPS/ACSP Members in the plans that they already offer to many other Groups and Associations in Canada. 
This approach provides a number of advantages:
1) Multiple plans with varying coverage are already set up and ready for use, so implementation time is minimized.
2) Pooling of thousands of enrollees from different groups/associations across Canada helps to guarantee reasonable rate stability and therefore long-term sustainability of the plan.
3) Reasonable coverage and cost from a well-known and trusted insurance provider.
 
At present the Executive Council is finalizing arrangements with an advisor company (Specialized Benefits Inc.) and Manulife to ensure that the plans are available to current/former postdocs across all provinces and that the necessary webpages are all set up and properly functioning prior to the launch date.

More details will be provided closer to the launch.