WINNIPEG – Insurance provider Canada Life is taking steps to eliminate plastic drug cards.
Beginning January 1, 2020, Canada Life will begin encouraging its group benefits plan sponsors to opt out of providing plastic drug cards to their members.
The provider of group health benefits in Canada has already begun educating sponsors and stakeholders about the change. The goal is to go to a completely digital member experience by 2021.
“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.”
Drug cards – once the hallmark of a benefits plan – are no longer sacred. With advancements in digital technology, customers can get their drug card online or from GroupNet mobile, Canada Life’s benefits app that allows members to make claims, check coverage balances, and even has a mobile-friendly version of the card that can be added to a device’s electronic wallet.
Weiss points out that it’s not the physical card that gives customers access to the benefits plan.
“It’s the identification number that’s important,” he said.
“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 2020, the company will be looking at other ways to reduce its environmental footprint. Printed plan member benefits booklets are next in line for the recycle bin.
“Reducing and eventually eliminating our paper products is another goal for 2020,” says Weiss.
“In this day and age, a searchable, digital format is easier for members to get the information they need, when and where they need it.”