This may seem strange to my friends who are artists, musicians, entrepreneurs and consultants, but last year I found myself without benefits for the first time since I was 18.
It was a shock how many things you take for granted when you are “covered” – dental cleanings every 4 months, free glasses every 2 years, drugs! And even more of a shock when you realize how much these things cost when you aren’t. (Yes, even here in Canada.)
When the benefits stopped, we sat down and reviewed our expenses and compared the cost of a new benefits package, including the extra we’d pay over the max coverages, to the cost of covering it ourselves. We realized that it was very very close. We were being offered a lot of coverage we never used, and the coverage we did use was often only 60-80% of the total cost. A quick little calculation and we decided to spend the year benefits-free and see where we came out at the other end.
Then last year happened. The year I spent at least a week per month in bed sick.
We realized that free glasses be-damned, we needed to check out short and long term disability benefits. That’s insurance that really matters to the self-employed.
As part of my research into options, I reached out to a friend and colleague who works with Investors Group, Joey Soltis. Joey has has pulled together a handful of options that might work for small businesses and the unique needs we have working with employees, freelancers and sometimes atypical employment relationships. Including the possibility of some sort of group/association coverage for a group of business working together… say in a space like LaunchPad, Camaraderie, CSI or perhaps the full co-working community in Toronto.
So tomorrow, we’re hosting at session in our boardroom:
Benefit Options for Indie and Small Businesses
w/ Joey Soltis from Investors Group
Thursday July 22 @ 10:30am or Tuesday July 27 @ 1:30pm
If you are interested in joining in the discussion and what I hope to be an informal and informative session, please register for one of the two sessions here: http://guestlistapp.com/events/25662
Paying for benefits: better than an apple a day for keeping you from getting sick.