This is not the most common way to set up a Benefits Program. In fact, I came across this request last week for only the 2nd time in my 25+ years in the group insurance business.
This situation came to me through one of my Clients who had a group of their Employees that got together and joined a Union. Through Union negotiations, it was decided that they would only offer benefits to the Union Members but not to their Dependents.
Same as what happened about 20 years ago when I first came across this type of situation, the Carrier said that they cannot accommodate this type of set-up. The reason that they can’t accommodate, is due to system limitations…Carriers with an old legacy administration system are not able handle anything outside the “norm”.
The “norm” in old legacy systems is that an Employee with Dependents can only waive benefits if their Spouse has benefits elsewhere. The real kicker here is that they don’t have Contract wording that speaks the language of “Single Only” coverage. So, I understand why they can’t do it and since it isn’t something that happens very often, they’re not going to be able to change the old legacy system.
This situation has been escalated to the Carriers powers-that-be…It will be interesting to see how they handle this because I’ve checked with a few other more technically progressive Carriers that can accommodate this situation with the proper Contract wording.
Located in Cambridge, ON Sharkey Group Insurance provides independent Employee Benefits advice & counsel for Small Businesses across Ontario.