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What You Need To Know About Group Health Insurance for Your Small Manitoba Business

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January 7, 2021
Updated: April 19, 2023


If you’re a Manitoba small business owner, you may have, or currently be, considering adding a group health insurance program for your employees.

Group health insurance plans benefit everyone. Not only does it help take care of your team, but it also makes your business more appealing to current and future employees. Bonus! Group insurance is often more affordable than individual insurance plans. Making it even more appealing to everyone involved.

In this post, we explore what a group health plan is, what it typically costs, and look at important considerations and some typical questions we get asked.

Have a list of questions you’re dying to ask? Contact us today! We’ll help you run through your list so that you can feel confident before you take this next big step for your business.

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What Is Group Health Insurance?

Group Health Insurance is a type of insurance designed for businesses that lets employers offer health insurance benefits to their employees, as part of a group package. It benefits employees by helping them pay for healthcare costs that are not covered by the government. It benefits employers by spreading both the risks and the costs associated with traditional health insurance across all employees.

How Does Group Health Insurance Work In Manitoba?

In Manitoba, when group health insurance is purchased, the employer pays a portion of the premiums for that policy, and the employees pay for the rest. From there, any claims made through the policy are pooled together to manage risk and assist in keeping premiums affordable.

What Does Group Health Insurance Cover?

Group health insurance is a type of private health insurance, so it covers things that your government-funded health insurance often doesn’t. Depending on what’s included in the group plan (as determined by the employer), group health insurance can cover costs associated to expenses, such as:

  • Prescription drugs
  • Paramedical practitioners (like massage therapists and chiropractors)
  • Semi-private hospital rooms
  • Vision care (including eye exams, glasses, and contact lenses)
  • Dental (basic, major, and orthodontic)
  • Employee Assistance Programs (like counselling)

Group Health Requirements For Small Businesses In Manitoba

If you’re thinking about purchasing group health insurance for your small business, you’ll want to consider three things: the number of employees you have, the type of employees you have, and how long employees need to be with your company before they can access their benefits.

1. Number Of Employees

The number of employees you need to have in order to qualify for group benefits varies, but companies with as few as two employees can qualify! It all depends on the guidelines set by the insurance company you partner with.

Get in touch with our individual Insurance Advisors to confirm your unique requirements.

2. Type Of Employees

Typically, group health insurance plans are offered to full-time employees only. The definition of “full time” varies by insurance company, but the industry standard is 24 hours of work per week.

Group health insurance is usually only offered to those employees who have employment agreements with your company on a regular basis, so contractors, consultants, seasonal, and casual employees don’t typically fall under these group plans.

3. Probation Periods

Most employers only offer access to benefits following a probationary period of around 3-6 months, but sometimes new employees will qualify right away. It all depends on what is written into their employment agreement.

Group Health Insurance FAQs

You got burning questions– we’ve got answers! Have a question we don’t answer below? Reach out. We’d be happy to help walk you through any additional information you want to know.

Like other types of business insurance, the cost of your group health insurance premium depends on the types of benefits you want included. Costs can be affected by things like:


  • Past claims experience
  • Co-insurance (the amount paid out after the deductible)
  • Deductibles
  • Benefit maximums


Typically, plans cost roughly 3% of payroll expenses, with employers paying a minimum of 50% of the total premiums.

Yes, group insurance is often more affordable than individual insurance plans.


Group plans are more affordable for employers because they spread the risk across your entire organization — and even across your industry — which reduces costs for all businesses involved.


And, they’re more affordable to employees, too! As long as the employer contributes to the overall cost of the premiums, individual costs are much lower than they would be if each employee purchased an individual health insurance plan.

Yes, some aspects of a group health and dental insurance plan are tax deductible for both employers and employees. However, certain factors can affect your ability to claim the premiums. We recommend double-checking with your accountant before banking on that!

As mentioned above, the number of employees needed to be eligible for a group health plan will change depending on the insurance company you decide to use.


You can usually find a company offering a group policy for as little as two people!

Typically not under the same plan.


There are a lot of risk factors based on industry/job type, which is why insurers don’t like to group businesses together that will have a different level of risk.


However, some industries have association plans that offer a grouped arrangement. In these scenarios, you’d have an individual employee benefits plan under the association plan. So you’d still be responsible for your own policy but would get some of the benefits (like cost savings) of having a grouped plan.

The best way to find a group health policy for your small business is to work with an insurance advisor (like us!). They'll be able to answer all your questions, determine which policy works best for your unique situation, and lock in a great rate!

Protect Your Employees With Group Health Insurance

A group insurance plan can be a great way to lower premiums for everyone. Plus, it can help you attract and retain your employees!

If you’re interested in purchasing a group health insurance plan for your Manitoba small business, get in touch. Together, we’ll determine your needs, set your budget, and find the best plan for you.