OMA Insurance is governed by the OMA Insurance Committee, which has authority delegated to it by the OMA Board. As of 2018, the Committee is comprised of four Ontario physician members, one Atlantic region representative and four business members with industry expertise. This body, with input and support of OMA Insurance management, oversees the initiatives taken by OMA Insurance in implementing its strategy.
Our focus for the next three years sets in motion a blueprint for success with the right people, processes and systems in place.
One of our priorities for 2018 was to strengthen our operations. This year, we initiated a Request for Proposals to compare the service levels and costs of Sun Life as our plan administrator. This process will be completed in early 2019.
Being available regionally has been another strategy. We now have 16 insurance advisors available across Ontario, and three in the Atlantic region. They attend local events, hospitals, offices and clinics to educate and advise you on insurance, and speak to how we provide value to association members. In 2018, we conducted over 3300 consultations with members
The funding status of the OMA Priority Insurance Plan (OPIP) needed to be addressed for the upcoming benefit year. As a not-for-profit association, funding for OPIP has reached a critical point and the model had to change. Work on this project began early in 2018.
By now, you've received communications that you will be paying more out of pocket for your OPIP coverage starting January 1st. This is a result of three major factors: 1) the increase in the number of members who participate in the plan, 2) the total cost of claims (from $15 million in 2009 to $28 million in 2018) and finally, 3) the subsidized portion from the government has not increased since the plan's inception in 2008. Changing the funding formula to be equitable safeguards your continued access to these important benefits.
We've also seen increased premium to the health plans in 2018, however, the renewal rates still remain at or below the industry average. Our Home & Auto program renewal also saw increases starting in July that aligned with the industry increases.
For the plan year ending August 31st, 2018, the Disability plan also experienced an unprecedented rise in claims (a 48% increase from 2017) that does not support an annual premium refund for this product this year. Premiums were used to assist members on disability as well as providing return to practice support and assistance. Doctors who have had their livelihood interrupted by an illness or injury, can rely on their disability insurance to ensure their income flow is not interrupted while disabled.
We were very excited to launch our Employee Group Benefits Plan this summer through a partnership with Hub International and administration through The Beneplan Co-operative. Our members can now offer their employees flexible health benefits with affordable cost sharing options. Plus, this Plan includes, at no extra cost, some great additional benefits including pharmacogenomics and HR support.
In November, we launched phase one of our Member Connect project with a redesign of
My Account, the online member access portal. This interface provides secure access to member information and statements including access to view your OMA Insurance policy and application information – your Group and Individual plans, Home and Auto, and Office/Clinic plans.
Many Canadians are concerned about the cost of health care and we can expect costs to continue to escalate. Costs also threaten to undermine the history of equal access, equal treatment, and equal outcomes that have been the foundation for much of the development of the Canadian health care system. I believe that with the changes implemented to protect the plan, OMA Insurance is positioned for stability into the future.
Yes, there have been and will continue to be challenges. But we're not sitting on our laurels. We are exploring alternatives to our coverages which can improve how they deliver protection for your wellness while simultaneously protecting the ongoing plan sustainability.
We've had a lot of changes over the past year but one thing that has not changed is our focus on our members and working with our partners to achieve the service quality that our members deserve. The experience of our OMA Insurance team is a crucial element of our success. Helping our members to understand our products and how they work to protect doctors throughout their career is something that sets us apart. OMA members have come to expect exemplary service—and we deliver it every day.
Have a wonderful holiday season.