Nabs introduces new freelancer benefits plan

It will soon be easier to hire a freelancer with benefits, thanks to a new group health benefits program being launched by nabs.

The plan will be offered to freelancers across the country except for Quebec (nabs is currently working on a plan for the province). The plan is provided by Medavie Blue Cross, and includes both individual and family plans.

Benefits include life, extended health and travel, and dental coverage, and members can choose a plan with or without long-term disability. The individual plan, including LTD, is $158.22 per month while the family plan costs $335.53 per month.

Nabs has been working to introduce a comprehensive plan for years, said Louise Berube, director of allocations and services for nabs.

While freelancers have grown in numbers in recent years as agencies look for ways to control costs, they have been a “hidden community,” she said. They are doing work for agencies, but without the benefits and security that typically come with full-time employment.

The need for a group benefits plan became even more acute as the industry dealt with the effects of the COVID crisis, said Berube. “Full time jobs are a little more tenuous because we don’t know where this pandemic is going,” she said.

Nabs has provided benefits plans in the past, but “they never got off the ground,” said Berube. When nabs’ benefits partner HUB International recommended the Medavie Blue Cross plan a few months ago, Berube instantly thought it would be different this time.

“I just about did cartwheels,” she said. “This is what has been the Holy Grail for me, to find a really good benefits offering that’s affordable. The beauty of this plan is that if people want, it can include long-term disability coverage, which is key.”

“As a former agency president, I am very aware of all the freelancers and contractors that contribute to our industry,” said nabs executive director Jay Bertram. “Not having access to a reasonably priced group benefits program, and the fluctuations of working as an independent contractor, has impacted their ability to provide comprehensive health coverage for themselves and/or their families.

“As this pandemic continues, and until we have a vaccine in place, ensuring you have health coverage in place will be paramount.”

Visit nabs for more information about the program including rates and benefits summaries.

David Brown