Canada Life aims to eliminate plastic drug cards

By The IJ Staff | December 20 2019 11:03AM

Stacked flat on top of each other, 1.1 million drug cards are twice as tall as the CN Tower

Canada Life announced Dec. 19 that it has taken a first step toward eliminating plastic drug cards. As of Jan. 1, 2020, the insurer says it will begin encouraging its group benefits plan sponsors to opt out of providing plastic drug cards to their members.

The goal is to reduce the company’s carbon footprint by going “to a completely digital member experience by 2021.”

"In 2018, we issued approximately 1.1 million cards," says Ryan Weiss, Vice-President, Product & Experience, Group Customer, Canada Life. "Stacked flat on top of each other, the pile would be twice as tall as the CN Tower. I'm confident that when offered the choice, plan sponsors will agree plastic cards are no longer a necessary feature of their plan." 

Canada life says that drug cards “once the hallmark of a benefits plan – are no longer sacred” due to advancements in digital technology. “Customers can get their drug card online or from GroupNet mobile, Canada Life's benefits app that allows members to make claims, check coverage balances, and even has a mobile-friendly version of the card that can be added to a device's electronic wallet,” points out the company.

Weiss adds that it's not the physical card but the identification number that gives customers access to the benefits plan.

"Most providers like dental offices and pharmacies keep a digital record of a client's insurance information. The plastic card, in most instances, is for one-time use – just like a plastic straw or water bottle," he says. 

Canada Life says that in 2020 it will look to further reducing its environmental footprint. “Printed plan member benefits booklets are next in line for the recycle bin, says Weiss. "In this day and age, a searchable, digital format is easier for members to get the information they need, when and where they need it."

Related topics …