The 2016 edition of The Sanofi Canada Healthcare Survey, Canada’spremier survey on health benefit plans, captures how employees and employers with health benefit plans rate their benefits, workplace wellness programs and elements of workplace culture that influence health and well-being. It also urges for the revamping of plans to provide more options and flexibility for employees, while also motivating greater personal responsibility for managing health.
“Through The Sanofi Canada Healthcare Survey, we seek to help employers with benefit plans and their benefit providers make important connections between health benefits, wellness and chronic disease management,” says Franca Mancino, Head of Market Access, Sanofi Canada. “These links are necessary so that benefit plans can be most effective and sustainable. The benefits of good health go beyond reducing costs. We know that healthy individuals are more satisfied in their personal lives and more productive in the workplace. Supporting health in the workplace just makes good business sense.”
The Sanofi Canada Healthcare Survey reports that plan sponsors (employers with health benefits plans) may be underestimating the impact of chronic disease in the workplace, and how the workplace can negatively affect employees’ ability to manage their conditions. Similar to last year’s report, the survey reveals that it is all the more important for employers to understand the data around chronic disease to ensure the health and productivity of their employees.
- Plan sponsors estimate that just 32% of their employees have a chronic condition.
- Meanwhile, 59% of employees report having at least one chronic disease or condition, climbing to 79% among those aged 55 to 64.
- The three most common conditions are high blood pressure (21%), high cholesterol (19%) and mental illness (such as depression, 19%).
- 70% of plan sponsors would like to have a better understanding of the burden of chronic disease in their workplace.
- 38% of employees with chronic diseases indicate that their condition has caused them to miss work or made it harder to do their jobs. On the flip side, 33% also report that the work environment negatively affects their ability to manage their condition.
- 84% of employees with chronic conditions would like to know more about their conditions and how to treat them, and 64% would meet with a healthcare coach for help if this were part of their health benefit plan.
“The time has come to review the way we approach the benefit plan so it better supports the high number of people with chronic disease,” urges Pierre Marion, member of The Sanofi Canada Healthcare SurveyAdvisory Board and Market leader at Medavie Blue Cross. “Sixty-four percent of plan members with chronic disease say they want more support, yet that kind of support is not covered.”
It can take months or even years to change behaviours that are an important part of treatment for chronic disease, such as losing weight. While employees are ultimately responsible for their own health, research shows that people are more successful when they are not alone—for instance by taking advantage of healthcare coaching sessions, or support groups. “Medical evidence and claims data confirm that personal knowledge does not always translate into action when it comes to chronic disease management. When additional resources and supports are in place, people can do much better,” says Loretta Kulchycki, member of the Advisory Board and Vice-President of Group Marketing at Great-West Life.