Change. This was the theme of this year’s Sanofi Canada Healthcare Survey – a health benefits resource that has been a staple in our industry for the last 20 years. In my opinion, this theme perfectly captures the current state. Change is definitely in the air, and what’s becoming more and more apparent is that when it comes to health benefits, the change is being driven by the consumer. It’s time.
Simply put, consumers want a greater focus on health in their health benefits plan, and this doesn’t have to come at a tremendous expense to employers. We know employees are looking for support to better understand and manage their overall health, including building their own level of awareness and education, and managing chronic health conditions.
Some of the most compelling proof points from this year’s survey focused on this aspect, that change starts with understanding health status and knowing where you stand on the health continuum today. It is clear that access to this type of support in the workplace is highly valued. The Sanofi Canada Healthcare Survey found a clear majority of members would participate in screenings for diabetes (71%), heart disease (80%) and cancer (83%).
A good number of respondents also indicated they are taking steps to become more educated on how to proactively manage their health. In fact, 70% of said they would consent to receiving targeted health information, which is up from 58% last year. This is a huge opportunity for insurance providers and employers to leverage the wealth of resources available to help get the right health information into the hands of the right person, at the right time – so people can make better decisions for their personal health and well being.
Lastly, year after year, organizations underestimate the presence, and therefore the impact of chronic disease in the workplace. Businesses estimate that 32% of employees live with a chronic condition. In reality the number is 57%. Touching on the findings above, these same employees would greatly benefit from personalized, targeted, chronic disease management.
A large proportion of respondents (73%) said they are interested in pharmacist coaching to learn more about medication compliance & treatment plans. Taking this further, this group (76%) also indicated they are interested in pharmacogenomic testing, which uses DNA samples from cheek swabs to accurately determine the body’s response to certain medications.
What’s clear is that consumers are ready for their employer and their health plan providers to offer more. More information, more flexibility, more proactive services to manage and maintain their health. It’s time.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Sanofi Canada Healthcare Survey – a tremendous achievement. Congratulations to Danny Peak & the Sanofi team, Benefits Canada, and the many industry leaders and friends who have contributed to this industry staple over the years. It was an honour to be part of the advisory board with you for so many years & I look forward to many more insightful publications in the years to come! Well done.