A reassessment of plan members’ needs, benefits for chronic disease management and the importance of plan sponsors establishing objectives were among the key themes put forward in the 2018 Sanofi Canada Healthcare Survey Report. The full report, as well as a presentation and infographic, are all available at www.sanofi.ca.
Fifty-eight percent of surveyed Canadian plan members described the quality of their health benefit plan as excellent or very good, up from 48% a year ago and reminiscent of results from a decade ago. Members with health spending accounts (73%), workplace wellness programs (72%), and personal feelings of job satisfaction (66%) were most likely to be positive about their health benefit plans.
However, just 48% of plan members in poor health awarded top scores, a finding that’s been consistent year after year. This trend led members of the survey’s advisory board to suggest a reassessment of health benefit plans from the perspective of those in greatest need. “People in poor health continue to be least satisfied with the value of their plan. They actually need the plan most, but we may be losing sight of their experiences because they’re lost in the majority of people who are relatively healthy,” noted advisory board member Chris Bonnett, principal, H3 Consulting.
Year after year, survey results also highlight the gap in plan sponsors’ awareness of chronic disease. This year sponsors estimated that 29% of their workforce has a chronic disease or condition, while in reality 58% of plan members reported being told by a doctor they have a condition. The presence of chronic disease increased to 67% among plan members aged 55 to 64.
This year’s survey also suggests that the impact of chronic conditions in the workplace needs to be addressed. Almost half of plan members with a chronic condition (47%) report that they have had to miss work and/or found it harder to do their job due to their condition, up from 38% in 2016. This climbs to a compelling 72% among those with a mental illness.
Four out of five (84%) plan members with a chronic disease would like to know more about their condition and how to treat it, a result unchanged from 2016. Four out of five plan sponsors (79%) would also like their health benefit plan to do more to support plan members who have chronic diseases, and 77% are concerned about the impact of unmanaged chronic disease on productivity.
Plan sponsors with specific objectives for their benefit plans are clearly more engaged, more satisfied and more motivated to support health than those without objectives. They are more likely to:
- describe the quality of their plan as excellent or very good (69% versus 46% among those without objectives);
- believe the plan contributes to a productive workforce (69% versus 39%);
- receive claims data analyses on the top disease states (68% versus 44%);
- want their plan to do more to support chronic disease management (89% versus 66%) and
- plan on investing more in health education/wellness in the next year (68% versus 30%).
The report touches on numerous additional topics, such as plan members’ perceptions of value and their estimates of drug plan costs, members’ efforts to track health and their experiences with high levels of stress, plan sponsors’ major concerns and trends in workplace wellness programs. This year’s report also includes the advisory board’s “Top 10 Calls to Action” for plan sponsors and their benefit providers.