Employers need more flexible benefits plans: “Survey Says”

MC&A June 2016 Newsletter - Employers need more flexible benefits plans: "Survey Says"

Employers need more flexible benefits plans: “Survey Says”

Employers need more flexible benefits plans: “Survey Says”

Benefits plans need to provide more options and flexibility for employees, while also motivating greater personal responsibility for managing health, finds the 2016 edition of The Sanofi Canada Healthcare Survey.

The survey reports that 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.

The findings:

  • Plan sponsors estimate that just 32% of their employees have a chronic condition.
  • Meanwhile, 59% of employee’s 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 Survey Advisory 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.”

Plan members with access to health and wellness programs at work are far more likely to be satisfied with their current jobs (80%) than those without such programs (66%).

Dissatisfied employees who also have chronic diseases are much more likely to report that their illnesses have caused them to miss work or be less productive (52%, versus 36% among satisfied employees). And dissatisfied employees are more than twice as likely to report that the work environment negatively affects their ability to manage their condition (63% versus 26%).

Forty per cent of plan members report that their work environment has a negative impact on stress management, jumping to 68% among those who are dissatisfied with their jobs.

And 67% of employees overall report their workloads are reasonable and 66% say their supervisors support them in getting their work done—results which fall below the recommended level of 85% for psychological health and safety in the workplace.

excerpts provided by: smallbizAdvisor – June 2016

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