Employers worry about the impact of chronic disease on their workforce

By The IJ Staff | June 13 2018 11:30AM

Seventy-seven per cent of plan sponsors say they are concerned about the impact of unmanaged chronic disease on the productivity of their workforce, found the 21st edition of The Sanofi Canada Healthcare Survey released June 13.

The survey of Canadian employees with workplace health benefit plans (plan members) and employers (plan sponsors) also reveals that while 58 per cent of plan members report having at least one chronic disease or condition, plan sponsors underestimate the proportion of their workforce with a chronic condition (29 per cent).

Targeted communications

Both employers and employees expressed interest in benefit offerings in the area of chronic disease management, says the Sanofi study which found that 66 per cent of plan members say they would consent to their benefit carriers analyzing their personal claims data in order to generate personal, targeted communications. Sixty-four per cent of plan sponsors would be interested in such a service.

The study also revealed that 47 per cent of employees with chronic conditions have missed work or have found it harder to do their jobs as a result of their disease. Seventy-two per cent of those with a mental health condition, such as depression or anxiety, missed work or found it more difficult to do their jobs.

Would like to know more about treatments

Sanofi’s survey also found that 84 per cent of plan members with a chronic disease would like to know more about their condition and how to treat it, while 79 per cent of plan sponsors would like their health benefit plan to do more to support plan members with chronic disease.

“Plan members are most interested in receiving targeted information about their medications (52 per cent), recommended local healthcare professionals or experts (51 per cent) and how to manage their conditions (47 per cent),” says Sanofi.

Mixed support for medical cannabis coverage

The Sanofi study also questioned respondents on their opinions regarding medical cannabis. The survey found that 64 per cent of plan members agree that medical cannabis (medical marijuana), when authorized by a physician, should be covered by their health benefit plan.

However, only 34 per cent of plan sponsors said they would like their plan to cover medical cannabis (including 8 per cent who say it already does). Thirty-four per cent said they do not want it covered and 32 per cent responded that they do not know or are unsure.

To learn more, consult the full report on Sanofi’s website.