How Employers Can Help Tackle the Chronic Disease Epidemic
Posted by Medavie Blue Cross on February 21, 2023
Chronic conditions like diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure and cholesterol continue to be the biggest driver of health benefit plan spending. The 2022 Benefits Canada Healthcare Survey once again revealed the high prevalence of chronic disease in Canadian workplaces and the wide gap between employers’ perceptions of the problem and the reality.
About three out of five (58%) plan members reported being diagnosed with at least one chronic disease or condition. The number one diagnosed chronic condition reported was mental health conditions, such as depression or anxiety (22% in 2022), and 22% of plan members take three or more medications. Yet, plan sponsors underestimate the percentage of the working population with a long-term illness at 35%.* In short, chronic disease has reached epidemic levels in the workplace — but employers don’t realize it. These findings — consistent with those of previous years — are concerning because it means employees may not be getting the support they need to prevent or manage their chronic condition effectively. Consequently, workplace productivity is negatively impacted, and drug adherence is poor. Much of the direct cost burden falls on the shoulders of employers, and that doesn’t include the indirect costs of presenteeism and absenteeism.
These findings — consistent with those of previous years — are concerning because it means employees may not be getting the support they need to prevent or manage their chronic condition effectively. Consequently, workplace productivity is negatively impacted, and drug adherence is poor. Much of the direct cost burden falls on the shoulders of employers, and that doesn’t include the indirect costs of presenteeism and absenteeism.
Employers can rein in chronic disease and bring costs under control by following these steps to help their employees prevent and manage their conditions.
Mobile apps are another high return on low investment that can help employees lower risk factors and take their drugs as described. Our data shows that 12 months after diagnosis, only 72% of claimants with diabetes are drug adherent. Our mobile app has built-in functionality to help those claimants manage their medication.
*Our claims data mirrors the Benefits Canada Health Care Survey results.
We’ve proactively responded to our data insights and trends analysis to become a leader in Canada’s health insurance industry in helping employers and their employees address this costly health challenge.
**Medavie Blue Cross was the first Canadian carrier to market with a digital Diabetes Care Program, which empowers plan members to take charge of their condition with all-in-one, exclusive access to real-time support from a team of health coaches and home delivery of testing supplies.
Our organization was the first in Canada to introduce the Managing Chronic Disease benefit, which connects plan members with Certified Diabetes Educators (CDEs) in their communities to gain the knowledge and confidence they need to self-manage their condition. We were also among the first Canadian insurers to add Glucose Monitoring Systems (GMS) as a standard on benefit plans.
*** Our Connected Care digital health storefront offers a comprehensive suite of services, including live and internet-enabled Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (digital therapy), text therapy, personalized medicine (pharmacogenetic testing), online doctors (virtual doctor visits, virtual physio (online rehabilitation), a mindfulness app for training programs and guided meditations and our Diabetes Care Program.
For more information on these programs, visit medaviebc.ca and speak to your account representative.
Keep exploring our tips and perspectives on trending health insurance and health care topics by returning to our Insights blog. Here you can click to view our recorded webinars like this Insights webinar on our drug management solutions, which demonstrates how we are helping employers contain costs while protecting the health of their employees.