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Managing Chronic Disease benefit expanded

Heart Health & Quit Smoking: better health outcomes and lower drug costs

We've expanded our Managing Chronic Disease extended health benefit! Coverage for Heart Health and Quit Smoking services will join offerings already available to plan members and their family members living with diabetes, asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

In 2015, Medavie Blue Cross became the first benefit provider in Canada to offer chronic disease management as an extended health care benefit in group and individual plans with the introduction of its Lung Health and Diabetes Care services. These include ongoing education, treatment planning, motivation and support, intervention services, symptom management, medication adherence and compliance, which can be accessed in person or by phone.

Heart disease and stroke cost the Canadian economy more than $20.9 billion every year in physician services, hospital costs, lost wages and decreased productivity.

Glen Chenard, a registered nurse and internationally-certified expert in health behaviour change at Saint Elizabeth, has seen the power of a “coach approach” in helping people make healthier choices and stick with them over time.

“As Canadians, we know the importance of a healthy lifestyle but taking action and living it day to day can be tough,” says Chenard, who helps deliver the Managing Chronic Disease services through a national virtual health coaching program. “Research shows ongoing education and support is key to helping patients succeed over time.”

Some facts

  • More than half of plan members (57%) have at least one chronic disease or condition.1
  • Nine in 10 Canadians over the age of 20 have at least one risk factor for heart disease. Four in 10 have three or more risk factors. 2
  • Hypertension is the number one reason for taking medication; over 4 million antihypertensive medication prescriptions are written every month; 46% of women and 38% of men aged 60 or over are on drug therapy.3
  • 8% of Medavie Blue Cross’ drug spend is on Cardiac-related drugs and another 3-4% on cholesterol lowering drugs.
  • Up to 80% of premature heart disease and stroke is preventable by adopting healthy behaviours. 4
  • Near 65% of plan members agree that if available through the health benefit plan, they would meet with a healthcare coach to help them manage their health condition(s).1