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

Medavie Blue Cross today announced the expansion of its 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).

“This expansion reaffirms our commitment to work with our many partners to provide easier access to quality care, improve patient health outcomes and ensure the sustainability of benefit plans,” says Anne Nicoll, Vice-President, Business Development at Medavie Blue Cross.

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.

The benefit was designed to remove potential barriers to self-care. “Through the Managing Chronic Disease extended health benefit, people living with a chronic illness now have access to a number of services provided by accredited health professionals to help them take charge of their treatment plan and improve their quality of life,” says Nicoll.

Delivery of the benefit is a true team effort that has the support of the Ontario Pharmacists Association. “The Medavie Blue Cross Managing Chronic Disease Program is an excellent example of an innovative, collaborative solution to Canada’s chronic disease challenge,” says Allan Malek, Senior Vice President of Professional Affairs. “By taking a holistic approach to managing chronic diseases, the benefit encourages healthcare stakeholders to join forces and resources in order to empower patients to take charge of their treatment plan. This benefit recognizes that managing chronic disease is a shared responsibility between stakeholders, and something which will become increasingly more important as drug costs continue to climb and chronic diseases become more prevalent.”

Anne Nicoll agrees. “By seeking supports from specialized health professionals and adopting healthy behaviours, individuals can manage their disease as well as delay the onset of heart disease or stroke.”

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
  • 38% of plan members with chronic conditions agree that their illness has caused them to miss work or made it harder to do their jobs. 5
  • 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

About Medavie Blue Cross
Medavie Blue Cross is a premier all-in-one carrier that provides health, dental, travel, life and disability benefits to plan members nation-wide. The organization also administers government-sponsored health programs across Canada. Medavie Blue Cross and Medavie Health Services, the largest private provider of Emergency Medical Services in Canada, are subsidiaries of Medavie. As a not-for-profit organization, Medavie Blue Cross is proud to commit an annual social dividend to the Medavie Health Foundation to promote healthier communities.

Media Contact
Geneviève Cyrenne
Team Leader and Senior Communications Advisor
514-286-7641, 514-248-1625
genevieve.cyrenne@medavie.croixbleue.ca

Sources
1 2017 Sanofi Canada Healthcare Survey
http://www.sanofi.ca/l/ca/en/layout.jsp?cnt=65B67ABD-BEF6-487B-8FC1-5D06FF8568ED
2 Government of Canada
http://healthycanadians.gc.ca/diseases-conditions-maladies-affections/disease-maladie/heart-disease-eng.php
3 Public Health Agency of Canada – Hypertension Facts and Figures
http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/cd-mc/cvd-mcv/hypertension_figures-eng.php
4 Heart and Stroke Foundation 
https://www.heartandstroke.ca/heart/risk-and-prevention
5 2016 Sanofi Canada Healthcare Survey
http://www.sanofi.ca/l/ca/en/layout.jsp?cnt=65B67ABD-BEF6-487B-8FC1-5D06FF8568ED