Employees expect employer guidance through public-private healthcare maze

Plan sponsors and plan members have become remarkably open to the notion of the workplace supporting personal health, according to the 16th annual Sanofi Canada Healthcare Survey.

Yet gaps between perceptions and reality point to the need for more groundwork, ideally in collaboration with carriers and government.

“The alignment in results in this year’s survey between the interests of employees and employers regarding health support in the workplace is an ‘aha moment.’ We can’t ignore it,” noted Marilee Mark, vice-president of market development, group benefits, with Sun Life Financial, during her presentation in Toronto on Tuesday.

Above: Marilee Mark presents at the Toronto event; photo by Eric Forget

As well, the results point to the need and opportunity to “collaborate more effectively, particularly with government, to share information and resources that are already available.”

This year’s report pays particular attention to the need for improved integration between employees, private plan providers and government. Following are some of the results:

  • 69% of plan members and 91% of plan sponsors agree that the workplace should take on greater responsibility to help prevent disease and injury;
  • almost two-thirds (64%) of plan sponsors say they offer at least one wellness program, up from 47% in 2012; however, only 32% of plan members say the same of their employers, down from 40% in 2012;
  • 87% of plan sponsors agree that insurers should play a larger role in supporting employers’ workplace health initiatives; and
  • among members with a personal or family diagnosis of chronic disease or injury, 36% expressed the need for better co-ordination of coverage and services between the public healthcare system and their private plan.

Above: John McGrath presents at the event in Vancouver; photo by Katie Huisman

The Toronto event was one of three to promote the launch of the survey. John McGrath, senior account executive with Great-West Life, and Pierre Marion, senior director of sales and business relations with Medavie Blue Cross, presided over events in Vancouver and Montreal, respectively. All three presenters also serve as advisory board members for the survey.

Copies of the report were distributed with the June issues of Benefits Canada and Avantages. More results from the survey can be found on Sanofi’s website.

Above: Pierre Marion presents at the Montreal event; photo by James Wagner

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