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The Impact of Chronic Illness/Disease/Pain on benefits

Year over year, as the workforce changes with age, economic trends, and health issues, benefits too must transform to match the dynamic evolution of the corporate structure, forming a significant part of the overall compensation of employees. These changes are monitored through survey and information-gathering panels to keep employers and practitioners informed.

The release of the 2019 SANOFI report illustrates some staggering discrepancies between employer and employee expectations when it comes to benefits. For instance, is the average employer aware of just how many prescriptions are filled each year by their employees? How about family members?

It may come as a surprised to hear that an average Albertan uses more than $7,000 dollars worth of drugs each year.

Employees, by contrast, inherently seem to know this and according to the latest SANOFI report, although physical fitness and financial well-being occupy employees minds for future improvement; mental health, chronic pain, combined with on-going coping with a chronic illness are the reality they face daily. As a result of this daily reality, the report notes that mental illness is a leading cause of disability, increasing costs per claims within all lines of benefits, but primarily in hearth and pharmacy.

Despite the vast amount of information available, only 51% of employers have any mental health training in place for managers. This could be due in part to the fact that many employers deny having anyone on staff having or coping with chronic conditions.

The top five chronic disease/conditions include:

  • mental illness,
  • hypertension,
  • high cholesterol,
  • arthritis
  • diabetes

Understanding the impact to claims on a benefit program will assist in shedding a light of awareness of the multitude of chronic disease/illness and dealing with chronic pain associated with the loss of productivity for the worker, absenteeism, and the overall cost of benefits plan.

This becomes vital when, as the SANOFI report suggests, that for every dollar paid in pharmacy premium, $0.65 is dedicated to the impact of chronic disease.

*Private Drug Plan Cost forecast (2018-2020) innovative Medicines Canada, by IQVIA Solutions Canada


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