So what are the takeaways from this year?
- Expectations are changing
- Plan Sponsors often do not understand how plan controls work
- Chronic disease impacts 59% of plan members
- I was surprised to hear that many plan designs in Canada have not been changed in the last decade. The result; many members find that plans are not meeting their needs. In fact, the result was an all time low. The key shortfalls are in dental and vision. The suggestion was that Health Spending Accounts could fill in the perceived gaps.
- Plan controls such as co-pays, mandatory generic and case management have a place in many plans. But less than 50% of Plan Sponsors understood the tools available to help manage their plan and expenses. Plans have increased in cost and cost continues to be a major focus of concern. There is an opportunity to better educate plan sponsors on available tools and how they can impact their bottom line.
- Chronic diseases such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol are negatively impacted by lack of adherence to prescribed medication. Given the high proportion of members who have been diagnosed with a chronic disease (and often more than one condition), there is an opportunity for healthier outcomes with increased adherence. That could help to control the long term costs of the plan.
Plan Sponsors are not just concerned with the cost of the plan. In fact, they are willing to invest to get healthier employee outcomes. Before the outcomes can be assessed, it is important to understand the objectives of the plan. Then, results can be measured against those objectives.
This may sound vague and “wordy”, but in the face of increasing employer and employee costs for the Canada Pension Plan and diverging expectations for benefit Plan Members, it is even more important that a health benefits plans deliver value to the Plan Sponsor and the Plan Members!
For an electronic copy of the survey, visit Sanofi.ca.
*the 2016 Sanofi Survey is based on a Canadian national sample of 1,500 members of various group benefit plans