Employers underestimating prevalence of chronic conditions among workers: Report

Many employees keen on targeted communications
|hrreporter.com|Last Updated: 06/13/2018
health, wellness
Eighty-four percent of plan members with a chronic disease would like to know more about their condition and how to treat it. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

When it come to chronic conditions, there’s a disconnect between employees and employers, according to the latest Sanofi Canada Healthcare Survey.

While 58 of plan members say they have at least one chronic disease or condition, employers estimate 29 per cent of their workforce has this problem.

However, three-quarters (77 per cent) of plan sponsors are concerned about the impact of unmanaged chronic disease on the productivity of their workforce, found the survey of 1,503 primary holders of group health benefit plans and 502 health benefit plan sponsors.

Almost half (47 per cent) of employees with chronic conditions said they have missed work or found it harder to do their jobs as a result; this climbs to 72 per cent among those with a mental health condition such as depression or anxiety, found Sanofi.

Targeted communication

Eighty-four percent of plan members with a chronic disease would like to know more about their condition and how to treat it, while 79 per cent of plan sponsors would like their health benefit plan to do more to support plan members with chronic diseases.

Two-thirds (66 per cent) of plan members said they would consent to their benefit carriers analyzing their personal claims data in order to generate personal, targeted communications. A similar proportion of (64 per cent) of plan sponsors are interested in such a service.

Plan members are most interested in receiving targeted information about their medications (52 per cent), recommended local health-care professionals or experts (51 per cent) and how to manage their conditions (47 per cent).

"Data privacy is still a concern for some plan members, but many of them also have begun to see the value of appropriate targeted communications,” said Barb Martinez, practice leader for benefits solutions in group benefits at Great-West Life.

“Five years ago, when we talked to clients about targeting members with personal health information, the answer was a flat-out 'No'. That's changing, and insurers are ramping up the technology to make targeted communications a part of chronic disease management support."

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