Chronic Health Conditions Revealed As Chronically Underestimated by Employers.

From some of the smallest businesses all the way to the largest corporations employer-sponsored healthcare benefit plans are legally required. How are those businesses doing in terms of what they offer and how do their employees view the quality of the plans being offered?

If you are a business owner, do you know how your employees rate the healthcare plan you offer? Do they consider it top-notch? If not, what could you do to make it better?

For nearly two decades, Sanofi Canada has conducted an annual survey to discover how satisfied Canadian employees are with their employer-sponsored health plans. In addition, the survey gets to hear from the employers offering the plans. Many people anticipate the results of the survey, particularly insurers, benefits advisors and plan administrators. The survey helps with valuable information that can be used to make adjustments to healthcare plans based on market trends.

This year’s survey included participation by 1,500 plan members and 500 plan sponsors. For the benefit of the businesses large and small that provide healthcare benefits, the highlights of the survey, which were released in June follow.

As a provider of group health plans, Desjardin Financial Security is keenly interested in helping our clients get the best coverage possible and stay on top of the trends and information that can help them help their employees. And, as one of the main sponsors of the survey, our sister organization, Desjardins Insurance[1] is proud to partner with Sanofi, a major player whose industry-recognized surveys help employers develop effective health benefit plans.

The issue of chronic illness

 According to the survey, one of the most important points that came to light this year is that employers underestimate how much of their workforce suffers from chronic health conditions. Employers estimate that 26% of their employees have a chronic condition, whereas in reality, 56% of plan members have received this kind of diagnosis. This proportion is as high as 78% for those 55 and over. Since employers are unaware of just how prevalent chronic conditions are among their workforce, they tend to underestimate the long-term repercussions on their business, both in terms of productivity and in terms of the cost of claims.

Based on the survey results, it’s important to make plans more flexible so they can adapt to demographic changes and the rise in chronic health conditions.

The objectives of group plans need to be more clearly defined

 Additionally, the survey revealed that plan members and sponsors are now willing to change the way they see their health benefit plans. And plan sponsors really want to understand the impact the various benefits have on their employees’ health and productivity. However, it is clear that much work remains to be done in order to design plans that reflect an approach that supports health management as an organizational strategy, instead of a traditional compensation-based mode.


[1] Desjardins Insurance refers to Desjardins Financial Security Life Assurance Company, a provider of life and health insurance and retirement savings products.