The 2016 Sanofi Canada Healthcare Survey

Wednesday, June 28, 2016

Interview with Nathalie Laporte

The results of the latest Sanofi Canada Healthcare Survey were presented on June 15 in Montreal during the pan-Canadian roadshow sponsored in part by Desjardins Insurance. Once again this year, Nathalie Laporte, Director of Group and Business Insurance Product Development, Marketing and Strategy, sat on the advisory board. Here’s a look at the long-awaited results.

Chronic diseases still make the news

Like last year, the survey shows that employers underestimate the proportion of their workforce that suffers from chronic health conditions. Actually, 59% of plan members who responded suffer from a diagnosed chronic disease, a number which employers estimate at 32%.

The good news is that employees who suffer from a chronic illness want to improve their health: 64% would like more personalized support and 84% would like to learn more about their health condition and how to treat it.

“People are ready to make an effort,” says Nathalie Laporte. “We have to implement solutions such as health coaching, or training sessions, in which healthcare professionals can give consultations, conduct screenings and talk about diseases and treatments. We have to give our plan sponsors the tools they need to implement these preventive solutions.”

Stress: the silent illness

It should come as no surprise that stress and lack of exercise are still two major health challenges. What’s surprising is that 40% of plan members indicated that their work environment has a negative influence on their ability to manage their stress—that’s a lot!

“Stress was an issue 30 years ago and we still haven’t figured out how to resolve it,” said Ms. Laporte. “There are practical, cost-effective solutions out there: flexible working conditions and other HR polices that can make a big difference.” While stress is a concern for employers, 40% of them remain neutral about the issue. We need everyone onboard to trigger real change.

Plan models to iron out

The advisory board believes that group plans no longer meet current needs and they haven’t been adapted to address the reality of today’s workforce. In fact, traditional plans, which were designed many years ago, don’t take into account the way the population has evolved. At the moment, employee benefits are reactive; they kick in after an illness. We have to reverse this tendency and ensure that employee benefits help prevent health issues and related claims.

The timing is right: the survey shows that 43% of employers would rather invest in prevention than in reducing the number of insurance claims (18%). “Our clients are aware that they’re sitting on a time bomb and that, if they don’t take action, the number of claims will go up,” says Ms. Laporte.

The advisory board believes we must reinvent our group plans and, more importantly, stop treating wellness and healthcare as two separate things. It recommends that we develop an integrated health management plan based on the principle of personal responsibility.

What about cost control measures?

“Businesses don’t quite understand how cost control measures work,” says Ms. Laporte. “Only 40% of the plan sponsors surveyed understand what generic substitution, deductibles and co-insurance are, even though these measures have been in place for years. It shows that there is still some work to be done to educate people about these measures. If the plan sponsors know more about what’s out there for them, they will be more likely to make better decisions and promote these measures to their employees.”

So, it looks like the stars are aligned. We have more information on health issues and new tools and technologies to help us manage them. And, according to the survey, plan members and plan sponsors are ready for us to start doing things differently.

Overall, the 2016 Sanofi Canada Healthcare Survey shows some interesting results and carefully thought out solutions.

To find out more, download the highlights External link. Opens in a new window. of the study, or go to sanofi.ca External link. Opens in a new window..

Major sponsor Desjardins Insurance is proud to partner with Sanofi, a leading player in the healthcare sector whose healthcare surveys are recognized across the industry, contributing to the design of effective healthcare programs.