Evolving group benefits solution

As the cost of chronic disease care shoots up in Canada, one of the country’s leading insurers has developed a first-of-its-kind solution

In order to combat the effects chronic disease is having on group benefits plans, Medavie Blue Cross is introducing a first-of-its-kind chronic disease management for diabetes as an extended health care benefit in group and individual health plans.
“We think that this is an important way to evolve benefit plans: to look broader and to truly address the underlying health status of our population and identify solutions for that,” said Anne Nicoll, Vice President Health and Disability Management, Medavie Blue Cross.
Treatment of chronic disease consumes 67% of all direct health care expenditures, and costs the Canadian economy $190 billion annually.
“It’s a pretty big impact and very, very important in our view for plan sponsors and their advisors to take a much closer and holistic look at how to support employees who are at work and trying to manage their chronic illnesses,” says Nicoll.
There is also a huge effect on productivity as 56% of employees are coping with chronic disease, meaning workplaces see lost productivity and increased health care costs.
“Advisors have such a key role here,” says Nicoll. “To support their clients to better understand the impact of chronic disease on their client’s workforce: to help them with the analytics, to review the data and identify targeted areas that interventions might help, like additional support programs. They can also support their plan sponsors by helping them identify the best way to engage their employees in accessing the services.”
The expanded benefit to managing chronic disease gives plan members access to targeted health services delivered by a network of specialized healthcare professionals which now includes a Certified Diabetes Educator and, will in the future include additional diabetes healthcare providers.
“Our overall goal is to help support the continuing viability of our health care system,” says Nicoll. “We really believe that by empowering the individual to learn how to manage their own condition it gives them a better way to dialogue with their doctors and other care providers involved in their care.”