“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Benjamin Franklin’s words of almost 300 years ago still ring true.
In the 2016 Sanofi Canada Healthcare Survey, it was found that 83% of employers were interested in finding ways to reduce healthcare costs – more than half of them would prefer to try and prevent future healthcare claims from ever happening. The ballooning costs of healthcare (and prescription drugs in particular) are a likely driver behind this attitude. The advantages to prevention of claims are evident, both for the employees and for the company.
From the company’s perspective, healthy and happy employees are more productive and have lower absenteeism rates than employees who have poor health habits and who are dissatisfied with their jobs. It has been estimated that the cost of absenteeism to businesses in Canada was around $16 billion last year. Even a small improvement can have an impact on a company.
From the employees’ perspective, healthy lifestyles are known to strengthen immune systems and have a positive impact on mental health. Healthy employees spend less time being sick. Consequently, these employees will tend to use fewer services, leading to lower healthcare costs for them, and the company.
Benefit Facts presents information to help you manage your employee benefits. Brought to you by your Chambers of Commerce Group Insurance Plan® advisor, representing Canada’s premier group plan for small and medium sized business.
One example where there are clear benefits to preventive action is chronic disease. Chronic diseases require treatments that often include expensive drug therapies. But many chronic diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease, are directly influenced by lifestyle factors such as diet and exercise. People with these types of chronic conditions who successfully maintain lower weight and are physically active often reduce their use of prescription drugs or may even stop using them altogether.
Offering wellness programs can be another successful option in supporting physical and mental health. Employee assistance programs (EAPs), like the Arete® program available through the Chambers of Commerce Group Insurance Plan, can offer resources to support members in healthy choices and dealing with personal stresses. In addition, Chambers Plan employees have an online tool, my-benefits health®, which members can access for up-to- date resources and tools, empowering them to make more knowledgeable decisions about their family’s healthcare.
Rather than finding less expensive ways to provide a pound of cure for preventable diseases, an ounce of prevention (in the form of promoting and supporting healthy lifestyle choices) is a proactive solution. Focusing on strategies to avoid future healthcare issues from arising can result in greater savings related to healthcare costs and absenteeism.