The Health of Canada’s Working Population

Posted on September 13, 2016

It’s estimated that Canadian employers provide health and dental benefits insurance to 24 million Canadian workers and their families. This represents a significant investment from the employer’s perspective. As costs continue to rise, employers are being challenged to maintain these valuable programs which contribute greatly to the health and overall productivity of their employees who rely on these benefits to keep them at work.

Coverage of prescription medication is a key component of these benefits packages. In recent years, the use of newer more effective specialty medications has been credited with delaying the progression of disease and reducing the likelihood of an employee transitioning to long-term disability. The question recently has been, is it worth the cost? For the first time, a new report from the Conference Board of Canada sheds some light on the costs and benefits associated with specialty medications from an employer perspective.

Interestingly the report found that… “plan-sponsoring employers can expect tangible workplace-related benefits from providing specialty medications to employees and their dependents. Those benefits extend over and above the clear benefits to the patients and their families to the economy and to other sectors of the health care system which are not paid for by employer-sponsored health benefits. Treatment with specialty medications has been shown to reduce short-term absenteeism and presenteeism.”

These findings provide new evidence that investing in employee health – specifically specialty medications, provides real benefits which extend beyond the workplace. Read the full report.

Joe Farago is Executive Director, Healthcare Innovation at Innovative Medicines Canada.

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