Innovation and technology are changing the way healthcare is delivered. People have more options than ever to manage their health and wellbeing, and employers are wondering what they need to do to keep their plan relevant. This blog post looks at emerging trends that will shape benefit plans now—and in years to come.
Time (or lack thereof) is often cited as a reason for not seeing a doctor or refilling prescriptions. Telehealth nips that problem in the bud by providing access to health care professionals on-demand via mobile device.
Looking beyond the obvious convenience factor, telehealth results in less time spent at the doctor’s office and—more importantly, fewer people sacrificing their health.
The success and popularity of telehealth has led to providers expanding their lists of specialists. It’s now possible to meet with an oncologist while sitting in your living room or have a physiotherapist walk you through a series of recorded exercises with apps such as maple and EQ Virtual.
Prescription Drug Management
Prescription drugs account for the largest proportion of most plans' overall usage. Despite this, a lot of employees report having difficulty managing their medications. Finding the right drug and staying on top of prescription refills are common challenges for people with chronic conditions.
Taking an active role in managing your plan’s drug spend is an important part of ensuring its long-term sustainability. A couple ways of doing this are:
- Pharmacogenetics: A personalized approach to determining how a person’s genetics will respond to different types of drug therapies. Instead of the traditional trial-and-error method of cycling through medications, pharmacogenetic testing identifies the medication best suited for the individual. Knowing a body’s response to medications helps to tailor health care to an individual’s
needs. This in turn leads to increased efficacy, decreased adverse reactions, and reductions in drug
- Prescription Drug Delivery Services: Third-party providers are partnering with insurers to provide efficient delivery services and prescription drug management. Drug delivery services like Express Scripts Canada Pharmacy secure low-cost pricing on maintenance drugs, reduce dispensing fees by refilling prescriptions in larger quantities, and provide private 24-hour access to pharmacists who’ll help create safe treatment plans. All with the convenience of having prescriptions delivered to a preferred location.
While they aren’t an emerging trend, the wellness strategies that employers use to improve the health and wellbeing of their team members are certainly becoming more creative.
At its core, a workplace wellness program positively impacts the physical, emotional, and financial health of its people. We’ve covered this topic extensively over the past year, and here are some of our favourites:
- Promoting healthy eating at work
- How to build a more social workplace
- Revisiting vacation policies
- Get unplugged and go outside
- 5 ways to reduce commuter stress and boost productivity
- Building better sleeping habits
Mindful that participation is key to any wellness strategy, the gamification of wellness programs has become a growing trend that motivates and engages employees. Employers run weekly or monthly wellness campaigns challenging their people to perform specific tasks. Whoever’s most successful wins a gift card or an extra vacation day!
Building a plan that appeals to a diverse workforce can be challenging, but it’s vitally important to maintaining job satisfaction and employee engagement. Here are a couple ways we’ve seen flexibility introduced to benefits in the workplace:
- Flex Benefit Plans: Employees are provided with a budget to design their coverage, allowing them to choose which benefits they want emphasized. Instead of a one-size-fits-all benefit offering, employers are choosing to empower their people with the ability to pick what makes sense for them.
- Lifestyle Spending Accounts: The account provides employees with a pre-determined annual balance to spend on items that fall outside the scope of traditional benefit plans. Transit passes, gym memberships, and student loan payments are examples of expenses that can be considered for this type of benefit.
- Flexible Work Arrangements: Working from home, unlimited vacation, and flexible schedules. Not every company can accommodate this type of flexibility, but it’s gained momentum in recent years.
Healthy employees are productive employees—and with all these exciting new ways to promote a healthy workplace we can’t wait to see what the next couple years have in store.