live healthier lifestyles. Providing encouragement to this group of
patients is the best way to control drug plan costs overall. In providing
accessible and comprehensible plans, the outcome is better
health and a better system for managing the impact of costs on
While chronic conditions such as diabetes, high cholesterol
and asthma continue to be prevalent illnesses in the workplace
and account for high prescription drug spending, mental health
issues such as depression and anxiety are also impacting the workplace
in higher numbers. According to statistics from the Centre
for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), at least half a million
Canadians are unable to work due to mental health problems in
any given week. The Drug Trend Report found that spending on
prescription drugs that help treat depression has also increased.
The report also indicates that cancer diagnosis is on the rise and
has been the leading cause of death in Canada for the last 10 years.
Cancer ranked seventh in overall spending in 2017, up from its
2016 ranking of tenth place. The performance of employees who
suffer from those conditions can negatively be impacted because
naturally, they have good days and bad days while they are being
treated. Employees would like to work and contribute on the days
that they feel well, but this can be unpredictable, and employers
also do not want to be liable for an employee who works during
treatment. This can be challenging to balance for employers.
Providing targeted, timely support to help members make decisions
that optimize cost and care is essential. This can be achieved
through several methods including aligning member and plan
sponsor interests through intelligent design solutions, providing
incentives for optimizing therapy, identifying opportunities
to capture the attention of employees at the right time to influence
optimal treatment decisions, helping employees conveniently
implement optimal decisions and more importantly, empowering
and engaging plan members/employees.
Companies can help control costs while making sure their
employees are healthy by taking a holistic approach to wellness.
This ensures chronic conditions are caught and treated early for
best outcomes. Plans need to be managed comprehensively and
members with high-cost chronic conditions require targeted
support. Urgent action to control costs and close gaps in care is
essential for any company and adopting comprehensively managed
plans makes it possible for plan sponsors to improve health outcomes
for their employees at a cost that they can afford. n
Stéphanie Myner-Nham is the director of human resources and
corporate services with Express Scripts Canada.
WHEN ONLY A SMALL GROUP
IS MAKING THE MAJORITY OF
BENEFIT CLAIMS, COMPANIES
ARE CHALLENGED WITH
HOW TO OFFSET COSTS.
20 ❚ JULY 2018 ❚ HR PROFESSIONAL