“A healthy person has a thousand wishes, a sick person just one.” – Tony Robbins
We often take good health for granted throughout our lives, but statistics show that long-term disease is prevalent in Canada. Nearly 1 in 2 Canadians (45% of men and 43% of women) are expected to develop cancer during their lifetime. More than 158,000 Canadians over the age of 20 receive a new diagnosis of heart disease.
The odds are your employees will be directly affected by a life-changing illness. Based on statistics, it is critical to proactively take every step possible to maintain a healthier lifestyle with positive impacts on long-term disease. Ensuring that your benefits plan encourages proactive, preventative, and healthful habits is more important now than ever.
Supporting long-term health through digital resources
We’re witnessing a trend where employers are expanding their goal of offering a benefits program for talent retention and financial support with assistance for illness costs. Instead, employers are focusing on the prevention of long-term disease.
Is your plan doing enough to help prevent long-term disease? Consider the following questions:
- Does your benefits plan promote preventative care?
- Does it include wellness support?
- Do your employees know how to access the wellness support you offer?
- Do they have the resources to make the most of what your plan offers?
- How does your plan encourage a healthy lifestyle?
To promote healthy habits more consistently, employers and plan sponsors have begun taking advantage of digital technology, such as gamified wellness apps, to reach their employees and offer proactive wellness solutions. According to a recent poll conducted by CIBC, the average Canadian picks up their phone every ten minutes. No matter what generation your employees belong to, it’s likely that they have a smartphone, tablet, or another mobile device. Implementing an engaging digital wellness solution, like an app, allows you to promote healthy living to your employees several times a day.
Advantages of digital wellness tools
Often, the cost of implementing a digital wellness solution discourages employers. What employers should consider, however, is that the cost of not implementing a proactive wellness solution may be even higher.
When employees are living an unhealthy lifestyle, their use of your benefits plan can increase in the following ways:
- Increased use of paramedical coverage, resulting from joint stress due to weight issues
- A greater potential for heart disease or stroke
- Higher incidence of disability claims and employee absenteeism
- Increased use of prescription drugs
- Rate increases in your benefits plan due to higher claim costs
Additionally, employees with unhealthy habits may experience a loss in productivity and motivation.
With a more proactive wellness plan added to their benefits program, employers can help their employees experience promising and long-lasting results. Employees with previously unhealthy habits may begin to participate in friendly competition with their coworkers by engaging with a digital wellness tool. Healthy habits encouraged by such tools may include stretching more often, walking more steps per day and eating healthy lunches and snacks, all of which can make a significant difference in long-term health. Many digital wellness tools also provide tracking functionality, allowing employees to follow their progress and increase motivation. In many cases, this may mean that employees experience fewer health issues, resulting in lower rates and long-term disability claims. Industry data shows that the cost of augmenting your benefits program with a proactive wellness plan has the potential for a positive return on investment while also improving your employees’ lives.
Encouraging uptake of digital wellness tools
If you already have a proactive wellness tool included in your plan, is it being used effectively? Do your employees know about it, and are they encouraged to use it? Often, ongoing education is critical to maximizing the number of employees using a new tool. Be sure to provide regular, sustained communication to promote participation in any wellness objective.
As an employer, you understand the value of an organized, proactive strategy. With expertise in keeping your employees’ wellness and healthy living on track, we want to design the right wellness solution for your benefits plan. Contact your Cowan Insurance Group consultant today to learn how we can help.