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Linking stress with productivity

Almost half (47%) of plan members surveyed indicated that they consider their health to be excellent or very good. Many admitted, however, that stress levels, particularly during a time of economic uncertainty, are of particular concern with 28 per cent of respondents admitting that their productivity is compromised when under stress. Almost 31 per cent of plan members indicated that stress in their personal lives made them physically ill, and nearly 38 per cent indicated the same with regards to stress in the workplace.

Economic stress was identified as a key concern for many employees, with employees in Alberta and Ontario most likely to feel its effects (33 per cent and 32 per cent respectively). The stress and anxiety of job insecurity is also higher in Ontario than the rest of the country (20 per cent in Ontario versus 15 per cent in the rest of the country).

Accessing health care

In addition to feeling the effects of stress, accessing health care was also identified as a priority for plan members. Those in good health (27 per cent), very good health (19 per cent) and excellent health (16 per cent) are more likely to find health care accessible. The results of the survey reiterate that, especially now, plan sponsors need to maintain their commitment to health promotion and health benefits plans, and ensure their employees have the tools to educate themselves on health risks.

The price tag placed on group benefits plans

As in previous years, plan members confirmed the importance they place on their health benefits plans when the majority chose their plans (52 per cent) over a $15,000 pay out. Almost half (45 per cent) of plan members would maintain their plan even if the amount of money was increased to the not insignificant sum of $20,000. The majority of plan members (64 per cent) also confirmed that what they value most in their

plan is the day-to-day coverage available to themselves and their families, with almost 60 per cent of plan members acknowledging that they have a role to play in helping their employer control plan costs.

Return on the wellness investment

This year’s survey confirmed that plan sponsors who offer health promotion and wellness programs have more satisfied employees (82 per cent versus 77 per cent). They also have their health benefits plans rated as excellent or very good (65 per cent), and a much greater percentage of employees (66 per cent versus 57 per cent) who feel a sense of responsibility to help their employer control plan costs.

It is interesting to note that only 35 per cent of plan members with access to wellness programs at their workplace actually use them. Plan sponsors would benefit by focusing on ways to engage their employees, perhaps by expanding the options they offer and seeking direct input from plan members on the types of wellness services offered by the program.

Finding the right wellness mix

Survey respondents indicated they would increase their wellness program participation if their plans offered the following:

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