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Employers and the Rising Cost of Benefits
There is a new survey out from Aon that shows while Canadian employers are highly concerned about the rising costs of group benefits (due to drug expenses), they still prioritize the productivity and engagement of their employees and recognize the importance that group benefits play in creating healthy employees and a healthy work environment.
Canadian group benefit sponsors were surveyed by Aon to identify their Top 10 benefits and workplace priorities.
The results were:
Top 10 Workforce Priorities
- Employee productivity/engagement
- Employee wellness
- Attracting, retaining employees; developing skills for changing business environment
- Workplace mental health
- Employee financial wellness
- Family support obligations, the effect on productivity and well-being
- Chronic illness effect on productivity
- Multi-generational workforce
- Delayed retirement – productivity and performance challenges
- Delayed retirement – employees working past normal retirement age.
Top 10 Group Benefits Priorities
- Escalating drug costs generally
- Escalating specialty drug costs in particular
- Escalating extended health costs generally
- Chronic illness effect on plan costs
- Need to personalize employee benefits experience
- Rising payroll costs (e.g. minimum wage, CPP contributions)
- Compliance/governance obligations
- Cost-shifting – public to private
- The administrative hassle of employee benefits
- National Pharmacare discussions
“The key takeaway from our survey is that plan sponsors are keenly aware of the need to manage rising benefits costs, but they also put a high priority on ensuring their employees are engaged and healthy,” commented Canadian health & benefits chief actuary Greg Durant. Durant prefaced that although the top priorities sound contradictory, there are ways for employers to achieve a balance – they will just have to “think outside the box” in order to meet both their workforce objectives while creating value for their people. One suggested method to achieve this balance is to create wellness programs that could potentially reduce overall extended health costs.
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