Meeting Your Employees Where They Are: Time to Re-Evaluate Your Benefit Plan

In today’s dynamic workplace, staying attuned to the evolving needs of your employees is crucial. A recent report from Manulife Financial Corp. highlights significant trends in employee health, underscoring the importance of reassessing and updating benefit plans. As health needs continue to evolve, it’s essential to ensure that your plan remains relevant.

Understanding the Shifting Health Landscape

According to the report, claims for obesity medications among Canadian employer-sponsored benefit plan members surged by 42% in 2023 and nearly doubled since 2020. This indicates a growing awareness and prioritization of comprehensive well-being among employees. This presents a valuable opportunity for employers to review their current offerings to better support their overall health and well-being.

Addressing Comorbidities and Holistic Health

Obesity is often linked with other health issues such as cardiovascular disease and sleep apnea. The report found that a substantial portion of employees are not getting enough physical activity, adequate sleep, or proper nutrition, contributing to a higher risk of chronic conditions. Revisiting your benefit plan can lower barriers to accessing obesity treatment and other health services, demonstrating your commitment to employee well-being and mitigating the risk of more severe health issues.

The Rise of Musculoskeletal and Mental Health Issues

The pandemic has transformed the way we work, with remote work becoming the norm for many. However, this shift has brought about new health challenges. The report notes a significant increase in musculoskeletal issues, partly due to inadequate ergonomic setups in home offices. Mental health concerns remain a top reason for disability claims, with high usage of paramedical services for these conditions. Providing robust coverage for both physical and mental health services is essential to support employees seeking resources to improve their well-being.

Re-Evaluating Your Benefits Plan: A Strategic Imperative

The evolving health needs of your employees present a clear imperative to re-evaluate your benefits plan. Here are a few steps to consider:

  1. Conduct a Needs Assessment: Gather data on your employees’ health trends and needs through surveys, claims data analysis, and direct feedback.
  2. Engage with Employees: Foster an open dialogue to understand their health concerns and preferences, tailoring your benefit plan to their specific needs.
  3. Review and Update Coverage: Ensure your plan includes comprehensive and flexible coverage to empower your employees to seek the treatments, preventative care and promote overall well-being.
  4. Promote Awareness and Equal Utility/Access: Educate employees about available benefits and how to access them, ensure your employees all have equal utility when it comes to your benefit plan so that they can be covered for what they need.
  5. Monitor and Adjust: Continuously monitor the effectiveness of your benefit plan and make adjustments as needed to adapt to evolving employee health needs.

Enhancing Your Benefits Plan

To meet the diverse and evolving needs of your employees, consider integrating flexible and comprehensive options into your benefits plan:

  • Health Spending Accounts (HSAs): Providing HSAs allows employees to allocate funds towards a variety of health-related expenses, enabling them to choose treatments and services that best meet their individual needs.
  • Wellness Programs: Incorporate programs that focus on preventive care, physical activity, and nutrition, encouraging healthy behaviors through incentives and support systems.
  • Mental Health Support: Ensure your plan includes robust mental health services, ranging from counseling and therapy sessions to stress management workshops.
  • Ergonomic Solutions: Address the need for proper ergonomic setups at home by providing stipends or resources for employees to create a healthier and more productive work environment.
  • Comprehensive Coverage: Ensure your plan covers a wide range of treatments and services, including traditional medical care and paramedical services such as physiotherapy, chiropractic care, and massage therapy.


Now is the time to re-evaluate your benefit plan. By incorporating flexible options, comprehensive coverage, and engaging wellness programs, you can create a supportive and responsive workplace. Investing in an updated benefit plan is about fostering a healthy, productive, and engaged workforce. Take the strategic step to review and enhance your benefits plan today.

Source: “Claims for anti-obesity drugs increased 42% in 2023, 92% since 2020: report” by Benefits Canada. [Link to the article]

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