The 20th anniversary of The Sanofi Canada Healthcare Survey, Canada’s premier survey on health benefit plans, brings to light that there is still much opportunity to learn from and improve employee health benefit plans. This year’s survey highlights that barely half (53%) of employees say their health benefit plan meets their needs extremely or very well, down from 73% in 1999 when the question was first asked.

Public plans facing costs pressure

The latest CompassRx report of public drug plan expenditures shows that Canadian plans are getting squeezed by rising drug costs.

The annual report, which analyses drug spending trends for 11 publicly funded plans, showed a $1-billion spike in prescription drug spending during the 2015-2016 period. That brought total documented expenditures up to $11.3 billion, 79.7% of which was covered by the plans. The rest was paid by beneficiaries either out-of-pocket or through private drug plans.

Plan costs to rise 130% by 2025

Mercer, a global consulting company, today predicted that employers’ health benefit costs will increase by 130% by 2025 due to expensive specialty drugs, higher rates of chronic and mental illness, increased fraud and rising health pooling costs.

NDP proposes $475M pharmacare plan covering 125 drugs in Ontario

Ontario’s New Democrats are promising to bring in a $475-million pharmacare plan if they win the election next year, which they say could be introduced without program cuts or new taxes — although they’re not ruling them out.

They say the plan would cover 125 medications deemed essential, including those for high blood pressure, asthma, diabetes, allergies, migraines, mental health conditions and HIV, as well as birth control.

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said more than two million Ontarians currently have no drug coverage.