Employee benefits used to be relatively simple: Cover all, or at least most, of the cost for prescription drugs, vision, dental, chiropractic, physio, and other established care. Covering massage would qualify an employee benefits plan as forward-thinking.
That has changed.
In recent years, employee values have shifted. People are prioritizing their physical and mental health, more so than ever before. As employee values have changed, the types of benefits a business must offer to be competitive must necessarily change too.
73 percent of Canadians say that benefits are a key factor in deciding where they want to work. Today though, things like an RRSP contribution match are table stakes. Employees and prospects are looking for more; a complete health benefits program. A complete benefits program includes a preferred pharmacy (Hi, Mednow here) that is easy to use and that puts the individual patient's health first.
Aligning benefits with employee values means shifting to focus on total health and wellbeing. Next-generation pharmacy care can have a major impact on the real and perceived value of a modern benefits program.
How have employee values changed?
Research shows that Millennials aren't thinking about retirement savings the same way as previous generations. Forty percent say that saving for retirement can wait, likely because they’re dealing with more pressing financial struggles like paying down student debt or saving to buy a home.
The decreased emphasis on retirement savings may also have to do with the fact that the average retirement age is steadily increasing. Millennials are already anticipating working longer than their parents and grandparents, so they may assume they have more time to save.
If they don’t care about retirement, what do Millennial and Gen Z employees care about? Simply, they care about overall health and wellness.
Most Millennials believe their employers should offer access to wellness services like psychologists and massage therapists. They also want to enjoy peace of mind knowing they can afford not just prescription medications but also the vitamins and supplements that can contribute to overall health and wellness.
Why is a pharmacy benefit Important?
Employees care more about pharmacy benefits for several reasons, including the following:
Combat higher prescription drug costs
With the rising cost of prescription drugs in Canada, people are right to have concerns.
The latest data shows $34.3 billion spent on prescription drugs in Canada. Nearly 20 percent — $6.8 billion — of that cost was borne by Canadian households.
The same study expects spending to increase by 4.2-4.6 percent per year through 2023, with spending reaching approximately $37.2 billion by the end of 2023.
Improve employee health and productivity
Simplifying access to prescription medications and making pharmacists available for easy consultation helps to improve employee health and gets members back on their feet faster after they’ve been out sick. That's a win/win. Employees feel better sooner and employers get the benefit of their improved productivity.
A modern pharmacy plan doesn’t just dispense medication, it also helps with “medication adherence” — that is, ensuring people are taking their medications properly.
More than a quarter (26 percent) of Canadians admit to not taking their medication properly. This may happen for many reasons — their medications are too expensive, they don’t like the side effects, they misunderstood the pharmacist’s instructions, etc.
Regardless of the reason for non-adherence, modern pharmacy benefits make it easy to connect with a pharmacist for the guidance they need to ensure they understand their medications and are taking them properly. It A pharmacist can also help patients understand and mitigate side effects.
Improved mental health and wellness
Mednow's preferred pharmacy program also provides easy access to mental health resources, which 81 percent of employees say are lacking in their current benefits plan.
Holistic pharmacy benefits make it easier for employees to manage their medications — antidepressants, anti-anxiety drugs, etc. You also help them get connected to professionals who can help and advise them when they’re going through a difficult time.
We don’t need a study to know that when employees feel physically and mentally healthy, they’re happier, more engaged, and therefore more productive — not just professionally but personally, too. They’re less likely to need unscheduled time off and less likely to exhibit signs of presenteeism — being physically present at work but not engaged or focused.
What to look for in a preferred pharmacy
If you’re interested in expanding your business’s benefits to better align with employee values, you need to choose the right pharmacy plan for your company.
Here are some key factors to consider when reviewing different options:
- Prescription medication coverage
- Vitamin and supplement coverage
- Easy pharmacist access
- Free, fast medication, vitamin, and supplement delivery
- Mental Health Care
- Nutrition consulting
- Lifestyle medicine programs
- Modern testing options e.g. pharmacogenetic testing
Pharmacy plans that offer all of these perks are more likely to meet your employees’ needs and provide them with the health and wellness benefits they're looking for.
Not only will this help you to retain your current employees and show them you care about their wellbeing, but it can also help you attract the best employees moving forward.
Start aligning benefits and employee values today
If you’re looking for a pharmacy benefit that checks all the boxes listed above, Mednow has got you — and of course your employees — covered.
We offer competitive prices and comprehensive plans that provide access to doctors, pharmacists, mental health care, holistic care, and more. Learn more about Mednow for Businesses and how Mednow's Preferred Pharmacy program supports both employees and employers.Get Started