Survey highlights value of virtual care tools and reveals there’s room to improve on accessible benefits
TORONTO, June 1, 2021 /CNW/ – As businesses start looking ahead to a post-pandemic future, working Canadians are still facing a number of health-related challenges. As many as 40 per cent of working Canadians experienced a decline to their physical health throughout the pandemic, according to a recent RBC Insurance poll. The inability to socialize with family, friends or co-workers (72%) and work-related stress (58%) were also cited as major factors impacting overall health. But for those living with a disability or pre-existing health condition, the challenges have been even greater.
Employees with chronic health issues have faced increased barriers receiving the care they needed over the past year, with 63 per cent citing the inability to visit a doctor or health care clinic as having a negative impact on their health during the pandemic, which is more pronounced compared to those without a chronic health issue (47 per cent).
“The survey really highlights the numerous difficulties the pandemic has had on the health of working Canadians, while also shedding new light on the barriers experienced by those living with a chronic health condition or disability,” said Julie Gaudry, Head of Group Benefits, RBC Insurance. “As businesses work with insurers to make their group benefit decisions, it’s important that employers consider the broad spectrum of healthcare needs to close these gaps and ensure support for all employees.”
While over half (58 per cent) of Canadian workers with a disability or chronic health issues say their condition would deteriorate even further without their workplace benefits plan, 40 per cent also experienced challenges accessing their employers group benefits because of their unique needs.
Impact of virtual care on employees with disabilities
According to the poll, among those who have group benefits or private coverage, Canadian employees with a disability or chronic health condition are more likely to have access to virtual care tools (48% and 51% respectively) than those who do not. And those living with a chronic health condition were more likely to agree that using virtual tools to connect with mental health supports were useful, compared to those who do not have a health issue (64% versus 50%).
RBC Insurance recently partnered with Maple, Canada’s leading virtual care platform, to provide a digital alternative for plan members to access a licensed general practitioner in minutes through text, audio or video. The service is now available as an option for RBC Insurance’s Group clients with Health coverage.
In addition, RBC Insurance offers a broad range of virtual care offerings to address physical and mental wellbeing, including AbilitiCBT, a therapist-guided digital Cognitive Behavioural Therapy program, which is available for plan members at no extra cost, for a limited time.
“We’ve already seen an increase among Canadian employees that are interested in using virtual tools to address mental health challenges throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Gaudry. “When workers with chronic health conditions or disabilities are willing to access virtual care, they can avoid many of the obstacles to getting care.”
Accessible-employee wellness habits:
Employers can play a strong role supporting the well-being of their employees, especially for those who have been impacted by public health guidelines by encouraging the following habits:
- Regular exercise: Encourage employees to stay active by using personal activity or wellness trackers, setting individual exercise goals and providing incentives and rewards for physical activity.
- Practice mental health hygiene: Reinforce the importance of mental self-care and remind employees to incorporate mindfulness breaks throughout the day. Employers can also leverage group benefits resources, including employee assistance programs, access to digital mental health solutions and psychology coverage.
- Encourage inclusive wellness: Employees with disabilities may use alternative methods when participating in digital wellness programs. Ensure these programs are both accessible and inclusive to employees, no matter their abilities.
To learn more, visit rbcinsurance.com/group-benefits.
About the RBC Insurance Survey
These are some of the findings from an Ipsos poll conducted on behalf of RBC Insurance. For this survey, a sample of 1,001 working Canadians ages 18 and over were interviewed between April 10 to 13, 2021. The precision of online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the results are accurate to within ± 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what the results would have been had all working Canadians adults aged 18 and older been polled. Credibility intervals are wider among subsets of the population.
About RBC Insurance
RBC Insurance® offers a wide range of life, health, home, auto, travel, wealth and reinsurance advice and solutions, as well as creditor and business insurance services to individual, business and group clients. RBC Insurance is the brand name for the insurance operating entities of Royal Bank of Canada, one of North America’s leading diversified financial services companies. RBC Insurance is among the largest Canadian bank-owned insurance organizations, with approximately 2,500 employees who serve more than four million clients globally. For more information, please visit rbcinsurance.com.
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SOURCE RBC Insurance
For further information: Joel Dembe, RBC Corporate Communications, [email protected], 647-518-4981