A latest annual survey by Sanofi of Canadians with health plans indicate there is a large disconnect between the percentage of workers with a chronic condition and the percentage of workers that employers believe have a chronic condition.

The survey of over 1500 Canadians found that 58% of workers had a chronic condition while the estimated percentage of workers that employers (or plan sponsors) thought had a chronic condition was only 29%.

The most common chronic conditions were hypertension, mental illness (depression or anxiety), high cholesterol, arthritis, and diabetes.

Breaking down the percentage of workers with chronic condition further, the percentages were higher for workers who were older (55 – 64 years; 67%) or poor (66%).

Many of the workers with at least one chronic condition also reported the following in relation to their condition:

  • Were tired (58%)
  • Missed work due to illness (47%)
  • Had difficulty concentrating (41%)
  • Took time off work for medical appointments (39%)
  • Left work due to feeling ill (30%)
  • Had more frequent and/or longer breaks during work due to symptoms (25%)
  • Needed time during work to monitor health or care for their condition (21%)

Interestingly, workers with chronic conditions did not have the highest number of prescription drug claims. The average number of claims for all workers was 9.4 per year while those with a chronic condition had an average of 10.9 claims per years. In contrast, those listed as being financially ‘poor’ had an average of 12.0 claims per year.

The survey can be found at www.sanofi.ca and in addition to looking at chronic conditions, it asked respondents their opinions on receiving targeted health information (they want it), medical marijuana coverage under their health plan (they want it) and stress (they want less).

It will be interesting to see if reports like this make it even more difficult for people with a chronic condition (or people who are poor) to obtain employment moving forward.