From virtual care to pharmacare, TELUS Health’s recent series of webinar events—produced in place of its annual live conference and now available for on-demand viewing—offers relevant insights and practical learnings for plan sponsors and their benefits advisors. Here’s a summary of the topics addressed with the connecting links:

RETROSPECTIVE: DATA TRENDS AND NATIONAL BENCHMARKS Hear highlights about the major trends in private drug-plan costs and utilization, as well as uptake of drug plan design measures, presented by Shawn O’Brien, Principal, Business Intelligence at TELUS Health. Also hot off the press: TELUS Health’s annual DRUG DATA TRENDS & NATIONAL BENCHMARKS report, an easy-to-read written report that expands upon the webinar presentation.

PORTRAIT OF A PERSON WITH DIABETES Plan members who submit claims for diabetes drugs take seven medications on average—of which about half are actually for diabetes. The remaining are for associated conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and depression. When all other claims are factored in, diabetes claimants’ share of total eligible costs climbs to 18% from 11%. This deep dive into the data helps build a case for investment in behaviour change support as a longer-term solution to manage costs and improve outcomes.

BRAVE NEW WORLD OF VIRTUAL CARE Two physicians and a virtual care provider discuss how COVID-19 has revolutionized the delivery of health care in Canada, and predict that at least half of all healthcare services will be delivered virtually within the next two to three years. Hear more about how private health benefit plans can augment virtual health care in the public system.

THE PROMISE AND POTENTIAL OF DIABETES REVERSAL Growing clinical evidence that type 2 diabetes can be reversed—and living proof in his own medical practice—has motivated physician Brendan Byrne of White Rock, B.C., to advocate for changes in standard benefit offerings. In this webinar, Dr. Byrne explains how a type 2 diabetes reversal program works, and its significant return on investment for employers.

NATIONAL PHARMACARE IN THE AGE OF COVID-19 AND BEYOND The COVID-19 pandemic appears to have changed the direction of a national pharmacare program in Canada firmly toward a fill-the-gaps payment model, rather than a universal, single-payer model. However, it will likely be some time before pharmacare works its way back up the priority list for the federal and provincial governments. Presenters Dr. Bob Bell, former deputy minister of health in Ontario, and Michelle McLean of Hill + Knowlton Strategies discuss current government priorities in a world with COVID.


This article is part of The Benefits Alliance Take 5 for Health Benefits. Take 5 is a quarterly initiative that provides a deeper look a the employee benefits space by providing examples, research and case studies on what’s working for employers in Canada.