One of Canada’s largest insurance providers is making Kinesiology a regular part of its plans – and then some.
Until 2019, Desjardins Insurance covered Kinesiology as part of its extended health benefits when clients asked for it. Now, however, the company has begun proactively offering Kinesiology as an option to all clients with 50 or more plan members.
On top of that, Desjardins has added Kinesiology to their new Healthy Weight program package – a program aimed at tackling Canada’s growing obesity crisis.
“As an insurer, we have to do everything we can to help our clients support their plan members who need help managing their weight,” says Martin Nadon, Product Manager, Health and Speciality Products. “Covering Kinesiology treatments is an integral part of how we’re going to do that.
“It can coach plan members on the safest and most effective physical fitness programs for their personal situation. It can also help prevent injury and frustration, and it will encourage them to keep up with their exercise programs and continue to progress.”
Motivating the change is the uptick in obesity in Canada. The percentage of Canadians who are overweight or obese has risen from 49% in 1978 to 64% in 2017. Today, one in four adults and one in 10 children are obese, creating greater risk for problems like diabetes, hypertension and cholesterol.
Associations such as the World Health Organization consider obesity a chronic illness, one impacted by factors like environment, genetics and lifestyle, among other factors. Desjardins estimated that obesity costs employers $7.1 billion* per year in healthcare and lost productivity.
Desjardins’ new Healthy Weight program aims to tackle that challenge. The program includes obesity drug treatments as well as support from key health professionals, including Kinesiologists, alongside psychologists and dietitians.
Desjardins recommends that claimants check their coverage information before submitting claims to ensure they are covered for Kinesiology treatments. Claimants should also ask about what maximums may apply, such as maximum fee per visit or number of treatments per year.
The Ontario Kinesiology Association is pleased to see Kinesiology increasingly being recognized by providers like Desjardins as a vital benefit. OKA will continue to work on behalf of members to further promote Kinesiology as an essential extended health benefit.
*source: “Obesity in Canada” Report of the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology, March 2016. / « L’obésité au Canada », Rapport du Comité sénatorial permanent des Affaires sociales, des sciences et de la technologie, mars 2016.