Stéphane Junique: “Prevention is a social investment”

MAINTENANCE – Convinced of the importance of prevention, the Chairman of Groupe VYV pleads for additional action by the State, health insurance and mutual insurance companies.

Groupe VYV was born in 2017 from the merger of several mutualist players and the social and solidarity economy (Harmonie Mutuelle, MGEN, MNT, etc.). With more than 10 million French people protected, it is the leading health and social protection mutual player in France.

LE FIGARO. – Prevention is one of the government’s priorities. Why is this a fundamental issue?

Stephane Junique. – Health, let us remember, is not limited to care. It is a set in which a multitude of determinants participate. Prevention, which specifically aims to limit the impact of risk factors, is the key to living a longer and healthier life. But prevention is also a social investment: for one euro invested in prevention, an overall saving of thirteen euros is made across our entire healthcare system! The benefits of prevention are therefore multiple.

How to explain that it is so little rooted in our country?

I think the reason is above all cultural. France, let’s not forget, has long been ahead of the curve when it comes to skincare. Samu, for example, is a French invention… The success and exemplary nature of our health care system undoubtedly explain the preponderance of the hospital in our health policies. Nevertheless, it is time to catch up on our prevention. The prevalence of chronic diseases such as diabetes, AIDS and even certain cancers obliges us to do so. Especially since the influence of behavioral and socio-environmental factors on health is now clearly established.

It may seem surprising, but I consider housing to be one of the primary determinants of health. By allowing the entire population to live in satisfactory conditions, a considerable number of risk factors are already reduced.

Stephane Junique

What are the action levers to be mobilized?

The public levers are numerous and sometimes unsuspected. It may seem surprising, but I consider housing to be one of the primary determinants of health. By allowing the entire population to live in satisfactory conditions, a considerable number of risk factors are already reduced. Health must be integrated into all the reflections that drive our public policies. However, the State cannot, on its own, take up the challenge of prevention in our country.

Which begs the question of funding…

It is time to open a debate on the financing of social protection in France. By dismissing the scenario of a “great Social Security”, the State made the right choice but it is still necessary to ensure that this reversal does not only respond to accounting motivations. Prevention, where so much remains to be done, is an opportunity to defend our model of complementarity around a real social project. We propose to establish, for all insurers, a contribution equivalent to 2% of the total amount of contributions in favor of prevention. By allocating 2% of the group’s contributions to prevention issues, Groupe VYV could create a leverage effect of 100 million euros to act on health determinants that are not sufficiently taken into account by Social Security.

Which ones, for example?

I am thinking in particular of physical exercise. Only 5% of French people practice sufficient physical activity to maintain their health capital! This finding is alarming. The challenge is to help our members, sometimes weakened by a long-term illness, to reconnect with sports practice. This requires the reimbursement of prescribed adapted physical activity, but also the creation of dedicated places, like our five health sports centers.

Young people are often overlooked in public health policies. What do you recommend with regard to this specific population?

It is still too often assumed that young people do not have health problems. This is obviously false. The crises and transitions we are experiencing are causing great anxiety for some of our young people. This is why Groupe VYV has made the mental health of young people one of its priorities. In the first nine months of 2022, we reimbursed more than 360,000 psychological consultations. Looking at these figures, I was surprised by the very young age of the members concerned: a quarter of them were under 17! I am convinced that a society cannot leave its youth in such a state of suffering.

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What are Groupe VYV’s other challenges for the coming year?

These years of health crisis have reinforced our desire to develop care and support services. Groupe VYV is a leading insurance player, but also a local player able to respond to the difficulties of access to care in the territory. One subject is particularly close to my heart: pensions. I regret the absence of this subject in the public debate, even though it concerns all French people. Faced with the multiplication of risks, the generalization of a pension protection base in our country is a necessity.


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