How many people do you know who don't think they have to pay out of pocket for hearing aids or home care hospital stays? Perhaps more than you can imagine as
according to a 2014 Canadian Health Index, 89% of Canadians believe they are fully covered for all costs associated with hospital stays and psychiatric treatment.
In addition, 4 out of 5 Canadians don't expect to pay out of pocket for nursing home/long-term care resident, hearing aids, and home care. Confusion exists because there is complementary coverage provided by both government and employer health plans, yet some common necessary medical services are not fully covered.
To help address the confusion, a series of healthcare guides organized by province and address coverage options and personal costs were developed. These guides include information pertaining to Disability, Home Care, Long Term Care, Palliative Care, Prescription Drugs, and Travel Emergency Medical.
A 2014 study prepared by Fraser Institute found that because Canadians may not be billed directly for medical services, they do pay for some of it via Canada's tax system. This scenario also creates a dampened awareness and appreciation for the true costs born by Canadians because there is no dedicated health insurance tax.
The Fraser report revealed that in 2014, a typical Canadian family with two parents and two children paid to $11,786 for public health care in insurance. The cost related directly to the size of the family. The report also showed that in the last decade, public health care insurance for the average Canadian family has increased 53% and 1.5 times faster than average income (34.7%) and more than three times as fast as the cost of food (15.6%).
The more employers have a sense for what employees believe about government sponsored benefits coverage, the more they can do to help educate them and build a stronger appreciation for employer-funded benefits coverage and the need for savings in light of many of the perhaps unexpected out of pocket public health care costs.
Communication strategies are an integral part of benefits and savings awareness campaigns. In many cases, it is the ability to surface misunderstandings about coverage and costs that pack a significant punch and provide the motivation to change employee behaviour. There are many reports such as the Sun Life Health Index and the Fraser Institute Study that we review, summarize, and bring to our clients attention. For additional information or support for your benefits communication campaign, we invite you to contact us. We're here to help so that you can focus on what you do best.
Dave Dickinson, B.Comm, CFP, CLU, CHFC
Experienced Benefits Specialist ready to optimize your group benefits and pension plans.