Canadians Love Their Health Plans – Just Not As Much

May 10, 2004 ( - The good news in the latest Aventis health coverage poll is that workers north of the border generally love their health plan so much, nearly three quarters would choose it over annual payments of up to $8,000.

The bad news: Fewer Canadians than ever say their health plan meets their needs. In fact, only 58% of respondents today said their plan meets their needs “extremely well” or “very well” – down significantly from a high of 73% in 1999.

The 2004 edition of The Aventis Healthcare Survey found a link between those who liked their job and were also satisfied with their health plan, according to a news release. Among plan members who say they are satisfied in their work, six in ten say their plan meets their needs. Of those who are unsatisfied in their job, only 34% describe their plan as doing the trick.

The survey also reveals what benefit is closest to members’ heart. Some 86% of respondents say life insurance is important; 94% say the same about short- and long-term disability; and, almost all respondents – 98% – say their prescription drug plan is dear to them.

However, restricting access to medications is not an acceptable option. In fact, 87% of plan members surveyed agree their health benefit plan should cover any prescription drug their doctor prescribes, regardless of cost. And close to nine in 10 (87%) say Canadians should have access to new medications as quickly as citizens in the U.S. The survey also found that 72% of plan members do not agree with the idea of reducing health benefits as a result of increasing plan costs.

While expectations are high when it comes to health benefit plans, Canadian employees also expect a great deal when it comes to accessing the healthcare system. The survey found that 85% of respondents believe they are entitled to the best possible health care, regardless of what it might cost the government.

The Aventis Healthcare Survey also found that plan members are receptive to innovative workplace wellness programs that will put them back on track to a healthier lifestyle. In fact, the survey points to the workplace as an underutilized forum for health promotion, and disease detection and prevention programs that would lead to better health and potentially greater job satisfaction.

Ipsos-Reid polled 1,503 Canadians who are members of employee benefit plans. This is the seventh annual edition of the survey. To view the survey in its entirety, visit .