Canadians May Overestimate Health Coverage in Retirement

June 27, 2012 ( - Employees in Canada may be mistaken about their access to healthcare coverage in retirement, a survey suggests.

Sanofi Canada Healthcare found half (51%) of Canadians expect they will continue to have access to their healthcare benefits when they retire, which may not necessarily be the case. Expectations are especially high among plan members ages 55 and older (69%) and those who work for large companies (67% for companies with 5,000 or more employees).

Plan members who work for government employers are most likely to expect health benefits in retirement (72%), while non-unionized (39%) and private-sector (37%) employees are least likely.

“Employers shouldn’t waste any time educating employees on what happens to health benefits upon retirement,” said Pierre Marion of Medavie Blue Cross. “Right now employees are not factoring healthcare costs into their retirement planning. Many will be in for a surprise when they realize that extended benefits may not be available.”

At the same time, a number of survey repsondents are willing to pay out of their own pockets to keep benefits when they retire (54%).

Just 13% of respondents say they understand their healthcare benefits extremely well, down from 19% in 2005. Forty-five percent believe they understand very well, down from 53%, and 39% understand somewhat well, up from 23%.

Ipsos Reid surveyed 1,757 primary holders of group health benefit plan on behalf of Rogers Business and Professional Publishing between January 11 and January 18. In addition, Rogers Business and Professional Publishing conducted 125 online surveys with benefit plan sponsors from across the country from January 12 to January 18.

For more information about The Sanofi Canada Healthcare Survey, including the complete text of this year’s report, visit