'Employers have a real opportunity to reconsider their workplace benefits plans to increase optionality and flexibility'
More than eight in 10 (82 per cent) Canadian workers who have opted into their employer health benefits are worried about their finances being impacted by a critical illness or major injury to themselves or a family member.
And 57 per cent say they would be only able to manage financially for up to six months before going into debt, according to benefits provider Medavie Blue Cross.
However, only five per cent report they have purchased life insurance, and only three per cent have purchased critical illness insurance.
"The findings are eye-opening. A critical illness or serious injury would cause many Canadians to dip into their savings, look for additional sources of income, seek financial assistance from friends or family, or even downsize their living situation," says David Adams, vice president for business development at Medavie Blue Cross.
Over the past few years, employers have felt increasingly responsible for employees’ financial wellness. And yet many workers are not feeling that much better on the finance side, suggesting there’s room for improvement when it comes to what’s being offered.
Cost a big factor
In the time of COVID-19, more than 66 per cent of respondents agree that owning life, critical illness or injury insurance is more important, finds Medavie.
However, only four in 10 have coverage should a major life or health event occur, found the survey of 1,004 Canadians conducted March 8-16, 2021.
Their reason? Cost (48 per cent) and other barriers (24 per cent) such as: too much time required to set it up; a process that is too complex; or not having a trusted advisor to help them in reviewing their options.
"Employers have a real opportunity to reconsider their workplace benefits plans to increase optionality and flexibility – allowing employees to better protect themselves from risk – while making the process of choosing and adding coverage as easy as possible for them," says Adams.
Nearly three-quarters (74 per cent) of Canadians reported feeling some degree of financial stress brought on by the health crisis, according to a separate report.