Canadian employees willing to pay higher health plan premiums

Survey also shows stress levels continue steep rise

Canadian workers would rather pay more than have their employer-sponsored health plan scaled back and B.C. appears to be the most stressful province in which to work.

These were just two of the findings of a survey on employee attitudes to their company health plan and on personal health in general conducted by Canadian pharmaceutical company Aventis Pharma and Ipsos-Reid.

Given the choice between paying more and scaling back coverage in their employer-sponsored health plan, a small majority of Canadian employees 56 per cent said they would pay higher premiums.

And while they may not be as satisfied as they once were, Canadians are for the most part happy with their what their employers are offering in health coverage.

Sixty-six per cent of plan members said their plan met their needs extremely well or very well.

Workplace stress up
The numbers also clearly illustrate the rising problem of workplace stress. Fully 62 per cent of respondents said they experience a great deal of stress at work, up 15 points from the year before.

In fact, 34 per cent of male workers and 38 per cent of female workers say workplace stress has made them physically ill, up from 25 and 30 per cent the year before. Reports of stress were highest in B.C. where 69 per cent saying they felt stressed at work.

Common manifestations include irritability or anxiety, insomnia, getting sick more often and taking more time off of work.

The survey covered everything from opinions on the public health care system to benefits communication and stress levels.

A large majority hold the public health-care system in high regard, with 81 per cent rating it as excellent, very good or good.

“A lot of the Medicare crisis is actually reflective of hype in the media as opposed to what users of the system are currently experiencing,” said Frederick Holmes of benefits consulting firm Buck Consultants.

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