Health care costs are skyrocketing, with Canadians paying an average of $3,800 more each year on their premiums.
The number of people getting coverage through their employer has fallen by about 20 per cent over the past decade, and health care spending has increased by about 40 per cent, according to Statistics Canada.
As a result, the cost of health care has gone up in a lot of Canadians’ wallets, especially for seniors and people living with disabilities.
The average cost of a single private health insurance policy is now $3.1 million.
And that’s even before taxes, deductibles and co-pays are factored in, said Michael C. Schuman, president of the Canadian Medical Association.
“That’s the highest-cost, highest-deductible and most expensive of any category of insurance,” he said.
According to Health Impact News, in the 2016 fiscal year, the average premium increased to $3 for a family of four.
The average cost per person for private health care is $1,100, or $3 a day.
That’s an increase of $2,300, or 14.5 per cent.
The cost of private health plans has also risen over the last five years, but the difference is due to a drop in people signing up for private insurance plans, according the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.
Health Canada’s chief executive officer, Dr. Jennifer Lai, says seniors and those with disabilities will be among the most affected by the cost increases.
She said it’s not only seniors who are being impacted.
“We know that some seniors with disabilities are paying more and some are paying less.
And if they’re not paying more, then there’s less of a pool of seniors that can qualify for these additional benefits,” she said.”
So it’s particularly impacting people with disabilities.”
The costs have come largely from a shift to a higher-deduction plan, which has pushed up the cost for a variety of plans, from private health plan premiums to dental insurance.
According to a 2016 study, private insurance premiums are higher than Medicare or the federal and provincial programs, but seniors and the most vulnerable have borne the brunt of the increase.
The costs are hitting the most disadvantaged seniors, with the average cost for private plans now $6,500.
The Canadian Medical Protective Association says the new fee structure in Canada is causing seniors to take on more financial risks and is causing the country’s health system to fall short.
The group says seniors are more likely to be uninsured, have difficulty finding affordable coverage and have more chronic conditions than younger people.
They also say that seniors with pre-existing conditions, such as high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes, are being left to shoulder the burden of the cost.
The CMPA also says premiums for health insurance have increased by almost 60 per cent since 2010, with a majority of seniors paying more than $100 a month.
They say the increased costs are affecting their ability to stay healthy and help them to pay for their health care.
“The trend is going to be a very serious challenge for the health of our seniors,” said John F. Mascarenhas, president and CEO of the CMPAs Canada chapter.
More than 30 per cent of Canadians, or 2.4 million people, live in poverty.
“People with disabilities and those living with a disability are more at risk of experiencing chronic illness, more likely than other Canadians to be underinsured and more likely in situations where they have to choose between paying the full cost of their health and paying for the care that they need,” he added.
The increase in health care costs has been compounded by the fact that many seniors who use their health insurance are now paying more for their coverage.
The Canada Health Act, introduced in 2012, limits the amount of out-of-pocket costs people can spend on health care for one year.
And this year, many people were being charged a $1.6 billion penalty for exceeding the limit.
According a new report by the Canadian Institute for Health Information, out- of-pocket spending in 2016 was $7,942 per person.
That was more than double the $4,000 limit for seniors, who accounted for roughly half of the total out-pocket expense.
The health care crisis in Canada can be seen across the country.
The Canadian Centre For Policy Alternations estimates there are more than 2.6 million seniors living with chronic health conditions.
About half of them are unable to work and are not able to take time off to be seen by a doctor or hospital.
According the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, the unemployment rate among Canadian seniors is 25.4 per cent and their rate of unemployment is up to 10 per cent higher than the national average.
Healthcare costs have become a major political issue in Canada.
The Liberals have promised to balance the books in five years and the Conservatives have promised a balanced budget by