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Working Canadians are experiencing financial anxiety

Here’s how employers can help

Posted by Medavie Blue Cross on May 18, 2021

New research from Medavie Blue Cross reveals how working Canadians are financially vulnerable to the risks of major illnesses or injuries or loss of life — and yet few are taking steps to protect themselves.

The potential financial loss weighs heavy on workers: 82% say their finances would be impacted if critical illness or injury affected their ability to work. 48% say losing income is a top financial worry should a critical illness or injury prevent them from working.

Short financial runway

In the event of a major illness or injury, working Canadians have a short financial runway before they would go into debt. Nearly three-in-five (57%) working Canadians say a loss of income brought on by a major illness or injury would lead them to fall behind financially and start to take on debt after 6 months or less.

In that situation, 57% would cope financially by cutting back expenses, 48% by dipping into savings and 34% by seeking another source of income

Pandemic increases anxiety

Though half (49%) of working Canadians are more anxious about their finances than before the pandemic began and 2-in-3 (66%) believe that owning life, critical illness or injury insurance is more important than ever, only two-in-five (40%) have coverage should a major life or health event occur.

This is where employers can play an important role, as confirmed by the survey findings. Some 80% of working Canadians say the health services they’ve accessed through their benefits plans over the past year have been valuable to them.

Value-add, no-cost solution

Medavie Blue Cross has a complete turnkey solution that increases the value of benefit offerings, at no cost to employers, to give employees greater choice and protection from the financial impacts of a serious illness, injury or death.

Optional Benefits offers comprehensive coverage to put cash in hand — for employees to spend as they choose — should the unexpected occur. Our product includes coverage for critical illness, accidental death and dismemberment, and life insurance. It also opens the door for employees to Online Doctors, a group benefit that provides them with year-round virtual health care access to Canadian-licensed physicians.

Addressing barriers to purchase

As members of a preferred group plan, employees are quoted monthly rates often lower than individual rates, addressing cost ― the top barrier to purchase cited by 47% of respondents.

Optional Benefits also offer quick, easy sign-up through our digital platform, addressing other barriers like processes taking too much time or being complex, as well as not having access to a trusted advisor. Employees can easily choose their coverage, calculate their rates and arrange payment ― all online and within minutes.

No medical underwriting

In addition, during an open enrolment period, employees can apply for Optional Benefits with no medical questions asked or exam required, up to certain dollar amounts.

Ultimately, Optional Benefits can enhance employer-employee relationships by offering added protection, with group plan advantages, as an extra bonus to their employment ― and, in doing so, show concern for employees’ financial security.

Questions to ask

Here are some key questions to ask when considering Optional Benefits.

  • How much flexibility does your benefits plan offer?
  • Does your plan give your employees options to increase their coverage, especially for life, critical illness or accidental death & dismemberment coverage?
  • How well does your benefits plan reflect the different needs of your employee demographics?
  • Do your employees have the option to customize their plan?

Use your answers to guide your discussion and inform your decision.

Need more information?

Speak to your Medavie Blue Cross representative to learn more about Optional Benefits, or explore the product below.

*Data is from a Medavie Blue Cross-commissioned Leger survey of 1,004 Canadians who are employed full time and have opted into their employer health benefits plan. It was completed between March 8-16, 2021, using Leger’s online panel.

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