Insurers looking for changes to health care: IBC

TORONTO, Jan. 17 /CNW/ – Ontario’s property and casualty insurers are asking the provincial
government to join with the industry to help solve serious problems in the rehabilitation services segment of
health care.

In a submission to the Health and Long Term Care Minister Tony Clement, the Insurance Bureau of
Canada points out that, over the past 10 years, the cost of providing health services to people injured in motor
vehicle accidents has increased by 350%. This is despite a steady decline in the number of auto-related injuries
during the same period.

“The enormous rise in the cost of treating injured people is a major factor in one of the
worst downturns ever experienced in the Ontario automobile insurance market,” says Mark Yakabuski,
IBC Ontario Vice President.

Each year in Ontario, more than $1.3 billion is spent on rehabilitation services by OHIP, the
Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB), and property and casualty insurers. However, IBC suggests that
rehabilitation has never received the attention it needs. As a result, there is a lack of service standards in
rehabilitation services, uneven access to care, and uncontrolled cost escalation.

A good portion of rehabilitation costs for injuries caused by automobile and workplace injuries
is not paid for by government. “Ensuring quality care and pursuing cost containment in this area of the
health care sector needs to be a government priority,” says Yakabuski. “People need to be reminded that
these and other health care services are ultimately paid out of the same pocket.”

IBC is asking the health minister to establish a forum for ministry officials, the WSIB and
private insurers to meet regularly to reform and improve the quality and cost-effectiveness of rehabilitation
services in Ontario.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada also wants to see mechanisms in place that would hold rehabilitation
providers accountable for the health outcomes of their patients, and for the proper use of health care system
resources. Current provincial regulations prevent automobile insurers from using the kinds of accountability tools
that are available to the other payers for health care.

IBC recommends changes to the Insurance Act to permit private insurers to use proven methods for
improving health outcomes and managing the cost of care for insured rehabilitation services.

On a larger scale, IBC is calling for a national effort on injury prevention; reforms to primary
health care services; and reducing reliance on fee-for-service as the method for paying health practitioners.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada is the national trade association of the private property and
casualty insurance industry. It represents about 200 companies that provide more than 90 per cent of the
non-government home, car and business insurance in Canada. Visit the media section of the bureau’s Web site at for more news releases and information.