Canadian seniors ill-prepared for long-term care costs, reports CHLIA

Toronto, ON (Apr. 24, 2013) – The majority of older Canadians are unaware of the costs associated with long-term care and few are financially prepared to cover expenses, according to a Leger Marketing poll of Canadians aged 60 plus, conducted on behalf of The Canadian Life and Health Association (CLHIA).

The poll shows that 56 per cent of Canadians are unfamiliar with the costs of long-term care in their province and two-thirds (67 per cent) do not have a financial plan to cover the costs of ongoing long-term care.

“We need to acknowledge that we are facing a looming crisis in this country. Many older Canadians are on the verge of sticker shock when they inevitably come up against the need to pay for long-term care services,” says CLHIA’s President Frank Swedlove. “We calculate that the baby-boomer generation alone will require $1.2 trillion to meet their long-term care needs.” Further, the CLHIA estimates that currently available government programs would only cover about half of this amount.

Women in particular are less prepared, with 70 per cent saying they do not have a financial plan to cover the costs associated with possible long-term care needs compared to men at 62 per cent. This is especially troublesome considering women have a longer life expectancy.

“It is in the national interest that all levels of government and Canadians begin working together immediately to find solutions that will close the gap on what services are currently provided and what people can afford,” added Swedlove.

Two-thirds of Canadians aged 60 plus said they would put money aside for long-term care if the government matched dollars they saved, similar to the Registered Education Savings Plan. Half of the respondents said they would prefer the government take the lead and add to the long-term care programs it offers, even if it means higher taxes (51 per cent).

The survey of 500 Canadians age 60-74 and 500 Canadians age 75+ was completed online between March 20th and March 27th, 2013. A probability sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of +/- 3.1 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

Regional breakdowns are available upon request.

About the CLHIA

Established in 1894, the CLHIA is a voluntary association whose member companies account for 99 per cent of Canada’s life and health insurance business. The industry provides a wide range of financial security products such as life insurance, annuities (including RRSPs, RRIFs and pensions) and supplementary health insurance to more than 26 million Canadians. It also holds $574 billion of assets in Canada and employs about 139,000 Canadians.

Source: Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association Inc.