Employees treasure health benefits, poll finds
Wednesday, February 24, 1999
Montreal -- Canadian employees covered by group health plans would be willing to pay higher premiums to maintain benefits, a survey made public yesterday suggests.
The poll also says plan members rate the public-health-care system as very good but are split on how to fund it.
The survey, conducted Nov. 25-Dec. 10 by the Angus Reid Group for the pharmaceutical company Hoechst Marion Roussel Canada, had a margin of error of 2.5 percentage points 19 times out of 20.
It found that 81 per cent of 1,508 plan members surveyed were willing to pay more to maintain complete health coverage, either through higher premiums or by paying a higher portion of costs.
A majority -- 55 per cent -- said they would be willing to pay an average $99 a year more to cover all prescription medications. About a quarter of the respondents were not willing to pay more and 19 per cent did not know.
Nearly three-quarters of those surveyed -- 73 per cent -- said they believe their medical benefits meet their needs.
The survey also found 85 per cent of respondents deem the public-health-care system good, very good or excellent.
However, on funding of the system, 57 per cent endorsed a combination of taxes and user fees while 41 per cent favoured maintaining a totally public system.
A statement by Hoechst Marion Roussel said 21 million Canadians rely on private-employee-benefit plans. Private-health-care expeditures amounted to more than $22.7-billion in 1996, almost a third of total health-care expenditures in Canada.
It is the second year the drug maker has commissioned such a study.