Employer-provided medical benefits costs in Canada will rise seven per cent in 2022, according to a new survey by Aon.

The annual global medical trend rates survey found the expected increase for Canadian employer-sponsored medical plan costs is due to a combination of higher costs for dental care, paramedical expenses and prescription drugs. It was conducted among 108 Aon offices with responses reflecting the medical trend expectations of Aon professionals based on their interactions with plan sponsor clients and carriers.

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In Canada, the top five most prevalent health conditions driving health-care claims are autoimmune disease, cancer, cardiovascular, mental health and diabetes. The leading health risk factors in Canada are poor stress management, lack of health screening, physical inactivity, bad nutrition and ageing.

Globally, costs for employer-sponsored medical plans in 2022 are forecasted to increase 7.4 per cent. That’s up slightly from last year, when costs globally were predicted to rise 7.2 per cent in 2021. The predicted increase in 2022 is mainly due to the likelihood of medical utilization returning to pre-coronavirus pandemic levels, expanded benefits, higher unit costs for medical services and an anticipated increase in general inflation.

“Looking ahead to next year, most countries are expecting medical utilization levels to be higher than they observed since the start of the pandemic,” said Ed Cwikla, Aon’s chief global actuary for health solutions, in a press release.

“Preventive care and outpatient [care] are the medical services that are projected to increase in usage the most next year. Utilization of telehealth services is also expected to increase during 2022, continuing the strong increase observed during the pandemic.”

Read: Cost of employer medical benefits to rise 7.2% in 2021: report