The coronavirus pandemic led to a sharp decrease in people visiting health professionals and filing claims, resulting in an estimated savings of $4.8 billion for Canadian private insurers between March 15 and June 15, according to a new report by insurance comparison platform

The report, which used historic data sourced from the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association’s 2019 facts book, also found many Canadians avoided seeing a range of health providers during the first wave of the pandemic, leading to a corresponding 71 per cent drop in private health insurance payouts over the first six months.

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For example, the data showed medical appointments fell 32 per cent for general practitioners and 73 per cent for specialists, while optical and dental care appointments plummeted more than 90 per cent during the first six months of the pandemic when compared to the same time period in 2018.