Canadians received a record $103 billion in benefits from life and health insurers last year, up 60 per cent from a decade earlier, according to the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association’s annual fact book.
The benefits include $53.3 billion in pension annuity payments, $38.1 billion in health benefits for prescription drugs and supplementary health services such as dental care and paramedical benefits and $12.1 billion in life insurance benefits.
Similar to 2018, more than 85 per cent of small employers that provide pensions, registered retirement savings plans, tax-free savings accounts and registered retirement income funds do so through life and health insurers. At the end of 2019, Canada’s total pension assets reached $3.9 trillion, which included $669 billion in assets held by about 15,400 employer-provided plans.
In terms of health insurance, the report found 80 per cent of working Canadians and their families are protected by private health plans, up slightly from 76 per cent a decade ago. Of the $48.3 billion in health insurance premiums paid in 2019, 90 per cent were paid to purchase group plans.
In 2019, insurers covered about $28.7 billion in extended health-care costs, including prescription drugs ($12.5 billion), dental ($8.9 billion), paramedical and vision ($4.3 billion), hospital ($2 billion) and travel ($1 billion).
“Life and health insurance benefits help make life more affordable and secure for nearly four out of every five Canadians,” said Stephen Frank, president and chief executive officer of the CLHIA, in a press release. “The benefits insurers provide allow Canadians to access prescription medicines, live more comfortably in retirement or replace needed income when they are ill or lose a loved one.”