Nine in Ten (90%) Canadians Say Major Health Event or Chronic Condition Would Have Impact on Their Personal Finances, With Majority (53%) saying Major Impact

Second Annual Sun Life Canadian Health Index™ Finds Just Six in Ten (58%) are Prepared or Preparing Financially in Case they Fall Seriously Ill

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Toronto, ON – Nine in ten (90%) Canadians say that if they were to experience a major health event such as a heart attack or cancer, or a chronic health condition such as diabetes or arthritis, they would expect their personal financial situation to be impacted, according to the second annual Sun Life Financial Health Index™ conducted by Ipsos Reid. In fact, a majority (53%) believe that impact would be ‘big, perhaps permanent’, while four in ten (38%) think it would be a ‘manageable, temporary impact’. Just one in ten (10%) believe there would be no impact at all to their financial situation.

Despite this widely-held belief, just six in ten (58%) Canadians ‘agree’ (31% strongly/27% somewhat) that they are prepared/preparing financially in case they fall ill. Four in ten (42%) Canadians ‘disagree’ (26% strongly/17% somewhat) that they are preparing financially for this scenario. Moreover, while one quarter (25%) say they have a written financial plan, among those that do, just one in three (32%) say their plan includes insurance and risk management, totalling 8% of the overall population.

The lack of preparation on the part of many is concerning, considering roughly half (49%) of Canadians have personally experienced a health issue including mental health issues, joint/muscular problems/arthritis, diabetes and cancer, and most (83%) say someone close to them has experienced one or more of these more severe health issues.

Canadians, on average, think they’ll live a long life, with the average Canadian believing they’ll live until 81.5 years of age. However, just six in ten (61%) ‘agree’ (34% strongly/27% somewhat) that they are prepared or preparing financially for their healthcare needs in retirement, while four in ten (39%) ‘disagree’ (24% strongly/15% somewhat) that they are.

However, most (86%) ‘agree’ (59% strongly/27% somewhat) that ‘individuals will need to purchase health insurance products to help fund their health care needs, as the public system will not be able to maintain current funding levels s the population ages and costs rise. In fact, eight in ten ‘agree’ (47% strongly/33% somewhat) that ‘the private sector will be involved in providing some health care and long-term care to meet increasing demand as the population ages’. Moreover, seven in ten (72%) ‘agree’ (40% strongly/32% somewhat) that they will ‘probably need some form of long-term care as they grow older’, while just three in ten (28%) ‘disagree’ (13% strongly/14% somewhat).

When it comes to long-term care, nearly two in ten (17%) Canadians expect that they’ll have to pay 100% of the costs themselves with no government funding. Most (63%) believe there will be some government subsidization, and two in ten (21%) believe it will 100% government funded. Thinking about home-based medical equipment and care, one in ten (14%) believe it will be 100% paid for by themselves, while most (61%) believe the government will subsidize some of the costs. One quarter (25%) think that the government will pay for 100% of these costs.

Reflecting on medication for seniors over the age of 65, just 7% believe they’ll have to pay for 100% of these costs, while most (71%) believe the government will offer some sort of subsidy, but they’ll still be responsible for a portion. Just two in ten (22%) believe that the government will fund 100% of these medication costs. Canadians are more optimistic when it comes to medical cancer treatment and drug regimes, with just 5% believing they’ll be 100% responsible, and 45% believing while there will be some subsidy they’ll be responsible for some payments. Fully one half (50%) believe that this type of care will be paid for 100% by the government.

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos Reid poll conducted between July 27 and September 12, 2011 on behalf of Sun Life Financial. For this survey, a sample of 3,233 Canadians aged 18 to 80 years old from Ipsos' Canadian online panel was interviewed online. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. A survey with an unweighted probability sample of this size and a 100% response rate would have an estimated margin of error of +/- 2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what the results would have been had the entire population of adults in Canada been polled. The Sun Life Canadian Health Index is composed of a series of sub-indices composed of attitudinal, behavioural and perceived measures, each benchmarked to 100. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.

For more information on this news release, please contact:

Sean Simpson
Associate Vice President
Ipsos Reid

About Ipsos Reid

Ipsos Reid is Canada's market intelligence leader, the country's leading provider of public opinion research, and research partner for loyalty and forecasting and modelling insights. With operations in eight cities, Ipsos Reid employs more than 600 research professionals and support staff in Canada. The company has the biggest network of telephone call centres in the country, as well as the largest pre-recruited household and online panels. Ipsos Reid's marketing research and public affairs practices offer the premier suite of research vehicles in Canada, all of which provide clients with actionable and relevant information. Staffed with seasoned research consultants with extensive industry-specific backgrounds, Ipsos Reid offers syndicated information or custom solutions across key sectors of the Canadian economy, including consumer packaged goods, financial services, automotive, retail, and technology & telecommunications. Ipsos Reid is an Ipsos company, a leading global survey-based market research group.

To learn more, please visit

About Ipsos

Ipsos is a leading global survey-based market research company, owned and managed by research professionals. Ipsos helps interpret, simulate, and anticipate the needs and responses of consumers, customers, and citizens around the world.

Member companies assess market potential and interpret market trends. They develop and build brands. They help clients build long-term relationships with their customers. They test advertising and study audience responses to various media. They measure public opinion around the globe. Ipsos member companies offer expertise in advertising, customer loyalty, marketing, media, and public affairs research, as well as forecasting, modeling, and consulting. Ipsos has a full line of custom, syndicated, omnibus, panel, and online research products and services, guided by industry experts and bolstered by advanced analytics and methodologies. The company was founded in 1975 and has been publicly traded since 1999. In 2010, Ipsos generated global revenues of €1.140 billion ($1.6 billion U.S.).

Visit to learn more about Ipsos offerings and capabilities.

Ipsos, listed on the Eurolist of Euronext – Comp B, is part of SBF 120 and the Mid-100 Index, adheres to the Next Prime segment and is eligible to the Deferred Settlement System. Isin FR0000073298, Reuters ISOS.PA, Bloomberg IPS:FP

Nine in Ten (90%) Canadians Say Major Health Event or Chronic Condition Would Have Impact on Their Personal Finances, With Majority (53%) saying Major Impact


Sean Simpson
Vice President, Canada
Ipsos Public Affairs