SOURCE: Pacific Blue Cross

Pacific Blue Cross

October 26, 2017 14:00 ET

Pacific Blue Cross first to introduce Personal Health Insurance with flexible coverage to help retirees decrease out-of-pocket health costs

VANCOUVER, BC--(Marketwired - October 26, 2017) - Pacific Blue Cross has introduced an individual health plan for retirees whose current plans do not offer retirement coverage. Pacific Blue Cross is the first and only carrier in the market that allows retiree members the flexibility to adjust levels of coverage as their health needs change, and offers the most coverage for prescription drugs, dental and vision care, and medical aids.

Many British Columbians don't realize that their retirement planning should also include a strategy for covering healthcare costs as they age. Claims data from Pacific Blue Cross, B.C.'s leading provider of group healthcare benefits, shows that prescription drug expenses jump +60% in retirement. These costs account for approximately two-thirds of retiree extended health claims, with medical aids and equipment representing the next highest share of expenses1. According to the Canadian Institute for Health Information, in 2014 health spending for British Columbians aged 65+ averaged more than $9,6002.

"We tend to underestimate how much we will spend on healthcare in retirement, including dental services, vision care and hearing aids that are traditionally covered by private benefit plans," says Adrian Bois, Director of Individual Plans, Pacific Blue Cross. "It is important for people to plan for their retirement and ensure they have a plan with appropriate coverage before the need arises. Just because you retire, doesn't mean your benefits have to."

British Columbians are living longer than any other time in history -- with the average life expectancy at 65 years old rising from 15 to 22 years since 19503 -- but less than half of British Columbians will retire with an employer-funded health plan. Three-quarters of Canadians over 65 report having one chronic condition4 and two-thirds take more than five medications to control long-term chronic conditions5.

"Retirees may experience a decline in health and increased prescription costs, and preparing for these costs is important for your financial wellbeing in retirement," says Anar Dossa, Director of Pharmacy Services, Pacific Blue Cross. "It is with these changing costs in mind that Pacific Blue Cross now offers the first flexible retirement plan for prescription drugs, health and dental coverage."

As long as a member transitions to a Pacific Blue Cross retirement plan within 60 days of retirement, a medical evaluation is not needed for any member of any group plan from any carrier.

More information about the Pacific Blue Cross retirement plan can be found online, through an insurance broker or by calling 1-800-USE-BLUE.

About Pacific Blue Cross

Pacific Blue Cross is British Columbia's number one health benefits provider. Based in Burnaby, B.C., the not-for-profit organization provides health, dental, life, disability and travel coverage for 1 in 3 British Columbians through group benefits and individual plans. As part of its mission to improve health and wellbeing in B.C., Pacific Blue Cross proactively supports charitable organizations across the province working to improve health outcomes.

1 Data generated from Pacific Blue Cross records.
2 The data used to make the calculations was provided by CIHI, but the calculations and findings are by Pacific Blue Cross.
3 B.C. Stats, Ministry of Technology, Innovation and Citizens' Services.
4 Canadian Institute for Health Information, Health Care in Canada, 2011: A Focus on Seniors and Aging (Ottawa, Ont.: CIHI, 2011).
5 Canadian Institute for Health Information, At the heart of data: An in-depth look, 2014: Seniors and drugs (Ottawa, Ont.: CIHI, 2014).

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