Envision Financial

September 24, 2007 09:01 ET

Repeat: Canadians Want Employers to Fund Insurance for Private Care

Survey shows Canadians concerned about medical wait times; Medical Access Insurance offers solution.

Attention: Assignment Editor, Business/Financial Editor, Health/Medical Editor, News Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor VANCOUVER, BC, MEDICAL INSURANCE THRU ENVISION--(Marketwire - Sept. 24, 2007) - A recent survey of Canadians found that 1 in 5 would be willing to pay monthly health care fees enabling them to bypass waitlists for medical and surgical procedures. But when asked whether they would be open to private health care if their employer purchased the same health insurance for them, the number jumped to nearly 50 percent, says the Angus Reid poll commissioned by B.C.-based Envision Insurance Services.

The survey revealed that 45 percent of Canadians are very concerned about lengthy medical wait times. Forty-nine percent of Canadians who have an employer would approve of their employer offering medical insurance benefits that would enable them to obtain immediate medical service from private and U.S.-based health care providers. Twenty percent of Canadians and 19 percent of B.C. respondents even said they'd be willing or very willing to pay for such insurance themselves.

The survey's results substantiate Envision's plan to introduce Medical Access Insurance (MAI), a product designed to give British Columbians affordable access to alternative sources of health care, including private clinics and U.S. hospitals.

"It's clear that many Canadians want increased choice and expanded health care options available to them," says Tim Mackie, Assistant Vice-President and General Manager of Envision Insurance Services. "Medical Access Insurance meets the needs that people have voiced concerns over-it widens the range of choices and enables British Columbians to receive essential health care in a timely way."

Envision's basic Medical Access Insurance package covers pre- and post-surgery specialist conditions, diagnosis-such as MRI and CT scans-and surgery for over 135 conditions and procedures. Service kicks in as soon as a client is placed on a medical wait list. Once a client is approved, treatment is expedited immediately. Diagnosis and treatment are provided wherever the services are available, whether that be in Canada or in the United States.

"Having access to alternate health care options isn't new for Canadians," says Mackie. "But with Medical Access Insurance, British Columbians can get that access more quickly and affordably."

"Health care in Canada is a sensitive issue. As Canadians, we take great pride in our free, universal-access public health care system," he says. "Medical Access Insurance provides an additional option for British Columbians who desire non-conventional health care coverage and cannot pay expensive fees for private care out of their own pocket nor believe that waiting for lengthy periods of time before receiving treatment is in their best interests. They'll have peace of mind in knowing that should they need urgent medical care in the future, they'll be able to get it without delay."

Premiums for Envision's MAI are based on age and family composition. Individual coverage starts at less than $25 per month, with family coverage starting at approximately $60 per month. There are no medical exams or co-payments required, and pre-existing health conditions are covered after 24 months.

Individuals and families who have MAI can also to choose to upgrade their coverage to MAI Plus and get improved access to specialists. In most cases, a consultation with a specialist can be arranged in 21 days or less.

Angus Reid Strategies conducted the online survey on behalf of Envision Insurance Services from August 22 to August 23, 2007 among a representative sample of 1,067 adult Canadians. The margin of error for this poll is +/- 3.0 percent, 19 times out of 20.

Envision Insurance Services is a fully owned subsidiary of Envision Financial, B.C.'s third-largest credit union with approximately $3.4 billion in assets under administration. For five years running, Envision has been named one of the 50 Best Employers in Canada. Envision is designated a Caring Company by Imagine Canada. For more information on Envision Financial, visit envisionfinancial.ca. /For further information: www.envisionfinancial.ca/ IN: FINANCE, HEALTH

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