Health care costs in Canada have risen for the first time in 20 years as new policy rules take effect.
According to the latest data from Statistics Canada, health care costs rose by 1.5 per cent in 2017 to $8,869, while overall prices rose by 6.3 per cent to $3,839.
But the number of insured patients rose by 0.3 percentage points to 1.8 million, while the number who paid for their care rose by 5.7 per cent, to 2.4 million.
According a new analysis, Canada’s healthcare system will be more expensive than any other country in the world by 2024.
“By 2024, Canada will face an average increase in healthcare costs of 2.9 per cent compared to 2016,” the report by Avalere Health, a Canadian research firm, said.
“These results show that the cost of care will continue to increase across the country and in all provinces by 2024, with the largest increases in the largest provinces.”
The study noted that the number-one health care cost in Canada is still being paid for by seniors and those with chronic conditions.
However, the report noted that “by 2024, Canadians are expected to spend more on care in the United States than in any other advanced economy.”
Canada is the only industrialized country to have no national single-payer system.
It has a national health-care system with a private insurer called Cigna, which operates as the largest employer in the country.
“The Cignas plan is the most successful single-payment plan in the developed world and is the largest single-payer system in the OECD, with almost 3 million insured enrollees,” the Avalere report said.
Canada’s single-system health-insurance system, however, has failed to deliver the promised gains in health outcomes for the past two years.
A survey released in September showed that only 1 in five Canadians said they were satisfied with their healthcare, and only 1.4 per cent said they planned to enroll in a private health plan by 2025.
“Many Canadians do not know they have a plan that is not in their own name, which means they are being charged by the government,” the study said.
The Avalere study said that although the government is providing subsidies to individuals and small businesses to help them pay for their healthcare expenses, they are not covering the full cost of those costs.
“As a result, many Canadians are still left with a massive bill and are unable to make their health care payments.
They may not even be able to afford to pay their full healthcare bills because they have no insurance coverage,” the research report said, adding that Canadians are also still spending more on prescription drugs than any nation on Earth.”
Health care is the single most important element of a person’s life,” said Avalere CEO Dan Omidyar, who is also chairman of the Foundation for Economic Education.”
It is our hope that Canada’s new system of universal, single-rate healthcare will make a significant dent in the costs of care, particularly for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged people.”
Avalere Health said its analysis of health-related spending in Canada shows that by 2024 there will be an average of $2,739 more spent per capita on healthcare services than in 2017.
Health care spending in the US was up 0.7 percent to $25,972 in 2017, while in Canada it was up 2.6 percent to an average $15,764.
The average cost of insurance for Canadians in 2020 was $6,842.
By 2024 the Avalère report said the average cost for a Medicare prescription will be $4,636 in Canada, while it will be only $2.80 in the U.S.
By 2022, Canada expects to spend $17.4 billion on health care, compared to $16.4bn in the year before.