Just 30% of employers have a formal health benefits policy for older workers

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drug-benefitsLess than a third (30%) of Canadian employers have a formal policy in place governing health benefits for older workers, according to new research by Aon Hewitt.

The research found that, among the 170 Canadian employers surveyed, just 10% currently have more than five per cent of their workforce comprised of employees over age 65. However, within the next five years more than half (55%) expect their over-65 employee base to grow.

Despite this, few employers are making changes to prepare for the growing over-65 workforce. For instance, the research found that less than 10 per cent of respondents are making any over-65-related adjustments to their benefits.

“Canadian employers clearly recognize the value older employees bring to the table in terms of skill set, mentorship, leadership and filling labour shortages,” said Anthony Perlman, senior vice-president and national practice leader, health and benefits at Aon Hewitt Canada.

“But our survey indicates that most organizations have yet to adequately address the pressing benefits challenges the growing over-65 cohort represents. With Canadians working longer, the time is now for employers to proactively plan and prepare for the evolving – and aging – workforce landscape.”

The research found 84% of respondents don’t offer long-term disability insurance to employees over age 65, though a vast majority (over 80%) offer these employees the same dental and medical benefits.

For instance, 87% of respondents offer employees age 65 or older access to an employee assistance program, while 75 per cent offer dental benefits, 72% offer medical benefits and 58 per cent offer short-term disability benefits.

Transcontinental Media G.P.