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September 19, 2012
Retirement shock coming!

More than half of employees with benefits coverage believe their employee benefits will continue after retirement, the 2012 edition of the Sanofi Canada Health Care Survey says.

According to the latest Sanofi findings, 51 per cent of employees expect to have access to their benefits after they retire.  In reality, less than one-quarter of benefit plans in Canada offer retirement benefit coverage.

Ironically, expectations are highest among workers age 55 and older, those on the cusp of retirement, with 69 per cent of survey respondents indicating they expect to retire with such coverage.

“Right now, employees are not factoring health care costs into their retirement planning,” says Medavie Blue Cross Sales and Business Relations Director and Sanofi Health Care Survey Advisory Board member Pierre Marion. “Many will be in for a surprise when they realize that extended benefits may not be available.”

The highest number of those assuming they’ll receive retirement benefits occurred among surveyed government workers, with 72 per cent indicating they had that expectation. In contrast, 37 per cent of private sector employees felt they would receive benefits after they retire.

Regionally, Atlantic Canadians are the most optimistic, with 60 per cent of survey respondents indicating they expect to receive retirement benefits.

For plan members, particularly those age 55 and older, the Sanofi survey results could suggest that surprise and disappointment are heading their way as their retirement dreams face the hard realities of post-retirement health care costs.

“Right now, when employees think about how much they need when they retire, they don’t factor in health,” says Sanofi Survey Advisory Board member Mark Goldenberg.  “People may think they have enough to meet day-to-day expenses, totally forgetting they could have health costs beyond those covered by public programs…Many are in for a surprise when they realize that benefits won’t be available.” 

With the wave of baby boomer retirements just beginning, plan sponsors should move quickly to educate plan members on what happens to their benefits after retirement, the Sanofi advisory board suggests.

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