Greater Victoria private health insurers saved $45 million during the height of the coronavirus pandemic. (Black Press Media file photo)

$45 million saved by Victoria private health insurers during pandemic

Despite a 71 per cent decrease in payouts, premiums remained the same.

Private health insurers in Greater Victoria saved $45.4 million in unclaimed health care benefits between mid-May and mid-June this year, according to comparison platform Hello Safe.

In a normal three-month period, private health insurers would make $63.9 million in payouts, but this year that number was only $18.4 million.

The drastic drop in payouts is the result of closed services and cancelled appointments, as residents hunkered down during the height of the coronavirus pandemic.

READ ALSO: COVID-19: What’s open and closed in B.C. as a result of the novel coronavirus

“With the virus circulating outside, many preferred to postpone their pending medical needs in order to avoid being exposed to contagion,” said Antoine Fruchard, CEO of Hello Safe, in a statement.

“Besides, others felt the need not to overload the Canadian medical system in a moment when the private and public health care capacities were at a critical point.”

B.C.-wide, private health insurers saved $632 million, and Canada-wide they saved $4.8 billion.

Nationally, this amount indicates a 71 per cent decline in payouts compared to a normal year.

Medical clinics were quick to switch to video and call-in appointments, and thus only saw a 32 per cent decline in appointments compared to the same period in 2018.

READ ALSO: Saanich Peninsula doctors dial up telehealth care

However, specialized clinics that were often unable to provide their services saw a 73 per cent decline in appointments. Optical and dental appointments saw a 90 per cent drop.

Insurance companies are now having to decide how, or if, they will reconcile the 71 per cent drop in payouts that occurred while their premiums remained the same.

As of mid-September, no Canadian health insurance company has made a move to refund customers for this period of largely inaccessible services.

“I’m not sure there is a lot of pressure,” said Fruchard. “The public may not be very informed.”

Fruchard said he hopes Hello Safe’s report will help inform people better, and encourages people to research and compare all their insurance options.

For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.


Do you have a story tip? Email: jane.skrypnek@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

CoronavirusHealthcare Insuranceinsurance

Just Posted

A bear similar to this black bear was spotted on Elk Lake Drive on Oct. 20 and is believed responsible for killing a llama in Saanich the night before. (Black Press Media file photo)
Bear spotted several times in Saanich likely to be euthanized

Conservation officers still searching for bear reported near Elk Lake Drive

Frederick Lee and Eva Lillian Baker lived in Victoria from the 1930s until their passing. Now, their great nephew who lives in Birmingham, U.K. is asking for Victoria residents’ help to learn more. (Courtesy Derek Roft)
Don your detective hats Greater Victoria — a U.K. man wants your help

Derek Roft is on a mission to find out more about relatives that emigrated to Canada in 1912

Canadians have been spending more money, not to too mention more time on online technology, according to Statistics Canada. (Black Press Media File)
YouTube, other free streaming services big winners as Canadians spent more time online

More than four in 10 Canadians experienced at least one type of cyber-security incident

(Black Press Media file photo)
Be prepared: Know what to do in the event of a tsunami warning

Localized alert systems can provide potentially life-saving information

The Alberni-Clayoquot Recycling Depot is located on Third Avenue in Port Alberni. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
EDITORIAL: It’s Waste Reduction Week in Canada. What are you doing to reduce waste?

How can you challenge yourself to assist in diverting more waste from the landfill?

FILE – People wait in line at a COVID-19 testing facility in Burnaby, B.C., on Thursday, August 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
167 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death recorded as B.C. enters 2nd wave

Three new healthcare outbreaks also announced

A mature Garry oak fell onto Richmond Road on Oct. 13 near Camosun College Lansdowne campus. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
Crashing Garry oaks raise urban tree concerns

Saanich responded to 59 tree-related calls

The West Shore RCMP released these images of a suspect as part of its investigation into a report of sexual assault on Sept. 17. (West Shore RCMP handout)
The West Shore RCMP released these images of a suspect as part of its investigation into a report of sexual assault on Sept. 17. (West Shore RCMP handout)
Sexual assault suspect sought by West Shore RCMP

Police are looking for help identifying this man

A Tim Hortons employee hands out coffee from a drive-through window to a customer in Mississauga, Ont., on March 17, 2020. Tim Hortons is ending the practice of double cupping hot drinks, a move the fast food restaurant says will eliminate hundreds of millions of cups from landfills each year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
The end of double cupping: Tim Hortons ditches two cups in favour of one with sleeve

Most recycling facilities in Canada don’t recycle single use paper coffee cups because of a plastic lining

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer doctor Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Tuesday October 20, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s chief public health doctor says in the age of social media, fake news about the COVID-19 pandemic has been spreading faster than the virus itself. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
VIDEO: Fake news creates serious issues for battling pandemic, chief public health doc says

Both Tam and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urged Canadians to be responsible about the information they share

A concept of homes on Ronald Road as part of the Clark-Medd project. (Lantzville Projects Ltd. image)
Lantzville moves along massive housing development as protesters rally outside district hall

Council passes third readings of OCP amendment for Clark-Medd project by 3-2 votes

A pair of students take part in the Greenways Land Trust Junior Streamkeeper program last year. Photo supplied by Greenways Land Trust
Greenways continues work with school groups in Campbell River despite pandemic

Environmental group has concerns with possible loss of volunteers, however

Toronto poet Robert Priest is presenting an online reading on Oct. 24. (Photo courtesy Allen Booth)
Nanaimo spoken word society presents online reading by prolific Toronto poet

Robert Priest to dip into 40-year catalogue for upcoming Zoom reading

Most Read