While Canadians older than age 65 account for less than 14% of the population, they consume nearly 44% of provincial and territorial government health care dollars (Canadian Institute for Health Information [CIHI]).
However, the share spent on Canadian seniors has not changed much—from 43.6% in 1998 to 43.8% in 2008 (CIHI).
Providing Value for Money
According to the C.D. Howe Institute, “British Columbia has been almost uniquely successful among Canadian provinces in mitigating the impact of aging on its healthcare budget.”
Publicly funded healthcare in British Columbia has risen from 6.8% of provincial GDP in 1991 to about 8.0% in 2012. At the same time, it has risen from 35% of the provincial government’s program spending in 1991 to about 43% in 2012 (C.D. Howe Institute).
Projections show British Columbia’s public healthcare spending on provincial GDP rising from 8.0% in 2012 to 12.2% in 2035 and to 16.0% in 2062 (C.D. Howe Institute).
Demographic factors, at a combined 1.8%, have been a relatively modest contributor to the 7.4% per year growth in health spending. In contrast, price effects have been a significant driver of overall health spending (CIHI).
Compensation constitutes 60% of the total cost of hospital budgets. Compensation for the hospital workforce—the largest majority of whom are nurses—has grown faster than compensation in non-health sectors since 1998 (CIHI).
On average, health care spending per person is highest for those age 80 and older (CIHI).
Survey data shows a stronger correlation between the presence of multiple chronic diseases and higher utilization of health services than between age and utilization (CIHI).