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Health Care Coverage for Older People Canada - Summary

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Canada has a history of innovative and communitarian health policy, which has resulted in a highly accessible system of health care with relatively low administrative costs. The availability of universal health insurance for hospital and medical services protects all Canadians, including older people, from the catastrophic effects of illness. The community and continuing care services that people need as they grow older or develop chronic illness are delivered by public, voluntary, and private providers and are not fully insured.

The health status of older Canadians is generally good and has improved significantly in recent years. Although the aging of the Canadian population is often identified as a threat to the sustainability of the universal health insurance system provided under the Canada Health Act, this has been shown to be misleading. Population-oriented health interventions such as immunization of older people and their caregivers against influenza have been shown to make dramatic improvements in health and to reduce health demand and costs in the health system. Older people in Canada are generally satisfied with their own health status and the health system, and they contribute substantially to the health and well being of the communities in which they live through volunteer service.

DONNA L. SMITH TARANJEET K. BIRD JOHN W. CHURCH

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