Manulife helps Canadians plan for their long-term healthcare needs

WATERLOO, ON, Oct. 21 /CNW/ - To address a growing need for millions of Canadian baby boomers, Manulife Financial has introduced a unique product feature that allows its new and existing individual disability insurance customers to switch their coverage to long-term care insurance.

Until now, Canadians could purchase insurance to protect their employment income in case they became disabled. But that insurance automatically expired at retirement (typically age 65) when the need ended.

With the new Future Care Option, Manulife becomes one of the only Canadian companies to allow its eligible individual disability insurance customers to exchange all or part of that coverage for long-term care insurance when income protection is no longer needed.

"Nearly every week the media reports on the state of our long-term care system. Who's going to provide care and who's going to pay for that care are issues now facing the over four million Canadians over the age of 65," said Michael Doughty, Executive Vice President, Individual Insurance.

"As that number doubles over the next few decades it will put an unprecedented strain on our long-term care system and on seniors' financial savings. By creating the Future Care Option, we've made it easier for Canadians to transition from protecting their income during their working years to protecting their assets against the costs of long-term care."

One of the primary benefits of the new Manulife feature is that eligible individual customers will not have to undergo the extensive application and underwriting process usually associated with long-term care insurance.

"We want to make it easy for Canadians to get the coverage they need so their long-term care can be funded," said Doughty. "Because these customers have been good insurance risks for us during their working years, we are able to offer them this unique, simplified approval process."

In 2007, Manulife completely redesigned its long-term care insurance, LivingCare, to make it more flexible and easier to manage. It provides benefit amounts for either home care or higher-priced facility care and policy owners do not have to submit receipts for care expenses. LivingCare also provides support services to help people navigate their local long-term care system and a unique Shared Coverage plan for couples. Last year, Manulife added long-term care protection to its Critical Illness insurance product, along with a similar option to enable some critical illness customers to switch their coverage to long-term care insurance in the future.

"Many Canadians are just beginning to realize the enormous financial strain that long-term medical care can have on a family," says Doughty. "We believe programs like this can help our customers be better prepared."

About Manulife Financial

Manulife Financial is a leading Canadian-based financial services group serving millions of customers in 22 countries and territories worldwide. Operating as Manulife Financial in Canada and Asia, and primarily through John Hancock in the United States, the Company offers clients a diverse range of financial protection products and wealth management services through its extensive network of employees, agents and distribution partners. Funds under management by Manulife Financial and its subsidiaries were Cdn$421 billion (US$362 billion) as at June 30, 2009.

Manulife Financial Corporation trades as 'MFC' on the TSX, NYSE and PSE, and under '945' on the SEHK. Manulife Financial can be found on the Internet at www.manulife.com.

SOURCE Manulife Financial Corporation

For further information: For further information: Media contact: Tom Nunn, Manulife Financial, (519) 594-8578, tom_nunn@manulife.com


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