Three-quarters of Canadians want integrated health resource

    Manulife Financial launches Health Service Navigator(TM) to help
    Canadians become proactive health care consumers


    WATERLOO, ON, Dec. 12 /CNW/ - In a survey for Manulife Financial, a
decisive 74 per cent of Canadians who responded said they would be interested
in an integrated, reliable service that provides information and assistance on
the variety of health care services available and how to access them. To meet
this need, Manulife Financial Group Benefits, a leader in Canadian group life
and health insurance, is offering Health Service Navigator(TM), a new service
launched today to help group plan members and their dependants access health
information to cope with a critical, chronic or occasional health event.
    "Canadians have told us they want this service," explains Rick Brunet,
Executive Vice President, Group Benefits, Manulife Financial. "Now members of
our group benefits plans can quickly access a consolidated credible health
information and resource portal so they are better equipped to actively
participate in navigating the spectrum of health care resources."
    This one-stop service provides a wide range of the latest health care
information and resources and, where appropriate, it enables users to gain
access to 'world class' second opinion services. Health Service Navigator is
accessible to Manulife Group Benefits plan members and their dependants,
through the Internet or by telephone.
    "The resources they can access range from physician and health facility
search capabilities, to provincial and territorial guides and a chronic
conditions centre," adds Marilee Mark, Vice President, Group Benefits
Marketing. "The service also features information articles on topics such as
wait times, patient advocacy and managing your health and support team."
    "I am encouraged that Manulife is launching a product that supports
enhanced patient navigation," notes Michael Decter, co-author of a Canadian
user guide on accessing medical care, Navigating Canada's HealthCare. "More
informed patients are part of the solution to the challenge faced by health
services as our population ages and the incidence of chronic disease
    "Integrated and reliable health care information is definitely a gap,"
continues Ms. Mark. "Our survey revealed that Canadians have relied upon a
number of sources, from friends and family to web sites, some with little or
no affiliation to legitimate research, upon which to base decisions about
handling their health care needs."
    Although 89 per cent of those surveyed said they likely would get
information and assistance from a family doctor, the study found 73 per cent
would turn to family or friends, while 61 per cent listed the Internet as
their information source.
    Health Service Navigator was developed in conjunction with AccelMD, a
leading supplier of healthcare services and solutions. AccelMD's partners
include Novus Health and the second opinion provider, WorldCare Inc.
WorldCare's partners include the WorldCare Consortium, consisting of
Children's Hospital Boston, Duke University Health System, Partners Healthcare
System, consisting of Brigham and Women's Hospital and Massachusetts General
Hospital, and UCLA Healthcare.
    The poll by Maritz Research was conducted with 1,000 Canadians aged 18
and older between August 9th and August 15th, 2007. The results have a margin
of error of +/- three per cent, 19 times out of 20.

    About Manulife Financial Group Benefits
    Group Benefits offers plans to complement and supplement provincial
health plans, Workers' Compensation, CPP/QPP, and other programs.
    More than 16,000 Canadian businesses have entrusted their employee
benefit programs to Manulife Group Benefits. We provide coverage for
businesses of all sizes, from two employees to Canada's largest employers. An
industry leader in electronic services and transactions, Group Benefits
provides a broad range of coverage including health and dental care, emergency
travel assistance, short and long term disability, group critical illness,
absence management services and wellness products, flexible benefits plans,
life insurance and accidental death and dismemberment coverage.

    About Manulife Financial
    Manulife Financial is a leading Canadian-based financial services group
serving millions of customers in 19 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$399.0 billion
(US$400.5 billion) as at September 30, 2007.
    Manulife Financial is one of two publicly traded life insurance companies
in North America whose rated life insurance subsidiaries hold Standard &
Poor's Rating Services' highest "AAA" rating and Moody's Investor Services'
second highest "Aa1" rating, both representing financial strength.
    Manulife Financial Corporation trades as 'MFC' on the TSX, NYSE and PSE,
and under '0945' on the SEHK. Manulife Financial can be found on the Internet

    About AccelMD:
    AccelMD strives to raise health awareness by providing an exceptional
portfolio of results-driven health care and wellness solutions to improve
health and enhance the quality of life for individuals, groups and
organizations. Our products help manage and reduce health care costs while
increasing organizational health and employee productivity. In addition to
larger groups, AccelMD also offers innovative health memberships for
individuals and families, ready to assist members who choose to pursue
timesaving condition diagnosis or treatment options in the United States,
regardless of age, health history or present state of health.

For further information:

For further information: Media contacts: Tom Nunn, Manulife Financial,
(519) 594-8578,; Cherie DesRochers, AccelMD, (206)

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