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Are You A Single Parent? Tips On Choosing And Using Health Insurance

Are You A Single Parent? Tips On Choosing And Using Health Insurance
Child rearing can be challenging. Without a partner, the stakes are higher. As a single parent, you have responsibility for your child’s day-to-day healthcare and managing those costs.

If you are like 1.8M other Canadians¹, you know that being a single parent of one child or several children can be stressful, and that can take a toll on your health. Remaining cool, calm, and full of healthy energy can help get you through the day, especially when the kids get sick or injured. 

Juggling work, child-care and your budget makes the cost of managing healthcare for yourself and your family challenging. That is why having health insurance is so important to help cover medical and dental costs not covered by the government. Here are some tips on choosing and using health insurance for your family.

Choose a health insurance plan that is right for your situation

You may think you don’t need to have health insurance for your family, but costs like prescription drugs, dental care and therapy may not be covered by the government. You could end up being out of pocket for a lot of money just providing healthcare essentials your family needs.

Depending on whether you have any employer benefits or coverage available from an ex-partner, you either need to choose:

An individual health and dental plan to cover all your family needs

When you have kids, it should be a priority to have them covered by health insurance right away. Your plan will cover dependent children up to the age of 21. 

Purchasing a health insurance plan means that you have protection against unexpected family healthcare costs, regardless of whether you are working or what age you are. Coverage is renewable for life regardless of changes to your health if you pay your premiums. If you only have one dependent child, you can apply for health insurance as a couple rather than a family and pay a lower premium rate. If your family grows, you can switch to a family plan 

An individual health and dental plan to supplement your existing coverage

Your employer health plan may not provide dental coverage or limits therapy benefits that you or your child need. Benefits available in both your group and individual plan will be combined to provide you and your family with higher coverage. A health insurance plan you purchase is always going to have different types of coverage or maximum visits per year, and the important thing to know is that the plans will work together to permit coverage of up to 100% of eligible expenses. Coordinating employer health benefits with your own is especially useful if someone in your family needs an expensive pair of glasses or an orthodontic appliance.

Choose a plan that is right for your health

Look for features in the health insurance plan that support your good health because your child depends on you.

Dealing with your chronic health condition?

If you are like almost half of adult Canadians, you already have chronic health issues and are worried you may not qualify for health insurance, but be assured you can. Age, province of residence and work status are a few of the first questions you’ll be asked to get a quote for coverage.

Looking for preventative healthcare so you can focus on parenting?

Health insurance used to serve us primarily when an illness or accident caused us to incur out-of-pocket healthcare costs. But that’s changed. Now it also delivers preventative healthcare tools to help you lead a healthier lifestyle. You can get rewards for eating right, exercising, and learning about healthy choices, from premium discounts to gift cards. 

Want to get answers to medical questions without going to the doctor? 

Health insurance offers online resources to access health information that is up to date and accurate for your family. Your insurance can connect you to preferred pricing and 24/7 access to virtual healthcare professionals. There are also online prescription services with at home delivery and built-in features for digital mental health therapy so you can address health issues quickly in less time.

Need to ensure that your healthcare stays in budget?

Most health insurance plans cover costs for a wide variety of prescription drugs your family needs. You can take your health insurance benefit plan card to your pharmacist and eligible costs will be covered automatically so you don’t need to pay them out of pocket. 

When it comes to therapy like naturopathy, chiropractic, acupuncture, or massage services that are not covered by your government health plan, you may be partly covered by your health insurance so that you can stay within your budget.

Choose the health insurance plan that is right for your child’s health

Consider how you will financially cope with these childhood health care needs and costs:

Minor illness

Common colds happen with yourself or your child experiencing a cough, fever, aches, stuffy nose, and a sore throat. These symptoms can be draining but do not typically need significant medical care. On the other hand, young children commonly have ear infections that only improve with out-of-pocket costs for prescription antibiotic therapy. Severe hearing issues can require speech language therapy and hearing aids, which can range in cost from hundreds to thousands of dollars. 

sick teen

Anybody can get strep throat, but it is most common during the school year when young kids and teens are in close quarters. Pink eye, or conjunctivitis is also easy for children to get because they are in close contact with so many other children. And do not forget that a stomach bug can cause vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain ranging from mild to severe. Many children have more than one episode in a year. In severe cases your child can become dehydrated and may even need intravenous fluids.

Depending on what minor illness your child has, your doctor is likely to prescribe a course of antibiotics. Depending on where you live, your province has rules regarding prescription drug coverage. Some provinces provide Pharmacare programs for children and youth. The problem is that not all drugs are covered. A private health insurance plan can cover thousands more drugs than those offered under a provincial plan. 

Serious illness

From asthma to ADHD, your child may be faced with a serious or long-lasting health condition. As you support them, you will need to invest in regular medication and therapies or medical equipment like a wheelchair. Health insurance helps cover these costs.

Accidents and injuries

You work hard to keep you child safe but when it comes to sprains, serious cuts, and broken bones your child is bound to trip down stairs or bump their head even at home. As children get older, playground mishaps and spills off a bike or skateboard can be serious. While physical activity is vital to your child’s good health, seasonal activities from swimming and boating to snowboarding, sledding and ice skating can be hazardous. Organized sports like hockey, baseball and soccer can result in concussion, dental injuries and more. Pain medication, medical equipment, dental work, and therapy can unexpectedly add up, and you will pay out-of-pocket unless you have health insurance. 

Therapists and Specialists

Kids sometimes need to be able to talk about problems, fears, or concerns for their mental health. At other times you might need to find specialized support for your child’s need for weight control with a dietician, speech therapy or teenage skin care. Therapeutic costs can add up year after year, really impacting your budget, amounting to thousands of dollars. The good news is that health insurance helps you take care of these costs.

Dental care

A regular dental check-up can cost hundreds of dollars — and specialized care may cost thousands. From routine check-ups to emergency dental work and orthodontics, health insurance can help so you only pay a portion of the total cost. It’s important to know what your plan you select covers and to what extent. 

Your family’s health is precious and so is your time 

Information overload – just too much print, online, TV and radio information to explore or understand easily – can be overwhelming. To help you filter and focus, at SBIS our job as your health insurance broker is to deliver understandable information you can trust and help you select and put in place health insurance coverage that fits your needs.

Use SBIS Resource Search to find the answers.

When purchasing something as critical as health insurance, it is good to know the details. But which ones are important? We have identified important plan features and options – from taxation to claim management, dental coverage to homecare – and we have created resource articles that will give you the information you need quickly. Just type in what you are looking for in our smart Search function or check out our Resources.

You can shop online

Shopping for your health insurance is as convenient as other online shopping. At SBIS, our quote and apply platform is smart, easy, and fast to use, saving you time. We deliver tools that work smoothly from your phone, laptop, or tablet from wherever you may be – whenever you want to shop for (and even compare) Manulife, Green Shield’s (GSC) and GMS health insurance products.

No time shop around? 

We make it easy to connect and receive personal support from insurance experts you can trust. During the workweek, you can call SBIS and connect live to get answers within minutes. And when managing the family means that only time you can deal with your health insurance choices is off-hours, SBIS chat and online inquiry will let you ask your questions and get your answers, wherever you are, any time of day.

Managing your insurance benefits is easy 

Want to make a claim or check your health insurance claim status? There’s an app for that. At SBIS, we are committed to working with leading insurance carriers that deliver online and app tools at your fingertips when it matters: claim time. You have insurance to work for you, so you don’t have to pay out of pocket for eligible expenses (like dental care or prescription drugs) and if you do, you’ll be reimbursed quickly. The tools you can access with your insurance deliver clear details and help you keep your finances in balance.

The cost of maintaining your family’s good health can add up quickly so the best tip is to have health insurance in place

When your health insurance is in place, instead of reaching for your debit card, you can reach for your benefit card after your visits to your healthcare professional. In some cases – like at the pharmacy or dentist — you may not need to pay anything. For other visits by you yourself or by your child, you can submit the healthcare receipt and claim online for quick and easy reimbursement.  Contact SBIS today or visit us online – we’re happy to be your partner for insurance advice and protection.

¹Source: https://www.statista.com/statistics/443342/single-parent-families-in-canada/

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