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Are You Ready Manage Healthcare Costs In Your 8000 Days Of Retirement?

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Your retirement is very likely to be longer than planned and include more than simply play and rest. It isn’t a brief period of life after full-time work – in fact it can be equal to one-third of your adult life.

8000 days. If you have two decades of retirement ahead – say from age 65 to 85 – that’s about 8000 days. And that’s about the same time between the time you were born and reached age 21, or your ‘mid-life’ years until retirement.  Yes, each of those life phases are about 8000 days.

During the years past, you likely recall times when you and your family needed medical treatment – and depended on your health insurance to help cover for costs not covered by your government health plan.

That’s why its vital to consider health insurance in your ‘retirement’ years – because you may or may not be ‘not-working’, you may experience an unexpected accident or illness, or you may be managing existing health problems. Whatever your situation, you will continue to face out-of-pocket healthcare costs not covered by your government plan – which can be covered by health insurance.

In fact, according to Wealth Professional magazine, retirees’ unexpected health care costs are a warning to younger Canadians. Not including the cost of treatment and care in retirement planning can be a costly mistake, as a significant cohort of current Canadian retirees are discovering.

What does your government health-care insurance cover?

All the provinces in Canada provide health insurance coverage to their residents for a basic set of products and services. This coverage is expanded for seniors, but only a small amount. While its true that expensive healthcare costs like doctor and hospital fees are covered, most provinces don’t cover:

  • Dental services
  • Paramedical services (e.g., massage therapy, physiotherapy, chiropractic care)
  • Vision care, such as glasses or contact lenses and eye surgery
  • Hearing care
  • Ambulance transportation if its not medically necessary
  • Private or semi-private hospital rooms

Past age 65 you may have some coverage for prescription drug costs, but not everything is covered – including costs for things like drugs administered out of hospital.

What does a health insurance plan cover?

With health insurance you can have coverage for

  • Some of the cost of assistive devices, such as canes, walkers, wheelchairs, and hearing aids
  • Costs if you need to modify your home and car to accommodate a disability
  • Part of the cost of home care services, such as personal support workers or health care aides or nursing

Health insurance plans can include coverage for

  • Prescription Drugs
  • Dental Care
  • Vision Care
  • Hearing Care

Depending on your plan, you can also enjoy coverage for hospital care, ambulance costs and even emergency medical travel coverage if you leave your province or travel out of country.

How long can you have health insurance coverage?

Your individually owned health insurance will safeguard you for your entire life as long as you continue to pay the policy’s premiums.

You will be covered regardless of your age. If you develop a health condition that needs continual treatment, your policy will remain in effect. Your coverage will renew until you cancel it  even if you have made large or multiple healthcare service claims that are within the lifetime maximum allowable.

Close up of elderly people holding hands

When should you put your ‘retiree’ health insurance in place?

If you don’t have health insurance that will continue through your retirement years already in place, you can start well before retirement, before the age of 80 for many plans, and even after age 80 for select plans.

It is smart to purchase the best health insurance plan available while you are physically healthy. The benefits you want may not be available if your health changes in the future. If you are already being treated for a pre-existing condition, anything from high blood pressure to past instances of cancer, this can change the health insurance options you may have.

If you currently have health benefits from your employer or your partners, you can coordinate your benefit coverage and, in some instances, cover 100% of your health expenses, reducing your out-of-pocket costs. Read your policy carefully to understand the expenses you are expected to cover yourself and which policy will pay first.

How do you put health insurance in place?

You are eligible to apply for an individual health insurance plan if you are a Canadian resident 18 years of age or older who has provincial health insurance coverage. When you select your health and dental insurance you always receive a ‘free look’ period. Your health insurer wants you to have time to go over the policy and understand all the details. You get anywhere between 10 to 30 days (depending on the policy you choose) to ask questions and get answers. If you are not satisfied with your policy, you can return it and receive a full refund (as long as you have not made any claims).

Everyone can qualify for a guaranteed acceptance plan. That’s right. Everyone. And many people can qualify for medically underwritten coverage.

There are a wide range of “guaranteed issue” health insurance plans available that accept all applicants regardless of your medical history. You will not be required to have a medical exam or fill out a questionnaire in order to qualify.

If you are coming off a group health plan, the good news is that you can apply within 90 days of leaving the group and qualify for a specifically designed guaranteed acceptance individual health insurance policy.

Green Shield Prism Continuum Plans

Through our partnership with Green Shield, SBIS offers our exclusive Prism Continuum health care focused plans to individuals who are coming off of a group plan. Plans include up to 15 days of travel health insurance protection, semi-private or private hospital coverage and the Change4Life online health tools and reward program.  You enjoy comprehensive coverage – even if you have a pre-existing health condition – that is the best choice to cover ongoing and unexpected health care expenses. No medical questionnaire is required.

Manulife FollowMe Plans

Manulife Follow-Me is perfect for those who are coming off a company group insurance plan and need a new one. Acceptance is guaranteed, even with pre-existing conditions, if you apply within 90 days of leaving the group plan. FollowMe plans offer 24/7 access to Healthcare Online professionals with preferred pricing for their services. You’re can also enjoy up to 10% premium savings by adding the Vitality option and qualifying by actively maintaining good health. A surviving spouse has coverage continuously for one year if you die.

GMS Replacement Plans

GMS Replacement Health plans include features like the GMS Prescription Drug Lookup Tool to find out which drugs are covered under your plan. And like Continuum and FollowMe plans, you can enjoy the convenience of a pay-direct card to present at participating pharmacies, dentists, massage and physiotherapists, psychologists, and more, so your plan is billed directly for covered costs. No need to pay out of pocket!

If these ‘retiree’ plans are not the right fit SBIS also offer a wide range of fully underwritten plans to choose from, including HealthPlus plans

SBIS is ready to help you with your retirement health insurance

At SBIS we are a professional insurance broker, expert in the complex world of health insurance. You can learn about retiree health insurance online or call us for a free telephone consultation for sound guidance to help you figure out what coverage you do need with over 40 different health and dental insurance plan options. Our no-obligation quotes can help you determine how much to set aside in your post-retirement budget, and you can even buy online.

Ready to get started? Give us a call today at 416.601.0429 or 1.800.667.0429 toll-free.

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