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Does Your Financial Plan Cover Serious Health Financial Expenses? It Should.

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How do you account for serious health care costs in your financial planning? If you're like most people, you're underestimating these expenses. Health insurance can help.

Estate plans play a critical role as we age. According to IG Wealth Management’s (IG) estate planning study released in May 2023, only one-quarter (25 per cent) of Canadians have an estate plan to outline their financial wishes and asset distribution in the event of death or cognitive decline.

One of the biggest gaps in many estate plans is not factoring in the possibility of cognitive decline as one ages. More importantly, the study finds that just one-quarter (24 per cent) of Canadians have a plan for financial expenses should they be impacted by Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, or serious health issue. They note that severe conditions can be financially crippling for those directly impacted, as well as their families and caregivers.

Given the fact that Canada’s population is aging, its more important than ever that you have a plan in place to help reduce your exposure to an unexpected financial risk and hardship due to health issues. Part of that plan should be health insurance.

Serious illness can impact finances quickly

None of us plan to be seriously ill, particularly when we are young and working, or are healthy are ready for an active retirement. Here’s what Chrissy Thelker, who lives with young onset dementia in Vernon, BC, writes about making tough decisions in her memoir For this I am grateful: Living with dementia.

“When I got sick, I was hoping that in a short time I would be well enough to return to work,” Chrissy writes. “However, things deteriorated, my medical costs were soaring, I had no income, some days I could barely make it across the room, most days I was really not functioning but I kept trying to keep things done [but]…. The money to do it was going towards health costs, I was watching all my hard-earned savings disappear.”

Looking after your health has to be a top priority, and as with many people in Chrissy’s position, they need to sell their home or downsize to live within their exhausted financial resources.

Planning for your overall health needs to come first

All Canadian residents receive health insurance under provincial plans that provide coverage for a handful of services. However, there are many products and services that are not covered by these plans, leaving you without adequate coverage for routine and emergency medical expenses. As a result, individual health insurance plans are designed to supplement provincial coverage and protect you and your finances from out-of-pocket medical expenses.

Individual plans can do more than protect your bottom line. Here are three ways a health insurance plan can improve your overall health to help avoid serious illness.

Access to care

Individual health insurance gives you access to products and services may not covered by your provincial plan, such as prescription drugs, dental care, and treatment by specialists, including psychologists, massage therapy, chiropractors, acupuncturists, physiotherapists, and more. If you only have health insurance coverage through your provincial plan, you may not be able to afford these additional treatments when you need them.

As a result, you may have to make a difficult choice between skipping a beneficial treatment option or going into debt to get the treatment that could resolve your health problems. If those treatments include something like prescription drug therapy, this choice could have serious long-term implications for your health. Even if you have no need for these additional services now, you never know what might happen a few months or years from now. An individual health insurance policy can help protect you today and in the future.

Prevention

The preventive treatment that is covered under a supplemental insurance plan can help you stop problems before they occur. Properly treating an injury with physiotherapy, for example, can prevent the long-term implications of chronic pain as you age. Even serious conditions that we don’t necessarily associate with our overall health can be better managed through preventive care.

For example, many individual health insurance plans offer coverage for dental care, while most provincial programs don’t. However, regular trips to the dentist are critical for maintaining good oral health. With routine dental care, you can protect your smile and prevent more serious problems like cavities, tooth decay and gum disease from occurring.

It’s not just the well-being of your teeth at stake when you don’t keep up with regular trips to the dentist. Poor oral health has been linked to a host of health conditions, including cardiovascular disease, dementia, respiratory infections, and diabetic complications.

When it comes to taking a holistic approach to managing your health, it’s important to consider all the members of your healthcare team, including your dentist. The decision to purchase an individual health and dental insurance policy can have far-reaching consequences for your well-being.

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Options for managing your health

With individual health insurance, you have more options for managing your health than you do with provincial insurance alone. Because supplemental health insurance covers additional treatment options not covered by provincial plans, you have greater freedom to choose the treatment that is best for you. Managing health problems like chronic pain and mental health issues with supplemental treatments can improve your quality of life.

Whether that is through the use of prescription medication or by working with a registered psychologist or social worker on an ongoing basis, you will be better able to manage your ongoing healthcare needs when you don’t have the added challenge of figuring out how to pay for that care. Without additional coverage through an individual insurance plan, you may not have access to the treatment you need.

Make health insurance part of your financial plan today

While individual health insurance offers many benefits, with so many choices available, it can be challenging to find a plan that’s right for you and your family. When evaluating various insurance policies, it can be difficult to compare plans to determine the best value. That is why it’s so important to work with an expert like SBIS to help you better understand the nuances of each policy option.

At SBIS we offer over 40 different health and dental plans and work on your side to ensure that the coverage you choose best suits your needs and your budget. If you run into difficulties settling a claim, we can serve as your advocate when negotiating with the insurer.

Give us a call at 1-800-667-0429 Monday to Friday, 8:45 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. ET. to find out how you can get a great health and dental insurance plan today.

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