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Embrace Wellness: How Health Insurance Can Transform Mental Health in Retirement

Smiling older man
When it comes to our health as we age, often we focus on physical health – managing a chronic condition or having support to recover from an accident. Its also critical to consider – do you have adequate financial support for your mental health and wellness?

When it comes to our health as we age, often we are attuned to our physical health – staying active, managing chronic disease to the best of our abilities, and working to avoid physically dangerous situations where we might be injured. But here is another thing to consider – do you have support for your mental health and wellness?

Mental illness affects people of all ages, education, income levels, and cultures; however, the challenges of growing older can worsen mental health and symptoms of mental illness, especially if mental health supports are difficult to access.

Mental illness is not a normal part of aging, and preparing to address stressors that you may face as a senior is vital to your overall wellness. The problem is that some healthcare options require out of pocket healthcare costs. That’s where health insurance can help.

What impacts our mental health as we age?

Most Canadians retire by the time they reach age 65. Retirement is a significant milestone – you stop working at your occupation and face a multitude of changes in your life. At the same time, you are in your senior years. It’s essential to recognize that change can significantly impact our mental health. Here’s why:

We may lose our routine and purpose

If you are used to working, you may not realize that the familiar routine of your tasks gave you a sense of achievement, with social and intellectual stimulation. Retirement means that routine disappears – and so can your sense of purpose, affecting your mental well-being and leaving you feeling sad and even depressed.

We can face social isolation

As we age, our physical changes such as hearing and vision loss, memory loss, and trouble getting around make it difficult to interact with other people regularly and be socially isolating.

We can face loneliness

The loss of a spouse, family and friends can also make it difficult to maintain social connections and can be emotionally overwhelming. Studies also show that older adults who feel lonely have a higher risk for heart disease, depression, and cognitive decline.

We may become less physically active because of health challenges

A shift to a more sedentary lifestyle not only impacts our physical health, but our mental health as well. And it compounds when we have physical health issues which can make us feel irritable and reduce our energy levels – leading to depression.

Smiling older woman hiding behind flowers

Health insurance coverage can reduce the risk of mental illness

The Canadian Coalition for Seniors’ Mental Health (CCSMH) works to ensure that seniors’ mental health is recognized as a key Canadian health and wellness issue. Their study shows health coverage can mediate the risk of developing mental illnesses.

Without health insurance coverage you may be less likely to seek out preventive services and support because of the fear of facing financial strain, which in turn contributes even more to feelings of stress and anxiety.

Having health insurance increases your opportunity to better manage both physical and mental health conditions by providing tools and assisting in covering costs for your care including

  • access to medical professionals for video consultations, eliminating the obstacles of travel and waiting room time delays, helping you shorten the cycle between identifying a health problem and implementing a clinical solution, making taking care of your health more convenient and easier than ever
  • tools to help you proactively work on your resiliency and wellbeing, and coverage to help you pay for medical support devices or experts like a dietician you may need – keeping you mentally fit and strong today and in the future
  • coverage for physical therapies to help with stress like massage or working with a naturopath which is not covered by your government health plan; the dollar amount covered per visit (if there is one) and the annual combined maximum benefit will be outlined in your health insurance plan.
  • motivational programs to help you focus and achieve your health goals
  • access to recent articles on finding care, managing your health, and preventing illness, provincial health resources and search tools to find a health facility or community support group in your area.

Health insurance even includes handy apps to download that can help you plan and manage your family’s health too – so you don’t have to worry about them.

Retirement health insurance will take care of more than your mental health

If you are leaving a group plan and apply for an individual health insurance plan within 90 days, many insurers will offer guaranteed acceptance. There is no underwriting required.

Your health insurance helps pay for medical services and products that are not covered by your provincial health plan. You will pay a monthly premium for your plan and can continue the coverage for your entire life.

There are many plan options, with different premiums, deductibles, and eligible services. Different plan designs offer different levels of coverage for prescription drugs and dental expenses, plus coverage for vision care, hearing aids, emergency medical travel coverage, registered specialists and therapists, ambulance, and in-home nursing care and more.

Some health insurance plans are medically underwritten, and some are guaranteed acceptance. Medically underwritten plans typically provide higher levels of coverage. However, if your health is not the best or you take a few medications on a regular basis, you may want to consider a guaranteed acceptance plan.

Remember seeking mental health support can make a significant difference

Retirement doesn’t have to be a time of anxiety, especially if you are ready to address and take care of your mental health. Of all the challenges that lie ahead as you age, managing your health is vital and you will benefit from having health insurance and using it as an important part of an overall wellness plan. At SBIS we have access to almost 50 different plans from many major insurance companies like Manulife, Greenshield Canada, GMS and HealthPlus. If you’re ready to start taking better care of your health, go online or contact us today. We can provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision about your health and dental insurance needs.

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