What Are You Waiting For?

Last week we learned that Michael Bublé is putting his career on hold because his son is battling liver cancer. Earlier in the year, the music world gathered at Gord Downie’s Tragically Hip farewell tour; Gord is battling brain cancer.These stories remind us that illness and death do not discriminate – young or old, rich or poor – it affects everyone of us.

Now is the Time 
We always think we have time to take care of the important things- but Michael and Gord would tell you otherwise (watch this interview with Gord https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wh96qMSDOH0 ). And especially for those of us who are self-employed, life can be very unpredictable. Taking care of the important things now, making sure you have solid healthcare coverage for yourself, your family and your business, will ensure that you and your loved ones have the means to deal with whatever medical issue comes into your life.

This blog is aimed at helping you understand the latest trends in health and healthcare in Canada today. As many of you have heard me say, the cost of healthcare is the biggest disrupter to our finances- what can you do to make sure you and your family are taken care of?

Michael Buble

Photo: Instagram

Although we have not yet found a way to prevent disease, medical advancements are such that Canadians today are surviving for years after their diagnoses, but their lives change dramatically. 1 in every 3 Canadians will be diagnosed with a Critical Illness before age 65, and half of those people will live 5 years past diagnoses. When a health issue arises, would you be able to get the care you need? Would you know where to turn to get help? Would you have the money you need not just to survive but to live life the way you want?

Won’t OHIP Take Care of Me?
According to Sunlife Financial more than 60% of Canadians between the ages of 20-50 do NOT have any critical illness coverage, Why? For one thing, many think the government will cover their healthcare costs- but that is far from true. With only a few exceptions, Canadians must pay for those costly drugs needed not just for terminal conditions like cancer, but also for more common chronic conditions such as high cholesterol, chronic pain and diabetes. What can you do to protect yourself and your family? Here are some tips, first steps you can take today:

  • Review your current healthcare coverage. Find out exactly what you are covered and not covered for. Most people I meet don’t know these details, but they are important to find out before you need any medical care. The main question is- how much drug coverage do you have?
  • Ask some hard questions.It’s not pleasant thinking about “what if” but it is always better to be proactive rather than reactive, you have more choices and better options when planning ahead. Some questions to ask:
    • “Who will take care of me should I be unable to take care of myself?” Setting up a Power Of Attorney for Health and Finances is key to making sure your wishes are followed
    •  “How will my family manage if I get sick?” Think about how much money you need monthly, and where would that come from
    • “Who will be in charge of my business?” Having money coming into your business should you not be able to manage things for a while can help, or having money to hire a replacement should you not be able to perform your duties
  • Crunch some numbers. Take a look at your savings and other assets, do you have enough to get you through a health crisis? Can insurance help you even in the short term? A lot has changed in the last few years; when was the last time you checked into:
    • critical illness insurance,
    • disability income protection,
    • long term care coverage and
    • health plans
Getting covered is more affordable than you think! Especially if you are self-employed, there are more possibilities than ever before to get the medical care you need. Would you rather pay a few hundred a month for insurance, or tens of thousands of dollars a month for medications?
Thinking about getting sick isn’t easy. But it’s necessary today in our world of rising healthcare costs. Awe head towards yearend and you set your goals for the coming year, put yourself, your family and your health at the top of the list.

Aviva Abraham is a group benefits and insurance advisor at Creative Planning. She has been providing healthcare solutions for self employed and business owners since 2010. You can reach her at aviva@cpfg.com or 416-545-5310.

Want to learn more about your health insurance options? Click here to request Aviva’s free report: Five Ways to Avoid Costly Out of Pocket Medical Expenses.

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