Do you need critical illness insurance? It can be hard to imagine yourself in a position where you might need to file a critical illness insurance claim; however, it is important to note that the most important thing to prepare for is not the possibility of being affected by a critical illness, but the emotional, physical, and financial costs of surviving that illness. Living with and even beyond a critical illness is challenging and costly. Your recovery may leave you with the cost of healthcare services, prescribed drugs and supplements, home care costs, costs of renovations or modifications to the home for new accessibility needs, childcare, and other expenses that may not be covered by your government health insurance plan. You may have to travel to get the medication or treatment you need, or you may simply need to travel to get into climate conditions that are more suitable to your psychological, emotional, or even physical healing. On top of all this, you have your regular household bills plus the potential disruption to your ability to work. The financial implications of a serious illness add up quickly.
Despite all of these probabilities, many people – Canadians especially – underestimate the financial impact a critical illness can cause. Why is it so common for Canadians to overlook their need for critical illness insurance? Well, we have free healthcare, right? So why should we need to invest more money in the financial securities we already have in place? The truth of the matter is that our healthcare doesn’t cover all of the expenses a critical illness can cause us to accumulate and the coverage it does provide may not arrive quickly enough if you are left sitting on the waiting list too long.
Let’s take a look at an example: imagine you’ve just been called into the doctor’s office. Your last test revealed that you have cancer and you need chemo therapy right away. In Ontario, your wait time to start retrieving treatment is four weeks or you could go to Buffalo and start treatment there tomorrow, but it will cost you $40,000. Critical illness insurance could help you pay that expense, and perhaps even the travel costs of getting to Buffalo for your treatment.
But that isn’t all. As we’ve already pointed out, your illness comes with other financial implications-like your sudden inability to work. All of a sudden, your day-to-day living expenses have become a lot more stressful, and all of this is compounded by the fact that your partner is also taking time off work to take you to medical appointments. Those bills are going to start to pile up, and even after you’ve been given a clean bill of health, you still need time to physically recover from your treatments (as well as from the overall psychological and emotional trauma). You aren’t going to want to rush right back to work to start tackling those bills.
Cancer isn’t the only illness that can have this impact. Critical illnesses like heart disease, diabetes, stroke, epilepsy, etc. have an equally severe physical, psychological, and financial impact.
How realistic is it to rely on alternative options?
Many people feel they can rely on their spouses, retirement savings, sale of assets, or government assistance in the event that they find themselves in need, but you don’t want to be left in a position where you have to hope that these options come through for you in a timely enough manner. In most cases, it just isn’t realistic to rely on these options. Plus, critical illness insurance provides you with additional benefits, like:
- Providing coverage for expenses that aren’t covered by our healthcare system: Critical illness insurance can help offset some of the costs of certain drug prescriptions or other treatments that you would otherwise have to pay for out-of-pocket.
- Protecting your retirement: You don’t want to eat into your retirement savings to accommodate the costs of your illness-those savings have their own purpose, and you don’t want to sacrifice your future lifestyle or your ability to retire when you want. Critical illness insurance offers the financial relief you need to prevent the necessity of dipping into those savings so you can keep your retirement plans on track.
Additionally, critical illness insurance is designed to:
- Reduce debt and other financial concerns while you cope with your illness
- Replace reduced or lost income for you and your spouse
- Cover the costs of bringing additional help into the home
- Provide you with the opportunity and ability to consider new medical treatments and medications that are not covered by private or government health insurance plans.