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Understanding health insurance

September 26, 2017

Health insurance for each stage of your life

Personal health insurance. Critical illness insurance. Disability insurance. Long-term care insurance. Here’s a quick way to compare their key features.

Government health insurance doesn't cover all the healthcare costs you're likely to run into at some point in your life. To protect your income and your savings from healthcare costs, there are various types of health insurance.

During your working years, you can use health insurance to protect your family income. As you move toward retirement, it becomes more important to protect your savings.

How do you know which kind of health insurance to choose at which stage of your life? These charts are a good starting point. An advisor can help you understand the different products available, how they fit together and the protection they provide against specific financial risks.

Comparing health insurance

Here's a quick comparison of the four kinds of health insurance – personal health insurance, disability insurance, critical illness insurance and long-term care insurance: what they cover, when and how they pay, and who should consider them.

  Personal health insurance Disability insurance Critical illness insurance Long term care insurance
What it covers
  • Medical, dental and other healthcare expenses not covered or not fully covered by your provincial or employer plan
  • Replacement of part of your income if you can't work
  • Expenses related to coping with and recovering from a serious illness
  • Cost of your care over an extended period
When it pays a  benefit
  • When you incur eligible expenses
  • When you can't work (as defined by your policy)
  • When you're diagnosed with one of the illnesses listed in your policy and you meet the policy requirements
  • When you can't perform two or more activities of daily living or you need continual supervision because your mental abilities have deteriorated
How it pays a benefit
  • Reimbursement for eligible expenses that you submit
  • A regular monthly payment
  • A lump-sum cash payment
  • Reimbursement for  your expenses or a regular payment to cover the cost of care
You should consider it if…
  • You're a small business owner, self-employed or a contract worker

  • You're leaving your group plan because you've retired or been let go

  • You don't have group insurance
  • You're a working-age adult who relies on your income
  • You want to protect your assets during recovery from a serious illness
  • You want to provide lifetime protection for your children or grandchildren

  • You want options for your care and treatment
  • You want to protect your assets for retirement and/or to leave to your heirs

  • You want flexibility and control so you won't have to rely on the government or depend on family members for your care

  • You want the freedom and ability to choose the level of care you need

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