MAY 05, 2023

By Kristen Mayne

No matter how well you take care of yourself, there’s still a chance you’ll get ill. Or you may have a health emergency. That fact might feel out of your hands. But you can take control by protecting yourself financially in case it happens.

Sure, an estimated 2 in 5 Canadians will develop cancer in their lifetimes.  But the good news is, because of advancements in medicine, 64% will survive for 5 years or more. But that also means you’ll need a way to pay for some things while you’re recovering. Canada's universal health-care system can help in many ways. Unfortunately, though, it doesn’t cover everything. With the cost of living, health care, and more on the rise, you might wonder if you can afford to get sick.

If you’re thinking about this now, that means you’re likely ready to get the ball rolling. And we have more good news: you have options to help protect your finances from a health crisis! Read on to see what your options are. It might help you feel happier knowing that everything will fall into place.

How can health-care costs add up?

A life-altering illness can take you by surprise. This can leave you vulnerable to growing expenses during a time of stress. And although some health problems are temporary, others could last longer term.  

The Canada Health Act provides access to hospital care and visits to doctors. But your provincial or federal plan may not cover other costs like prescription drugs. These costs can add up over time. You may also run up travel expenses if you live some distance from the hospital where you’re receiving treatment. 

How can emergency savings help when you're sick?

One way to protect yourself from the costs of life-altering illness is with emergency savings. An emergency fund is money you set aside in case of a financial problem – like a serious health event. It can help protect your financial stability and prevent you from having to borrow to pay for the unexpected. But those savings might not be enough, depending on the illness. That’s where insurance coverage can help make the biggest difference.

How can critical illness insurance help your finances when you're sick?

Do you have health benefits through work? If so, that typically reimburses* you for specified treatments, services, and medications. Critical illness insurance, on the other hand, takes a broader approach. It can help you take care of the expenses associated with a life-altering illness.

If you're diagnosed with an illness covered by your policy and survive the waiting period, you’ll receive a one-time payment. You can spend this money any way you wish.

Critical illness insurance can also be a source of income when you have a lull in cash flow. For example, let’s say an illness covered by your policy forces you to take time off work. Your short-term or long-term disability coverage may replace only part of your income. After the waiting period, you can use the critical illness insurance payment to help replace your lost income.

The funds can also help pay for:

  • Medication
  • Equipment
  • Travel
  • Supplies
  • Other out-of-pocket costs not covered through standard benefit plans

Where can you get critical illness insurance?

You can help protect yourself and your family from the financial risks of a life-altering illness now. While you’re still healthy you can either:

Apply online with Sun Life Go Express Critical Illness insurance. 

Work with a Sun Life advisor to understand your options and apply for insurance. 

*This coverage is sometimes subject to annual or lifetime limits. 

This article is meant to provide general information only. Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada does not provide legal, accounting, taxation, or other professional advice. Please seek advice from a qualified professional, including a thorough examination of your specific legal, accounting and tax situation.