People without health insurance usually seek less medical care and less timely care which can result in worse health outcomes. Why? Out of pocket expenses for healthcare can be too much of a burden for them and their families. The costs can make or break their financial stability.
Having health insurance is important for so many reasons. Canadians enjoy a safety-net of of physician and hospital care but that does not fully substitute for having the protection of health insurance.
Probably the most important reason is to have health insurance is the financial risk if you are faced with unexpected healthcare costs due to an accident or serious illness.
Here’s what you can be faced with.
Did you know that 44% of adults over age 20 will have at least one of ten common chronic health conditions in their lifetime according to the Public Health Agency?
Here are some typical treatment costs you might be faced with just three of these conditions
On average, Canadians today with type 2 diabetes have been living with their diagnosis for an average of 12.2 years¹. It’s estimated that people will pay anywhere from between $1,000 up to $5,000 per year out of pocket for medication and supplies, depending on how they manage their diabetes².
- High blood pressure
Of all chronic conditions, hypertension affects the most Canadians and almost half of all older adults. Adhering to treatment can increase your life expectancy and that usually includes taking prescription medication every day. Blood pressure and cholesterol medications easily cost over $500 each year.
When Canadians face cancer, their struggle is not just medical but also financial as your expenses rise to cover medications, the cost of medical travel, parking and home care costs. Depending on you province, costs for drugs not provided in a hospital setting and some medical devices may not be covered under your public healthcare plan. The burden of out-of-pocket costs can be unmanageable particularly for parents of children with cancer or those with high drug costs. The average treatment and recovery time for most cancers is about 30 weeks.
In addition to your health concerns, the stress of the added financial burden of needed healthcare can affect your emotional well-being.
Routine exams and cleaning for a couple (two annual cleanings each) can cost about $500 a year. What if you are chewing your favourite candy and a filling falls out? You could be looking at another $200 or so. And when that bridge breaks? That’s $3000 or more out-of-pocket.
The fact is 1 out of 3 Canadians has a significant dental care need every year. The problem is the high costs of dental treatments and preventative care means uninsured Canadians visit the dentist less often, delay visits, and are more likely to decline recommended care due to cost.
One of the biggest risks of going without dental insurance, and ultimately regular visits to the dentist, is the potential impact of poor oral health on your overall health. Poor oral health has been linked to many chronic health conditions, including diabetes and a host of respiratory diseases. Scientists are also investigating a link between poor oral health and added complications for pregnant women, including pre-term labour and low birth weight in their babies.
The reality is accessing mental health services can be a privilege for you or your family member if you are faced with sky-high cost for critical support. What is and isn’t covered by your public health plan varies.
Psychiatrists are covered by provincial/territorial health insurance in some provinces and territories like Alberta, Ontario, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Psychologists, psychotherapists and counsellors are not. In British Columbia and Manitoba therapy is only covered if it’s through a hospital or a mental health institution.
Most people that seek out mental health support are left paying out of pocket for sessions that can cost hundreds of dollars unless they have health insurance in place.
The financial challenges from out-of-pocket healthcare costs isn’t just short term. Many worry about having sufficient funds to support themselves in the long term and feel the weight of this added burden every day.
Many people seriously impacted by unexpected healthcare costs found the financial challenges surprising and unexpected. And that impact was also experienced by their family members.
While routine dental costs may be predictable, the healthcare expenses you don’t plan on can be very costly. What if you become ill and need expensive medication? What if you are injured and need to stay in the hospital…and then need expensive therapy to get back on your feet? It’s nearly impossible to save for all possibilities, but with a health insurance plan in place, you are covered.
By purchasing individual health and dental insurance, you can save on healthcare costs not covered by your provincial government plan, including expenses like prescription drugs, dental care, hearing aids, vision care, massage or chiropractic treatments and therapy sessions with a psychologist, psychotherapist or clinical counsellor.
Some individual health insurance plans are medically underwritten and some are guaranteed acceptance regardless of your health. 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 not qualify for high health insurance benefit limits, or for any coverage for your existing health conditions.
The biggest barrier to having health insurance is selecting the plan best suited to your needs and budget. Often, you’ve never had to purchase individual health coverage before and may find the terminology, options and process very confusing.
There are many different health insurance products to choose from. In fact, at SBIS we represent many of Canada’s leading insurance providers, with over 40 different plans to choose from. That’s why talking it over with one of our professionals is a good way to get valuable help. We know there will be at least one plan that will work just right for you.
At SBIS, we are experts you can trust. We help people figure out what plan to choose, what coverage they may need, and what their budget is, and then assist in actually signing up for the new plan.
When weighing the cost of healthcare vs. health insurance premiums, it’s important to look at more than just the dollars and cents. If you are unsure of how to balance the need for health and dental insurance against the family budget, working with SBIS can make all the difference.
Give us a call.