Thursday, February 10, 2011

Better than lemonade -- critical info about insurance.

There’s an old saying: When life hands you lemons, make lemonade. That’s a commendably positive and proactive way of looking at what might otherwise be a very gloomy life event. But life is always unpredictable and can throw you some real curves – and that’s where critical illness insurance comes in.

If you think a critical illness couldn’t happen to you, think again:
  • An estimated 166,400 new cases of cancer occured in Canada in 2008. *
  • Heart attacks strike 70,000 Canadians each year. **
  • Almost one quarter of Canadians had to personally care for a family member or close friend with a serious health problem during the past year – many had to use personal savings during this time and take a month or more off work to care for this person. ***
That’s a bit of bad news – here’s some better news:
  • Mortality rates from heart disease and stroke have decreased by 70% since 1952. ****
  • While women have a 1 in 9 chance of developing breast cancer, they have only a 1 in 27 chance of dying from it. *****
  • While men have a 1 in 7 chance of developing prostate cancer, they have only a 1 in 26 chance of dying from it. *****

Plenty of Canadians expect that provincial or employee health plans will pay critical illness expenses but many expenses – such as travel, day care and home care – are often not covered. Nor are some drugs, private treatment, or the costs for medical treatments outside Canada.

The first few months following the diagnosis of a critical illness are often the most critical in terms of emotional and physical trauma and expense. That’s when the benefits of critical illness insurance really kick in. With this type of insurance, you receive the ‘living benefit’ of a lump sum cash payment (once you’ve satisfied the waiting period) for any life-altering illness covered by your policy, usually including the most common such as cancer, heart attack, and stroke.

The money is yours to use any way you wish, and with current tax legislation is paid out as a tax free benefit. Pay your medical bills, replace lost income, pay your mortgage, hire a nurse or caregiver, or even retrofit your house or vehicle to accommodate a wheelchair or chairlift – the choice is yours.

If a critical illness strikes, you want to be able to focus on your recovery and not be distracted or defeated by the extra costs. Talk to your professional advisor about how critical illness insurance – and perhaps other forms of insurance protection – fit into your lifelong financial plan.

* Canadian Cancer Society, General Cancer Stats for 2008,
www.cancer.ca

** Heart and Stroke Foundation, Statistics,
www.heartandstroke.com

*** 10th Annual Health Care in Canada Survey, February 2008
**** Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, 2002
***** Canadian Cancer Society, 2006

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