By: Sue Stephan
When someone asks you to contribute to the Terry Fox Run or support the fight against breast cancer, you may give because you know someone—a relative, a friend, a colleague—who has had to endure the pain and suffering that comes with cancer.
They aren't alone. Serious illnesses, including cancer, heart disease, and stroke, are the leading health issues facing Canadians today. The statistics back up what we already know is true: every year many people in this country need help to cope with critical health problems. Our probability of developing some form of cancer in our lifetime is one in three. No one expects to become very sick.
The good news is that more Canadians than ever are recovering from cancer and living after heart attacks and strokes.
These increased survival rates are adding challenges not only to our health care system, but also to our pocketbooks. The costs of recovering from a serious illness may put your finances in a less than healthy state. Here's a possible scenario you may face: like many victims of critical illnesses, you may have to stop working. If you have disability insurance, you may receive only a percentage of your normal salary or wage. Will it be enough to cover mortgage and car payments, monthly bills, and your children's education expenses if they're in college or university?
You may also need to spend a considerable portion of your income on things not covered by your health care plan. You could need renovations to your home, vehicle modifications, and devices to help you move around. You may have to pay for homecare, childcare, or therapy. Or your partner may want to take some time off work to help care for you. What if you decided to seek treatment or surgery outside of Canada? Most plans won't cover that expense. It would be frustrating and perhaps even devastating if you had to cut into your retirement savings to help you get through your recovery. Finally, compare your current plan with what critical illness insurance could provide. Your advisor can show you how this plan will help if an unexpected illness strikes.