For a majority of Canadians approaching retirement age, declining health is, understandably, their number one concern. In a recent RBC Retirement Myths and Realities Poll, 70 percent of younger baby boomers, categorized as being between the ages of 50-59, said they were most worried about preparing for and dealing with health problems. In order to deal with those issues, many boomers can turn to health and life insurance planning to ease their concerns.
A major reason for this stated concern comes from many aging Canadians not having a financial plan for long-term care. According to estimates by the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association (CLHIA), baby boomers will require $1.2 trillion in long-term care needs, and only half of that will be covered by the government. Furthermore, a recent poll conducted by CLHIA found that 67 percent of Canadians who are 60 or older have not put together a financial plan to cover those costs. Continue reading
Canadians are in agreement about the need to reform prescription drug policy, an important part of overall Canadian healthcare.
According to Leger Marketing polling data released by the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association, more than 90 percent of Canadians want lower prescription prices and 81 percent desire one price for a prescription drug regardless of public or private coverage, or if they pay out of pocket.
Private payers taking on much of the insurance costs
A recent report from the CLHIA detailed the need for reform in the way the Canadian healthcare system handles the delivery of prescription drugs amongst the provinces. The report explained that the trends in the industry are leading to higher costs for payers, both public and private. The CLHIA indicated as recently as 2011, "life and health insurers made benefit payments for prescription drugs of $10.1 billion and private payers accounted for roughly 55 per cent of all prescription drug purchases." Continue reading
While all Canadian citizens and permanent residents are eligible for public health insurance, it’s important to remember that not all services you require may be covered under your province or territory's health insurance plan. Things such as dental care, private hospital rooms and prescription drug costs may need to be covered by private health insurance. While this can result in more expenses, it doesn’t mean you have to pay exorbitant amounts of money for quality healthcare. By using smart strategies, you can limit your costs and ensure that you’re saving money on your health insurance.
If you’re looking for the best deal on a purchase, it’s vital to shop around and compare prices. Every health insurance policy is different, and taking the time to find a policy that suits your needs can pay off big when it comes to costs. Research different health insurance companies. Speak to family and friends about their health insurance plans. Read reviews online. Something as important as health insurance shouldn’t be rushed into, especially if you’re looking to save money. Continue reading
Despite news about the strong Canadian economy and continual positive ratings from some of the toughest critics in the biz, the news isn't all great for everyone everywhere. As a matter of fact, the healthcare industry has been riddled with negative news for the last few weeks.
Residents in Welland, Ontario, are dealing with the prospect of not having a hospital in their town – a possibility after the city also lost the school system's administrative headquarters, land registry office, provincial offenses court, driving test center and various local businesses – and 170 people will lose their jobs when pharmaceutical giant Boehringer Ingelheim closes its medical research facility in Laval, Quebec.
Then, news reports tell the story of a 66-year-old Toronto woman diagnosed with a rare blood disease who is facing difficulty obtaining a life-saving drug that controls internal bleeding and costs $4,000 per month. The drug is not covered by Ontario Health Insurance.
Although the age-old adage centers around the idea that no news is good news, we can only safely assume that these aren't the only instances of hospitals, medical research facilities and treatments becoming unavailable for the betterment of the public's health. However, tech-savvy Canadians may be able to take control of their health and positively impact their medical future using something that may fit into the palm of their hand: Smartphones. Continue reading
The rising cost of providing health insurance to employees is starting to slow a little bit for employers, a new study found. Overall, premiums are expected to increase by 11.7 percent this year, down from 14.4 percent in 2011.
According to Sandra Pellegrini of Buck Consultants, the group that conducted the survey, there are two reasons for the slow down in price growth:
• The price of prescription drugs has dropped precipitously in some provinces following the implementation of generic drug pricing reforms in 2010
• Expired patents on some big-name drugs have allowed more low-cost options to become available
It sounds a little weird to say, "Good news! Your costs are going up by almost 12 percent!" but it's certainly an improvement over previous years' cost inflations. Buck Consultants Managing Director Joseph Ricciuti had some advice for employers who still find the increases a little hard to manage: Continue reading
Everyone enjoys a good trip now and again. What could be more adventurous than embarking on a journey abroad, to Europe, Australia or the States. More and more, though, people are taking these trips not for fun and relaxation, but for urgent medical care they can't receive at home in Canada.
The Fraser Group, a Canadian think tank that analyzes, among other things, the state of Canadian healthcare, recently released a report on the number of Canadians seeking medical care abroad during 2011. In most provinces, there was a marked increase in the number of people traveling for care last year:
• British Columbia: 9,180 in 2011 – up from 5,565
• Saskatchewan: 1,221 – up from 943
• Manitoba: 1,436 – up from 933
• New Brunswick: 526 – up from 282
• Nova Scotia: 1,271 – up from 851
In fact, Ontario was the only province found to have a decrease in the number of residents seeking care outside the country, falling from 23,192 to 18,172. The group could not compare numbers from Quebec or Alberta, or from the country as a whole, due to a lack of data. Continue reading
Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear medicare, happy birthday to you! Canada's healthcare system turned 50 years old recently, and Canadians are "celebrating" by suggesting reforms for the system.
Let's start with a brief history of the Canadian medicare system, courtesy of the Canadian Health Coalition:
• 1947 – First provincial hospital insurance program introduced in Saskatchewan
• 1957 – National hospital insurance program introduced – doctors, insurers and businesses hate it
• 1960 – Canadian Medical Association openly opposes public funding for healthcare
• 1962 – First public healthcare program introduced in Saskatchewan – doctors, insurers and businesses hate it
Although it wasn't until 1966 that the entire nation had access to healthcare, the seeds were sown in '62, and that's the occasion we're celebrating today. Continue reading
There has been an interesting rallying cry coming from Americans who are dissatisfied with the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling regarding the expansion of healthcare in that country: They want to leave behind their newfound "socialized medicine" – and move to Canada.
Are you done laughing yet? How interesting that Americans who for some reason loathe the notion of paying higher taxes for a national healthcare system would seek solace in Canada. As journalist David Lindorff pointed out in an opinion piece for OpEdNews.com, our healthcare system is WAY more "socialist" than the new U.S. healthcare system. Physician fees are set by the government and citizens pay taxes that go to the Medicare system.
"Canada's Medicare-for-all program is not socialist in the way that the British National Health program is socialist – with UK hospitals owned by the government and UK doctors receiving state salaries," Lindorff said. "Doctors in Canada still are private entrepreneurs, but their fees for service are set by the provincial governments. Hospitals can also be private, but patients only pay a nominal charge for treatment in them. Their costs and their reimbursements are negotiated by governments." Continue reading
Canadians sometimes can't help but to overhear the noise and calamity coming from our southerly neighbors in America. The latest furor that may have caught your attention is the brouhaha over healthcare reform.
The U.S. Supreme Court recently upheld a law requiring all Americans to buy health insurance, which will – theoretically – have the effect of lowering the cost of coverage for everyone, allowing more people to have access to treatments. In a uniquely American way, many U.S. citizens have reacted negatively to the ruling, for some reason decrying the notion that their fellow countrymen should be given affordable medical coverage.
Canadians and Europeans have reacted with what can only be described as a kind of bemused bafflement. Even the American papers have picked up on this, pointing out some of the international response to the American outrage over affordable healthcare.
The Los Angeles Times recently highlighted some Twitter posts from people across the world who shared their opinion on the situation:
• France: “At least USA becomes a modern nation! Soon even the education could be good!”
• Germany: “Dear Americans. Health insurance is very important for your health and life. Don’t forget. We have it in Germany.”
• The Netherlands: “I’m forced to pay health insurance here in the [Netherlands] … not as bad as I would have imagined.” Continue reading
They say the waiting is the hardest part. That's true, but a new report from public policy research firm the Fraser Institute found that it's not only hard, it's costly, too.
The Fraser Institute is renowned for its many reports detailing the state of the Canadian healthcare system and the efforts to reduce wait times. Its most recent analysis of the time spent waiting for specialist care, released last December, found Canadians could wait 9.5 weeks for treatment, though that number varies significantly province to province.
In a new report released June 20, researchers at the firm decided to figure out just how much that costs Canada each year in lost productivity. They used some of the following statistics to arrive at a total:
• The median wait time for treatment after making an appointment with a specialist is 9.5 weeks
• The nominal average hourly wage in Canada across all industries, is $22.99
• The average weekly wage is $840.06 Continue reading