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Planning ahead can ease the challenge of a Critical Illness

Unexpected health problems can throw your plans and goals off track. Suffering a critical illness can be expensive especially when not all the bills are covered by provincial health care. With medical advancements, more people survive illnesses like cancer, stroke and heart disease. A person’s recovery can be long, difficult or financially detrimental.

Individuals can take action now to help protect their family’s lifestyle, savings and goals if they get sick later. If one is confronted with a serious illness and they have a critical illness policy, they can focus on their recovery and worry less about their finances.

A critical illness policy pays a one-time tax-free lump sum benefit after 30 days after diagnosis of a critical illness.

Critical illnesses covered under most plans include Alzheimer’s disease, aortic surgery, aplastic anaemia, bacterial meningitis, benign brain tumour, blindness, cancer (life-threatening), coma, coronary artery- bypass surgery, deafness, loss of limbs, heart attack, heart valve repair or replacement, kidney failure, loss of independent existence, loss of speech, major organ transplant, major organ failure on waiting list, motor neuron disease, multiple sclerosis, occupational HIV infection, paralysis, Parkinson’s disease, severe burns, stroke (cerebrovascular accident). Illnesses covered can vary in policies issued by the different life insurance companies.

Critical illness insurance can be used in many ways – there are no restrictions. The tax-free proceeds from a critical illness could be used for many purposes such as replacing your income while you take time off work to recover, paying for medical and wellness expenses not covered by your provincial health care plan, supplementing household income if your spouse needs to take time off work to support you, or to cover the expenses to seek alternative care or out of country treatment.

In Canada, 1 in 2 men and 1 in 2.2 women will develop cancer in their lifetime. Every year there are 70,000 heart attacks in Canada and more than 62,000 strokes.

The good news is more people are surviving illnesses more than ever before. In Canada, 60% of those diagnosed with cancer expect to survive, approximately 95% of Canadians who have a heart attack and are hospitalized survive this illness.

In 2020, Canada Life paid over 48 million dollars in claims for individually owned critical illness policies.  The illnesses related to the $48 million in claims at Canada Life are cancer (67%), heart attack (13%), stroke (5%), bypass surgery (3%), multiple sclerosis (3%) and other (9%).

Those that own a critical illness policy or receive a critical illness claim have the benefit to access world-renowned specialists through Best Doctors at no expense. Best Doctors brings together the best medical minds to help you get the best diagnosis, treatment and information.

Best Doctors was founded by Harvard Medical School physicians, Best Doctors has access to a global network of 50,000 peer-nominated physicians who represent the top 5% of the specialists in their fields. During the life of the policy, policy owners can use the services of Best Doctors for any medical condition as well as accessing medical expertise for their spouse and children under the age of 21 or age 25 if the child is a full-time student.

Morneau Shepell Ltd, a well-known counselling firm offers professional counselling, family support services, registered dieticians, legal and financial consultation, and online stress management services for up to one year after diagnosis of a covered Critical Illness for both the insured claimant and their primary caregiver.

A critical illness can be both emotionally, physically and financially draining. Individuals should have the protection they need when they need it the most.

Talk to your financial advisor. Get in touch.

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