What Happens When Marijuana Becomes Legal in 2018?

Last year, Canada set in motion plans to legalize marijuana use by July 1, 2018. Ontario is the first province to announce its plans to sell and distribute recreational marijuana once it becomes legal. (Note: medical marijuana has been legal since 2015).

The proposed strategy would be to regulate marijuana providers and supervise quality control of the supply chain – similar to the regulation and control of alcohol and tobacco use.

So what does this mean for Canadians? Some of the most common questions I’m hearing are:

1. “Will I be able to purchase marijuana anywhere?”

No! Distribution and sale will only be legal if purchased through approved providers – exactly who would be able to sell marijuana in Canada is still being determined. So far, Ontario has announced plans to open 80 stand-alone stores by July 1, 2019.

2. “Can I grow or produce my own marijuana?”

No! It will still be illegal to:

  • Possess or distribute a budding or flowering plant
  • Possess or distribute more than 4 non-budding plants
  • Possessing more than 30 dried grams in public

3. “Once people buy marijuana, where can they smoke it?”
​​
Unlike regular cigarettes and cigars, consuming the drug will only be allowed in private residences. It will be prohibited in public spaces, cars or workplaces; users won’t be able to smoke in a park, or at their desk at work.

4. “What if I observe someone getting high at work?”

The government is asking employers across Canada to implement and/or update their workplace policies.  Recreational use of marijuana would be dealt in a similar manner to that of someone who comes to work drunk or behaves incorrectly in the work environment. In the event an employee is unclear on how to handle a situation at work, it’s important that they’re able to discuss this with their employer as soon as possible.

5. “What about employees who use marijuana for medical purposes?” 

The government is now requiring all employers to establish workplace policies to protect employers and employees. Medical marijuana laws are different than those for recreational users since it is necessary for health reasons, I will cover this issue in a future post.

Want to find out more about marijuana in the workplace and other healthcare issues?  Contact me for a complimentary 30-minute consultation.

To learn more about the cannabis industry, check out Marcus Lemonis’ documentary on CNBC as he unfolds why cannabis production is booming across North America.

 

 

Aviva Abraham is a group benefits and insurance advisor at Creative Planning. She has been providing healthcare solutions for self employed and business owners since 2010. 

Know Anyone Getting Divorced?

3 Questions Commonly Asked About Insurance And Divorce

It’s estimated that 48% of marriages will end in divorce. It’s a stressful and difficult time, even if the divorce is amicable. There are many details to sort through and agree upon, including insurance coverage.

Here are 3 questions people always ask me about insurance coverage during and after divorce:

  1. How can I provide insurance for spousal and/or child support if I have health issues? It’s possible in many cases to get insurance coverage, depending what your health issues are and how long ago you were diagnosed. There are insurers who provide coverage though it’ll be at slightly higher than standard rates.
  1. Can I use an existing policy to cover my support obligation? Just name your ex- partner or child as irrevocable beneficiary for some or all of the policy until your obligation is over, no need to hassle about getting a new policy.
  1. What is the cheapest way to get both parties covered to protect the children? A popular, and less expensive option today is to take a joint and first to die policy, which means there is one policy, and only one payout (which is why it is cheaper), on whomever dies first.

And here’s a question many separating couples don’t consider:

How much will it cost to get new health insurance? 

Too often I hear about women losing their ex-husband’s group coverage, and had no idea how expensive it would be to get coverage on their own. Some don’t even qualify for plans similar to what they used to have due to health challenges. This issue needs to be addressed during the divorce process.

 

Thinking about splitting up? Need advice before making a move?

Here are 2 trusted advisors who can help:

Bev LewisPositive Solution Mediation Services
Bev helps couples and families going through divorce by providing mediation services. Her clients leave with a legal separation agreement in a fraction of the time and cost of going through lawyers and the courts.

Michael ShusterShuster Real Estate Group
Michael is the first and currently the only Divorce Real Estate Broker in Canada, specializing in all the details one needs to know when selling a home due to separation and divorce.

 

Know anyone going through divorce? Share this post with them.

Have questions about finding the right life and health insurance? Need a review of your existing insurance coverage? Contact me today for your complimentary 30 minute consultation.

Aviva Abraham is a group benefits and insurance advisor at Creative Planning. She has been providing healthcare solutions for self employed and business owners since 2010. 

Rethinking the War on Cancer

In the last 20 years, we’ve seen great advances in both cancer screening and diagnoses, which has led to more aggressive treatments for cancer patients.
But have we actually made any real progress in the War on Cancer? 

Recently, the medical community has started questioning these aggressive treatments and their effectiveness in our ongoing battle with this devastating disease. Why? They’ve found that cancer survival rates have increased, but very minimally, and for some cancers, not at all.

Read the article from the National Post here

Although we’ve made progress, the facts are:

  • Overall survival rates are at 60%, in the 1970s it was at 50%, only a 10% improvement in 40 years.
  • Experts are estimating new diagnoses will increase 40% by 2030.
  • Fewer than half new cancer drugs available today prolong survival by more than a few months compared to older drugs.

So we must ask ourselves if it’s time to rethink this War on Cancer.

Thyroid Cancer

Last year, the World Health Agency said that they believe 1/2 million people in a dozen countries including Canada have been overdiagnosed with thyroid cancer in the last ten years! To date, they’ve not found a way to undeniably distinguish between a low-risk lesion from one that will grow and spread so they’ve been treating everything they find. As soon as patients learn that they have a tumour, they’re anxious to have it removed immediately and undergo treatment. It’s difficult to convince patients that doing more is not necessarily helpful, and could be harmful: Chemo and radiation treatments can damage the heart, brain, and lungs.

Breast Cancer
When doctors began detecting ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), they thought aggressive treatment would prevent invasive cancer, but it hasn’t; breast cancer rates have not fallen. Some doctors are now suggesting that women be given time to weigh their options, instead of treating immediately.

Prostate cancer
Doctors are now recommending active surveillance instead of aggressive surgery and treatment. A few years ago, Dr. Klotz, a Toronto oncologist, and order of Canada recipient advanced this approach with prostate and today, this is the normal course of treatment used in low-risk cases.

Conclusion
This is a highly emotional and sensitive topic, but one that’s worth addressing. There’s not enough conclusive evidence as the medical community continues to monitor and study the situation but we have enough information to cause concern about our current approach.

What do you think?
Do you believe aggressive treatment is the only answer, or would you consider active monitoring if you or a loved one was diagnosed with cancer?

Want to learn more about your healthcare solutions? Contact me for a complimentary 30-minute consultation.

Aviva Abraham is a group benefits and insurance advisor at Creative Planning. She has been providing healthcare solutions for self-employed and business owners since 2010. 

 

Money in the bank

5 Pitfalls of Bank Mortgage Insurance

 

Cory’s story

Susan and Cory bought their first home in Vaughan in 2012; they were excited and a bit overwhelmed. There were so many decisions to make, so when their bank offered them mortgage insurance, they immediately accepted it. What they didn’t know was that it protected the bank more than it protected them. When Cory got sick with cancer a year later, they found out that they were in fact not covered – the bank discovered that Cory forgot to disclose an illness from ten years ago and their claim was denied. (Read what Toronto Star’s Ellen Roseman wrote about mortgage insurance here).

Why shouldn’t you buy mortgage insurance from your bank?

Although mortgage insurance is easy and convenient to obtain from your bank, it is to your advantage to  apply for individually owned term life insurance.

Here are 5 reasons why not to use your bank for mortgage insurance, and how term insurance protects your family in ways your bank cannot:

#1 Bank mortgage insurance protects the bank, not your family.
The money is paid out to your bank, not your family. Term life insurance gets paid directly to your family to use as they need.

 

#2 Bank mortgage insurance coverage declines as your mortgage balance is paid down.
You continue to pay the same premiums even though your actual coverage is reduced each year. Term life coverage remains the same throughout.

 

#3 Bank insurance rates are higher than term insurance rates.
Since they don’t do a full medical assessment to determine your health and risk of dying, you pay significantly more than if you would purchase an individual policy.

 

#4 Banks only do medical underwriting at claim time, not at the time of application.
Should the bank discover an issue, as in Cory’s case, they can deny your claim. Getting medically underwritten for individual term insurance avoids that problem.

 

#5 Bank mortgage insurance is non-transferable when you move.
When you move houses or lenders, you must take new mortgage insurance each time; with term insurance, you can keep your coverage no matter how many times you move.

 

 

Have questions about your mortgage or other insurance? Want to find out how you can save money on your insurance costs? Contact me for a complimentary 30-minute consultation.

Aviva Abraham is a group benefits and insurance advisor at Creative Planning. She has been providing healthcare solutions for self-employed and business owners since 2010. 

Can You Get Your Medications Covered By The Government? ​​

3 Things You Need to Know About the Trillium Drug Program

Colin’s Story

Colin (name changed to protect his privacy), a 45-year-old owner of a men’s retail store, hadn’t been feeling well for weeks but doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong with him. It got to a point where he couldn’t get out of bed and take care of his customers. Now he had medical and financial difficulties.

Finally, Colin was referred to a new doctor, and after some more blood tests, the doctor told him he had a virus that attacked his vascular system. The good news was, it was treatable. The bad news? If it wasn’t treated within the week, he could die.

Fortunately for him, there was a new drug on the market that could help, but it cost $20,000. Colin didn’t have healthcare coverage or that kind of money, but friends and family pulled together to help him. Slowly, he has been recovering but it has taken months!

Thankfully Colin was advised to apply to the Trillium Drug Program to help with these costs. Once he was approved, they picked up most of the cost of this drug, and reimbursed him for the first round that he paid for.

 

What is the Trillium Drug Program?

Trillium is a provincial government program that helps Canadians who are struggling to pay for high cosColin’s Story
Colin (name changed to protect his privacy), a 45-year-old owner of a men’s retail store, hadn’t been feeling well for weeks but doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong with him. It got to a point where he couldn’t get out of bed and take care of his customers. Now he had medical and financial difficulties.

 

3 Things You need to Know About Getting Covered by Trillium

  1. Eligibility: You must be an Ontario resident, spending a large portion of your income on high-cost medications.
  2. Coverage: There are over 3,800 drugs approved to be covered under this plan, another few hundred that are partially covered. Unfortunately, many new specialty high-cost drugs are not covered at all.
  3. Deductible: Trillium requires Canadians to pay the equivalent of 4% of net income as a deductible, before they begin covering any costs

Do you or someone you know take high-cost prescription medication for a chronic or critical condition? 

Find out more about Trillium Drug Program  here, including what’s covered and how to apply.

 

Want to find out how you can avoid out-of-pocket medical expenses and get the healthcare coverage you need? Contact me for a complimentary 30-minute healthcare strategy session.

Aviva Abraham is a group benefits and insurance advisor at Creative Planning. She has been providing healthcare solutions for self-employed and business owners since 2010. You can reach her at aviva@cpfg.com or 416-545-5310.

 

The Hospital Handbook

Free E-Guide To Help You During Your Hospital Stay

Checking into a hospital can be a complicated and confusing experience.  Often we’re not prepared for it. That’s why a group of 25 seniors from Kingston,Ontario got together, shared their real life experiences and wisdom of how they had survived hospital visits over the years. With assistance from OpenLab, they created an amazing Ebook called: “From Patients Who Know: A Hospital Handbook”.

As they aptly put it – “going to the hospital can sometimes feel like you’re traveling to a foreign country….think of this Handbook as your travel guide.” There are dozens of useful tips, guidelines, and other helpful ideas to make your hospital stay more comfortable.

Know anyone going into a hospital for a few days?

Download your free copy here and forward this to anyone you know who will be staying in a hospital to help make their stay easier.

 

Want to learn more about your healthcare solutions? Contact me for a complimentary 30-minute healthcare strategy session.

Aviva Abraham is a group benefits and insurance advisor at Creative Planning. She has been providing healthcare solutions for self employed and business owners since 2010.

Man getting wealth/money bag

Largest Transfer of Wealth Coming Your Way

​​Are You Prepared?

Man getting wealth/money bag

Over $400 billion is going to be inherited in the next 10 years- the largest transfer of wealth in Canada’s history, but a new study shows that 75% of us are not prepared!  (Read about it here).

 

Just writing a will is not enough
It’s important that family assets are passed on in the most tax efficient way. With the recent changes to tax law and increased personal tax rates, it’s more important than ever to speak with an estate lawyer- there are some simple yet basic strategies to minimize your tax liability.

 

What does this mean for you?
Without a proper estate plan, more money is spent on litigation, taxes and other fees; less money is distributed to heirs. Unbelievably, the study found that only 22% of high net worth Canadians- the ones with the most money to lose- say they have a detailed inheritance plan.

 

What can you do?
Too many Canadians don’t consider themselves “wealthy” (Canadians are still very modest!)  -they don’t feel they need to have an estate plan, but whatever size your estate is, don’t you want it distributed as per your wishes?

 

Here are some actionable items to help get you started:

  • Have a conversation with your children: it’s difficult but necessary. By understanding their wishes and working it out now, stress and possible legal battles in the future would be eliminated.
  • Make sure your  key documents and accounts are kept in a safe place the family could access.
  • Meet with an estate lawyer: find out how family assets could be passed on to the next generation in the most tax effective way.
  • Donate some assets to Charity: you get a full tax receipt, and no capital gains tax!
  • Forward this to other family members whom you know have not done any planning!

 

Want to find out more about how you can hold onto more of your assets? Contact me for a complimentary 30 minutes consultation …

 

Aviva Abraham is a group benefits and insurance advisor at Creative Planning. She has been providing healthcare solutions for self employed and business owners since 2010. You can reach her at aviva@cpfg.com or 416-545-5310.

3 Big Secrets The Wealthy Know About Insurance

High net worth Canadians know that insurance is a creative tool that protects their wealth, and provides cash when needed most.
It can help you in the same way, if you take the time to understand some of the secrets the wealthy know about life insurance:

 

Secret #1 Life Insurance is a business tool

If you are a business owner insurance can add value to your business in 2 ways:

· Key person insurance- your business would suffer greatly should you (or a key employee) become seriously ill or suddenly die. Life insurance provides an infusion of cash that could allow your business to survive and give it the opportunity to continue should you (or a key employee) not be around for a period of time.

· Tax Free Payout of Corporate Funds: when insurance policies are owned by your corporation it creates a tax free dividend payout upon your death, allowing shareholders to receive otherwise trapped corporate funds tax free.

 

Secret #2 Life Insurance is an investment tool

Permanent life insurance also acts as a stable, guaranteed investment. It’s used by the wealthy as part of a diversified portfolio; all funds invested within the policy grow tax free and are paid out tax free at death. There are options in certain cases to borrow against an insurance policy for business purposes or for retirement needs.

 

Secret #3 Life Insurance is a financial planning tool

Many Canadians are asset rich but cash poor.

You’d be amazed at the stories I can tell you of successful professionals and business owners who passed away unexpectedly, leaving their families with debt and no cash. The new piece of equipment they just bought, the bank loan they needed, the deal they lost- timing is never good when someone gets sick or dies.

 
Life insurance gives your loved ones the money they need to pay off debt (business debt or mortgage debt) and to continue to have the income they need for years to come.

 Want to find out more about how you can use life insurance as a creative planning tool? Contact me today!

 
Aviva Abraham is a group benefits and insurance advisor at Creative Planning. She has been providing healthcare solutions for self employed and business owners since 2010. You can reach her at aviva@cpfg.com or 416-545-5310.

3 Mistakes To Avoid When Buying Life And Health Insurance

Buying Life Insurance

 

Today there are dozens of companies offering life insurance, you can even purchase it online! How do you know which company and what coverage is best for you?

Let’s face it, buying insurance is a key part of your financial plan and an important decision for yourself and your family. So you want to get the best insurance plan, one that will protect you for the next 10 – 20 years at the very least.

Here are a few tips, things to be aware of when purchasing life and health insurance:

Don’t Buy Life Insurance from a Captive Agent

A captive agent is an agent who works for only one insurance company. It’s like buying a “one size fits all” when, in reality, one size only fits only a few!  And since captive agents can’t shop around for you, you can’t necessarily get the best policy and best pricing.  You can only get what that one company has to offer.

Don’t Buy Life Insurance from the Internet

Using an online search engine can be a way to get important initial information for your insurance needs. However, it will not give you all the pertinent information you need, you could miss out on key issues that need to be addressed. Talking with a live agent though, will give you answers to questions and give you a better idea of different options that would best suit your specific needs.  Once you fill out an application, a live agent can also help negotiate the best deal for you, especially if there is a medical or any other issue involved.

Don’t Buy Life Insurance from Your Auto Insurance, Your Bank or Your Credit Card Company

You might get what seems like a great offer on life insurance from your bank, credit card or automobile insurance carrier. But don’t be fooled. Life insurance is just a sideline for these companies. These agents may know their auto insurance and bank products, but do they know all the ins and outs of life insurance? It pays to speak with a specialist to get the best coverage you can for yourself and your family.

Read here about the recent exposé by CBC news about certain banks putting pressure on clients to buy products even if it was not in their best interest. Rob Carrick wrote an article for the Globe and Mail explaining what you shouldn’t buy from the bank – insurance was one of them!

Moreover, have you read the fine print? Do they guarantee a payout or do they require medical history when you make a claim? You don’t want to find out at claim time that you are not covered after years of paying premiums!

Have questions about finding the right life and health insurance? Need a review of your existing insurance coverage? Contact me today for your complimentary 30 minute Insurance Consultation.

Aviva Abraham is a group benefits and insurance advisor at Creative Planning. She has been providing healthcare solutions for self employed and business owners since 2010. You can reach her at aviva@cpfg.com or 416-545-5310.
Wait time for insurance

How Long Will You Have To Wait?

Healthcare Wait Times Rise to 20 Weeks

Wait time for insurance

Yes, you read it right. A recent survey conducted by Fraser Institute showed a median wait time of 20 weeks for medically necessary procedures in 2016!

How long will you have to wait?

Depending on the type of procedure here are average times across the country-
Neurosurgery 46.9 weeks
Orthopedic surgery 38 weeks
Gynecology 18.8 weeks
Urology 16.2 week
Meanwhile, daily life becomes more of a challenge….do you put your life on hold for months before you receive the care you need?Due to these long wait times Canadians don’t take the time to go for a second opinion. But the Globe and Mail published an article in 2012 showing that:

* 10-15% of Canadians are misdiagnosed

* when going for a second opinion, 33% of oncology patients received different opinions

* 50% of the time those second opinions offered a completely different treatment & prognosis!

So…what can you do to get the best medical care when you need it most?

Canadians who have the financial resources have gone to the United States to have their procedures. Those procedures can cost $100,000 or more; transplants cost up to $1,000,000! And these costs keep escalating. So what if you don’t have the hundreds of thousands of dollars for these procedures? And what if you don’t want to put your life on hold and wait months to get care here in Canada? Recently, innovative global healthcare access has been made available to Canadians which provides timely access to:

1. Over 50,000 top medical specialists worldwide

2. Second opinion on medical diagnosis

3. Diagnostic testing to determine undiagnosed health issues

4. Coverage for surgery, treatment, hospital stay and procedures with those specialists

We live in a global economy; businesses are global, communication and travel is global, why shouldn’t your access to healthcare be global?

To find out how you can get access to the world’s top medical specialists and global healthcare, Contact me today for your complimentary 30-minute healthcare strategy session!

Want more tips on how to avoid out of pocket medical expenses? Get my free e-report: 5 Ways To Avoid Costly Out Of Pocket Medical Expenses.

Aviva Abraham is a group benefits and insurance advisor at Creative Planning. She has been providing healthcare solutions for self employed and business owners since 2010. You can reach her at aviva@cpfg.com or 416-545-5310