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

The Financial Cost of Cancer: 3 Ways To Be More Prepared

 

For Part 2 of National Cancer Month, I wanted to focus on the financial cost of dealing with cancer. Why? Because it’s a subject that is rarely discussed, even though 1 in every 2 Canadians are expected to be diagnosed with cancer! With the rising costs of specialty drugs, would you have the money you need to get the care you deserve?

Fact: Cancer accounts for 30% of all deaths in Canada each year. In 2016 there were 202,400 new cases diagnosed, and 78,800 deaths. That means every day last year 550 people were told they have cancer, and each day 215 Canadians died from it.

Fact: Research shows that 90% of people living with cancer suffer from the financial impact due to their diagnoses. Whether it’s over $3 billion annually in lost wages, or the $100,000 specialty drugs, or the recurring $25 hospital parking fees- there are many expenses associated with cancer that patients and their families suddenly have to pay for once diagnosed.

In a video interview for the Globe and Mail, Pamela Bowes, manager of program development at WellSpring Cancer Support Network said “The biggest myth about cancer is that people think ‘if I’m diagnosed with cancer, everything just falls into place. The money is there, the services are there and the costs are not going to be felt by me’, but that is not true.”

Fact: More than 50% of Canadians diagnosed with cancer today live five or more years after their initial diagnoses. However, their lives are very different than before. What many people don’t realize is that especially when it comes to cancer medications-and particularly in Ontario- our government does not cover a lot of these costs.

3 Tips To Protect Your Finances and Get the Medical Care You Need

The best way to protect your finances is through insurance. But it’s important to get the right kind of coverage, since there are many different insurance products on the market today. Of course it also depends on your personal and financial situation but start by checking out these options first:

  1. Get Catastrophic Drug Coverage: This very specific medical plan covers prescription medications, hospital and some nursing expenses. It does not cover pre-existing conditions and usually comes with a deductible, which makes this coverage extremely inexpensive, but very important with the high cost drugs that are on the market right now.
  1. Apply for Critical Illness or Cancer Insurance: Critical Illness insurance pays out a lump sum of money if diagnosed with one of 25 covered conditions. Since cancer claims account for 78% of all critical illness claims, and for those people who are hard to insure, Cancer Insurance was introduced. Since many cancer patients either can’t work for extended periods or need additional money for medical expenses, both of these types of coverage provides much needed cash flow during one’s illness.
  1. Check into Global Healthcare Coverage: This is a relatively new type of health plan, which provides you with access to over 50,000 medical specialists worldwide, as well as cutting edge technology and procedures. One of the biggest complaints Canadians have about our medical system is the long wait times, which for cancer patients can mean the difference between life and death. Securing Global Healthcare Coverage allows you timely medical care with the world specialist in every field (not just for cancer!).

You may think insurance is expensive but what you may not realize is that getting sick is what is really expensive– having no income, paying for high cost specialty drugs- those are the expenses that impact your finances and add stress at a time when you need to focus on your recovery.

Want to find out more about your options? Contact me for your complimentary 30 minutes Healthcare Strategy Session 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. 
 
Don't give up Sign

7 Tumors, 100 Billion Cells and 1 Amazing Recovery

Don't give up Sign

This post is dedicated to a story of hope and victory, in honor of National Cancer Month this February. We hear about too many sad stories, so it was encouraging to hear about Celine Ryan’s almost miraculous journey to being cancer free. Today I want to celebrate her victory, and ​share ​some things we could learn from it​ ​that can help others we know who are battling cancer.​

 

Celine’s story​

Celine, an engineer and mother of five was diagnosed with colon cancer. In spite of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, the cancer spread. She began researching, and in Dec 2014 found a revolutionary program at the National Cancer Institute (read about it here).

After looking at her records however, they turned her down- twice saying she was not a good candidate. Celine persisted, and in March 2015, was admitted to the program. Not only was her surgery and treatment a success,​ the medical team ​​​will be using what they learned from her case to help others. Today Celine is cancer free (though not considered completely cured).

How can this help you and your loved ones?

There are several important lessons here to keep in mind, especially when dealing with a difficult medical issue:

 

1. Never give up hope
Celine had done surgery and chemotherapy and was denied access to the trial, yet she kept up hope of beating cancer. This is a key factor for patients​: it doesn’t matter how bleak​ the situation may look, never give up hope.​

 

2. Do your own research
There are dozens of experimental and cutting edge technologies being developed worldwide for many diseases, and remember, you are your own best advocate. Keep asking questions, keep researching, till you find the solution that can help you.​ Here are some resources and tips to start with:

  • The Canadian Cancer Society http://bit.ly/1wGGBUQ
  • Cancer Recovery Foundation http://www.cancerrecovery.org/free-resources/
  • National Cancer Institute (U.S.) https://www.cancer.gov/
  • Best Doctors or other second opinion resource that is part of many group plans http://bestdoctors.com/canada/

 

3. Be persistent
You need to hold onto hope, you need to do your research, and still you need to go one step further: you need to push, persist and keep asking until you get a “yes!” Celine was denied access into the program but she and her husband didn’t take “no” for an answer, and she was finally allowed in.

Do you know anyone battling cancer?
Send them this story, and support them any way you can.​ Dealing with cancer is scary, but chances of survival are greater than ever especially with the right resources and support from loved ones.​

 

If you want to find out more about your options when it comes to life insurance, disability and critical illness contact me today for your complimentary 30-minute healthcare strategy session!

Want more tips on how to avoid out of pocket health 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.

2017: The Next Generation of Life Insurance

3 Changes That Make Getting Insurance Easier Than Ever

Applying for life insurance just got easier….. and less invasive.

Manulife Financial launched their new Vitality program (see my last post) a few months ago and announced that they will be eliminating much of the medical testing previously required. Now Sun Life Financial has announced similar changes for both Life Insurance and Critical Illness applications. Several of the big insurers have made getting insurance easier and quicker by launching E-applications, allowing advisors to complete applications electronically, when you cannot meet in person.

So what does this mean for you?

Depending on which company you apply with:

  1. No upfront blood tests, saliva, urine and other medical data are needed, simply answer the questions on the application. (Manulife allows this for new insurance of up to $1M from applicants between ages 18-40)
  2. Electronic applications can be completed over the phone, from the comfort of your home or office.
  3. Faster turnaround time for approvals, especially on clean applications (i.e. no medical issues). Standard turnaround time previously was 4-6 weeks. Now approvals have been issued in less than 10 days from submission date!

Why are insurance companies making these changes?

Medical advancements and new technology have shown it is possible to underwrite certain policies without obtaining detailed medical data. They also know that Canadians have been wanting a less invasive and simpler way to get insured. By reducing medical requirements it not only cuts expenses for insurers, it allows Canadians to get the insurance they need faster and more easily.

The bottom line: 2017 is the year to get the protection you need for yourself and your family, it’s never been easier!

 

Want to learn more about your options when it comes to life insurance, disability and critical illness? Contact me today for your complimentary 30-minute healthcare strategy session!
Want more tips on how to avoid out of pocket health 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.

Airplane in flight

Traveling This Winter? 3 Quick Tips Before You Go

Airplane in flight

Everyone I speak with is going somewhere in the next few months to get away from the cold and enjoy some R&R. There have been too many stories of people traveling out of Canada, or even out of province and having to deal with a medical issue while away.   The Risk Getting medical care out of your home city is expensive. Hospital bills could run over $100,000- ouch! That can ruin any trip. Did you know…..

  • OHIP will only cover a very small amount for emergency medical expenses abroad?
  • Hospitals in some countries can refuse to treat patients who don’t have the travel coverage or the money to pay for their care?

This is why it is always recommended that you purchase emergency travel insurance. But securing the right kind of medical coverage can mean saving you thousands of dollars in the long run.   Already have a group plan with travel coverage? Getting coverage through your credit card? Here are a few things to be aware of since travel insurance guidelines have changed dramatically in the last few years.   If you have had any change in your medication, travel insurers are stricter than ever in what they will and will not cover. Here are 3 tips to make sure you have the coverage you need:

 

1. Secure the right type of travel insurance for your situation. It is best to call the insurer before you travel, ask them:

  • what is covered
  • what is not covered
  • what is their stability clause, which means what is the time period they require you to have had no changes in your medical condition. (Some companies have a 7 day stability clause and some have a 90 day stability clause- that makes a big difference!)

Sometimes all you may need is a doctor’s note stating your medical condition is stable and you are approved for travel. Otherwise, you may need a specialized travel medical plan that covers higher risk situations, instead of relying on standard travel coverage that you get through your group plan or credit card

2. Carry your Travel Insurance Card with you and leave key information with family members at home. Should you need emergency medical attention while away, that is not the time to start looking for your coverage details! As well, make sure to leave a copy with family members not traveling with you, including your itinerary and contact information so they can locate you wherever you are in the world.

 

3. Set up a Power of Attorney (POA) for healthcare and finances naming at least 2 attorneys. This is a simple but important safeguard, especially if you travel often. It is important to name not only your partner, who usually is traveling with you, but also name another trusted friend or family member who is not traveling with you. Why? If you are abroad with your partner, and need assistance or medical records from home, it will be a lot easier to get the help you need if someone back home is also named POA.

Taking these few precautions doesn’t take a lot of time, but it can make a big difference when traveling abroad this winter season!
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. 

What Do YOU Live For?

It is the time of year we look back at what we’ve accomplished, and we set new goals for the New Year ahead. Manulife recently launched their new Vitality program- taking a positive spin on an old concept.

Watch this powerful video to get some motivation for the year ahead. #whatdoyoulivefor

 If you ask yourself these question every day would you…..
– Make different choices?
-Live a little smarter?
-Find ways to live healthier?

What steps are you going to take this coming year to make every moment special? How can we help you reach your goals? 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. You can reach her at aviva@cpfg.com or 416-545-5310.

The Money Pit: How Much Are YOU Paying For Out-of-Pocket Medical Expenses?

Jeans filled with credit cards

How do you pay for your drug, dental and other medical expenses? 

If you are like many Canadians, you are either:

  • Paying all of your medical expenses out of pocket and hoping your accountant gets you a small tax break or
  • Paying out-of-pocket for deductibles or expenses not covered by an insured plan (like braces or major dental repairs) and groaning about it

Regardless of which scenario you identify with, there is a better way of paying for healthcare if you are self-employed!

If you answer yes to at least 2 of the following questions then a health reimbursement account may be a more tax efficient way for you to pay for your medical expenses:

  1. Are you without a health and dental plan?
  2. Do you have a spouse and or dependants?
  3. Do you have more than $1,000 in out-of-pocket medical expenses?
  4. If you have a health and dental plan – do you have a cap on your drug coverage?

Aly’s Story
I met Aly at a fundraiser. Aly was a partner at her law firm, and had a group benefits plan through her small firm. Yet, she told me she was still paying almost $20,000 in additional medical expenses, not covered under her plan, expenses incurred mainly for her teenage kids.When I told her that I can show her how to avoid out-of-pocket medical expenses, she called me the very next day!

That is when I explained how a health reimbursement account works. Since Aly is self-employed, she can set up a health reimbursement account so that her business now pays for all of her medical expenses that are not covered by her group plan. Last year Aly saved over $7,000 in taxes with this simple strategy, using pre-tax business dollars to pay for her medical expenses – needless to say, Aly was thrilled!

So many self-employed professionals are not taking advantage of these types of structures to reduce their out-of-pocket medical expenses, simply because they’re too busy, too overwhelmed or aren’t aware of their options. They just charge it through and cringe at the bills when they arrive. Don’t let the lack of time or knowledge cost you unnecessary money. Keep more of your hard earned money and use it to enjoy life instead!

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 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. 

What Are You Waiting For?

Last week we learned that Michael Bublé is putting his career on hold because his son is battling liver cancer. Earlier in the year, the music world gathered at Gord Downie’s Tragically Hip farewell tour; Gord is battling brain cancer.These stories remind us that illness and death do not discriminate – young or old, rich or poor – it affects everyone of us.

Now is the Time 
We always think we have time to take care of the important things- but Michael and Gord would tell you otherwise (watch this interview with Gord https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wh96qMSDOH0 ). And especially for those of us who are self-employed, life can be very unpredictable. Taking care of the important things now, making sure you have solid healthcare coverage for yourself, your family and your business, will ensure that you and your loved ones have the means to deal with whatever medical issue comes into your life.

This blog is aimed at helping you understand the latest trends in health and healthcare in Canada today. As many of you have heard me say, the cost of healthcare is the biggest disrupter to our finances- what can you do to make sure you and your family are taken care of?

Michael Buble

Photo: Instagram

Although we have not yet found a way to prevent disease, medical advancements are such that Canadians today are surviving for years after their diagnoses, but their lives change dramatically. 1 in every 3 Canadians will be diagnosed with a Critical Illness before age 65, and half of those people will live 5 years past diagnoses. When a health issue arises, would you be able to get the care you need? Would you know where to turn to get help? Would you have the money you need not just to survive but to live life the way you want?

Won’t OHIP Take Care of Me?
According to Sunlife Financial more than 60% of Canadians between the ages of 20-50 do NOT have any critical illness coverage, Why? For one thing, many think the government will cover their healthcare costs- but that is far from true. With only a few exceptions, Canadians must pay for those costly drugs needed not just for terminal conditions like cancer, but also for more common chronic conditions such as high cholesterol, chronic pain and diabetes. What can you do to protect yourself and your family? Here are some tips, first steps you can take today:

  • Review your current healthcare coverage. Find out exactly what you are covered and not covered for. Most people I meet don’t know these details, but they are important to find out before you need any medical care. The main question is- how much drug coverage do you have?
  • Ask some hard questions.It’s not pleasant thinking about “what if” but it is always better to be proactive rather than reactive, you have more choices and better options when planning ahead. Some questions to ask:
    • “Who will take care of me should I be unable to take care of myself?” Setting up a Power Of Attorney for Health and Finances is key to making sure your wishes are followed
    •  “How will my family manage if I get sick?” Think about how much money you need monthly, and where would that come from
    • “Who will be in charge of my business?” Having money coming into your business should you not be able to manage things for a while can help, or having money to hire a replacement should you not be able to perform your duties
  • Crunch some numbers. Take a look at your savings and other assets, do you have enough to get you through a health crisis? Can insurance help you even in the short term? A lot has changed in the last few years; when was the last time you checked into:
    • critical illness insurance,
    • disability income protection,
    • long term care coverage and
    • health plans
Getting covered is more affordable than you think! Especially if you are self-employed, there are more possibilities than ever before to get the medical care you need. Would you rather pay a few hundred a month for insurance, or tens of thousands of dollars a month for medications?
Thinking about getting sick isn’t easy. But it’s necessary today in our world of rising healthcare costs. Awe head towards yearend and you set your goals for the coming year, put yourself, your family and your health at the top of the list.
                                                                       

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.

Want to learn more about your health insurance options? Click here to request Aviva’s free report: Five Ways to Avoid Costly Out of Pocket Medical Expenses.