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It’s a Matter of Life

An Overlooked But Essential Piece Of The Puzzle: Critical Ill ness Insurance

“I was enjoying a wonderful life with my husband, his children and a grandchild. I remember the day I re-discovered my second lump. I was disappointed, and I said to my self, “Here we go again!” This time the cancer was on the left side, yet again I knew I had to go through all the same procedures; mammograms, ultrasounds, biopsy and that anxious wait!” – Ida Sue Calla

Critical Illness Insurance is a great product that covers you and your dependents for unexpected serious illnesses from a predetermined list of covered conditions such as life-threatening Cancer, Heart attack, Kidney failure, Multiple sclerosis, Paralysis, Stroke and more. Upon diagnosis of one of the covered illnesses, and after the applicable waiting period has expired, the lump sum is paid to the policyholder.

The money received from the Critical Illness(CI) insurance;

  •  is a tax-free,
  • is not dependent on whether the policyholder can return to work during recovery,
  • can be used by the recipient for whatever way they wish, where and when they need it the most. It can be used for medical expenses, childcare, private nursing,
    allowing you to return to work when a spouse or child is diagnosed with a critical illness or otherwise,
  • has a multiple event coverage, which means you can claim multiple times for separate and unrelated conditions.

Rates of cancer diagnosis, incidences of stroke & heart disease are increasing among Canadians.

What Conditions Are Covered by Critical Illness Insurance?

Let`s quickly review the top three prevalent conditions affecting Canadians and see why Critical Illness Insurance brings peace of mind and additional financial stability during a difficult time.

Cancer – According to the Canadian Cancer Society, nearly one in two Canadians is expected to be diagnosed with cancer in their life time. The number of Canadians diagnosed with cancer each year is also increasing.

Heart Attack – Heart Disease is a leading cause of hospitalization in Canada3. Approximately 2.4 million (8.5%) of Canadian adults 20 years and older live with diagnosed ischemic heart disease, including 578,000 (2.1%) with a history of a heart attack.

Stroke – Due to increased awareness and medical improvements, 80% of those who suffer from a stroke survive4. This results in more and more Canadians living with the effects of a stroke, including services and support. More troubling, incidences of stroke are rising in young people at a faster than older Canadians.

The increased prevalence of critical illnesses shows a disturbing trend. It’s becoming more likely that we, one of our loved ones or a colleague will receive a severe diagnosis in our lifetimes.

What Is A Life Event

As the Canadian life expectancy continues to increase, so too does the chances of being diagnosed with a critical illness. If you get diagnosed with a severe illness, you or your partner may need time off from work for treatment and recovery, resulting in lost income.

As you can imagine, any added expenses related to
the treatment and the financial strain that it may bring to your life can be incredibly stressful. Perhaps a good question that we should ask ourselves is, “Could your bank account survive the cost of a critical illness?”

Critical Illness Insurance has been in the marketplace for a long time; the number of Canadians affected by these illnesses has seen an increase in the past couple of years. Therefore, the CI has also seen an uptake as a safeguard against the rising probability of these diagnoses.

Could your bank account survive the cost of a critical illness?

Your Options

If you don’t have Critical Illness insurance on your group benefits plan and would like to add one, that`s not a problem. Here are some ways we can help you with it;

Group Critical Illness Insurance provides coverage for all employees. If you would like to add this benefit to your group benefits plan, please contact your plan administrator. Our Account Managers Mina Dingle and Kathy Cordonier can provide them with more information.

Individual Critical Illness Insurance is an employee-funded benefit that provides coverage for employees who wants to have this protection for themselves, Spouses and Dependent Children. The cost is your responsibility and not financed by your employer. If you would like to add this benefit to your benefits plan, please contact our Financial Advisor Tiziana Cagnoni for more information.

Critical Illness Insurance provides your and your dependents with peace of mind! The financial security offered by the lump-sum payment can be used as you see the fit, allowing you to focus on the treatment, recovery, and family.

Ida Calla`s Story

I am a three times Survivor of Breast Cancer, and I would like to share my story about why I am a big fan of Critical Illness Insurance.

I had my first diagnosis in 1989

I discovered my first lump through self- examination at age 34. It was scary and shocking! Unfortunately, back in 1989, Critical Illness Insurance was not an option. But thankfully, I had excellent private insurance coverage through my employer in the USA. Most of my treatments, including chemotherapy and radiation, were covered by private insurance.

Back in 2005, at age 49, cancer came back again.

At that time, my husband Nick and I were busy building our business. I was enjoying a wonderful life with him, his children and a grandchild. I remember the day I re-discovered my second lump. I was disappointed, and I said to my self, “Here we go again!”. This time the cancer was on the left side, yet again I knew I had to go through all the same procedures; mammograms, ultrasounds, biopsy and that anxious wait!

Again, just like the first time, I was lucky because we had a private health insurance plan through our company, but we had no critical illness insurance. You need to know that during my treatments, I was able to work, the kids were old enough to take care of themselves, and we had our savings, so we didn’t need extra money to cover our expenses. However, some cancers don’t qualify under the definition of disability; yet some people might find themselves unable to work. In that case, Critical Illness Insurance is a perfect financial cushion for unforeseen medical costs and family needs.

In December 2016, at age 61, I had noticed another lump in my right breast again.

As a two times survivor, I knew the cancer was back again! I quickly saw my family physician and went through all the routine mammograms, ultrasounds, biopsy and waited. On Christmas Eve in 2016, my doctor called and confirmed that the cancer was back again. Can you imagine? It was my 3rd diagnosis!

This time I would need to have a mastectomy of my right breast. My wonderful husband Nick and our family talked about the alternatives; we decided to get a bi-lateral mastectomy to remove both breasts and go through reconstruction. We believed if cancer was back in the right breast, there is a good chance, it would happen again on the left.

After my second recovery, we decided to be proactive and include mandatory Critical Illness insurance into our Group Benefits package. The Critical Illness Insurance Policy paid for the uncovered treatments and drugs. Even though I had a recurring condition and had breast cancer twice before, I received my payment on time. That is one of the most incredible things with Critical Illness Insurance!

Today, I am a healthy senior in my mid-60s. I enjoy the love of my husband and cherish the company of his children and our four grandchildren. I truly believe in having Critical Illness coverage because it covers more than 36 illnesses, including heart attacks, strokes, cancer of various sorts, brain tumours, etc. If you are wondering, I still have Critical Illness coverage today, just in case. Because I believe it is a matter of life, not death!

“Some cancers don’t qualify for disability insurance yet some might find themselves unable to work. Therefore, Critical Illness Insurance is a perfect financial cushion for unforeseen medical costs and family needs.”

My oncologist told me to get a PET scan asap and start my treatments right after. Perhaps you know, the wait times for a PET Scan is quite long in B.C. We wanted to get the scan at a private facility instead but were informed it would take up to three months for B.C. Medicare to pay for the cost of the scan. It was $3,200 back in 2016. The provincial and private health insurance was covering most of my drugs; except one. The drug was a new pharmaceutical called Neulasta. Luckily, the drug got approved by B.C Pharmacare 3 days before my first treatment. If we didn`t have a Critical Illness Insurance and Pharmacare wouldn`t pay for it, we had to think twice about how to pay for the medication. Four shots of Neulasta would cost us $11,200 back in 2016.

After my second recovery, we decided to be proactive and have included mandatory Critical Illness Insurance into our Group Benefits package.

Shannon Hamilton`s Story

No one ever thinks they will fall victim to a critical illness like cancer or a stroke. But the chances are increasing, as we continue to make advances in medical science and enjoy the longest lifespan of any generation in history. The probability of being diagnosed with a serious illness and surviving is much higher than premature death…and, most of those who suffer from a serious illness recover and return to work.

I’ve been in the Group Benefits industry for over 20 years, and seen many presentations on Critical Illness (CI) Insurance. I knew CI was a great benefit, but it wasn’t until I received payout from my Employer’s Group benefits plan that my passion for the product grew.

I’ve always taken a proactive approach to my health management – I eat well, exercise regularly, and go for routine health exams. When I was 40, I referred myself for my first mammogram…and three weeks later, after a variety of other scans, ultrasounds and biopsies, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Suddenly, my perception of being in great health and invincible to illness was shattered, and my world and everything that I knew of it came to a screeching halt. Not knowing how serious the cancer was, or what to expect next, and the worry for my husband and two children filled my head. We put future plans on hold and dealt with each day and challenge as it came. Surgery, reconstruction, radiation, chemotherapy, and the fatigue and anxiety that comes with it, could all be in my future. I would have to take time off work for recovery, and not knowing how long I’d be off added to the financial stress in our household.

I did a lot of reading, and went to several surgical and reconstructive consults. I reached out to breast cancer survivors to discuss their journeys, and took in as much information as I could to make an informed decision on my treatment. I was off work for over a month after surgery, and grateful that my aggressive breast cancer was a covered condition under our Group Critical Illness benefit.

“I didn`t know how serious the cancer was, or what to expect next, and the worry for my husband and two children filled my head.”

Critical Illness Insurance provides a tax-free, lump sum payment if an insured is diagnosed with a covered condition. Payment is made regardless of the insured’s ability to work or make full recovery, and can be used in any way that the insured chooses. The peace of mind that the policy proceeds gave, by allowing me to tie up some financial “loose ends” so I could focus on treatment, recovery and my family, and return to work when I was ready, meant the world to me.

It’s been four years and I’m cancer free, and I count my blessings every day that I am healthy and happy, and a proud employee of an organization that cares about my health & financial well-being.

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