# Tuesday, August 1, 2006
                 

Severe Illness and Insurance

Critical Illness insurance is designed to alleviate financial stress when a person becomes severely ill and unable to continue working. Recuperating from a critical illness is stressful enough, without having to worry about paying the bills.

Canadian citizens should be cognizant of the fact that government health plans and employee benefit plans are limited. These plans only cover medical and hospital care. Disability insurance, while also an important plan, only pays a monthly benefit when a person is unable to work. Critical Illness insurance differs in that it pays out a lump sum even if you are able to go back to work. For most critical illness benefits, you must survive your illness for a set period of time (usually 30 days) in order to receive benefits.

Your critical illness benefits are flexible in what you choose to spend the money on. During your time of need, you will receive a lump sum of money in order to spend as you see fit. With critical illness benefits, you no longer have to worry about paying the mortgage, credit cards, and monthly household expenses. You can budget for how long you will be unable to work, and spend your money accordingly.

Critical Illness insurance often covers the following conditions (this depends on the carrier and plan):

  • Cancer.
  • Heart Attack.
  • Stroke.
  • Multiple Sclerosis.
  • Kidney Failure.
  • Major Organ Transplant.
  • Dismemberment.
  • Blindness.
  • Deafness.
  • Loss Of Speech.
  • Major Burns.
  • HIV.
  • Alzheimer’s Disease.
  • Parkinson’s Disease.

However, there are two important points to note about "traditional" Critical Illness insurance:

  1. It is only available to healthy Canadians, who do not have a family history of any of the listed illnesses. For a "virtual" guaranteed issue product see below.
     
  2. CI insurance can have high premiums (for an affordable alternative you might consider Manulife Financial's Flexcare plan that has a Catastrophic option, described below).

As an alternative for people who need guaranteed issue critical illness insurance we offer Ontario citizens the Ontario Blue Cross Critical Illness Assistance benefit, which is part of the Blue Vision Express Plan. This benefit has the following features:

  • Amount of coverage varies, from $5,000 to $15,000.
  • Covers adaptation costs to your vehicles, principal residences, etc.
  • Covers travel expenses incurred when receiving care or follow-up.
  • Costs for household help and/or childcare.

As an affordable alternative there is the Manulife Flexcare plan has a Catastrophic option, which is offered as an Add-On or as a Stand-Alone product. This coverage provides the following benefits:

  • Unlimited, complete coverage for name brand and generic prescription drugs.
  • Additional coverage for Homecare, Durable Medical Equipment (wheelchairs, syringes for diabetics, etc.) as well as Prosthetic Appliances. 
  • There is a maximum of $100,000 (lifetime).
  • Unlimited Chiropractor/Physiotherapist coverage for one year following an accident that required a hospital stay of a minimum of 24 hours.

Note that the Flexcare Catastrophic option does require a medical questionnaire be filled out.
  

posted on Tuesday, August 1, 2006 5:59:59 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #   
# Wednesday, July 12, 2006
                 

How To Enjoy your Retirement without Worries

Retirement should be one of the greatest joys of your life. You’ve spent the majority of your years working hard and planning for that moment when you could finally enjoy the fruits of your labor. 

However, losing your employee benefit package when you retire can leave you suddenly uninsured at a time in your life when you need that insurance the most. Fortunately, finding alternative health insurance coverage need not be a difficult, time consuming matter.

If you and your family members who are to be covered do not have any serious pre-existing health conditions, then a standard personal health insurance policy can be purchased.

For those who have pre-existing conditions, HealthQuotes.ca offers FollowMe, which is a benefit plan specifically designed for those who have recently lost their group coverage. This health insurance plan does NOT require a medical questionnaire as long as coverage is applied for within 60 days of termination of the employee benefits.

FollowMe offers four plans to choose from:

· Basic.
· Enhanced.
· EnhancedPlus.
· Premiere.
    
FollowMe offers coverage for services such as:

· Dental Services.
· Prescription Drugs.
· Vision Care.
· Hospital Benefits.
· Survivor Benefit.
· Fracture Benefit.
· Accidental Death and Dismemberment.
· Other Extended Benefits.

Call our staff of qualified insurance brokers at 1-800-474-4474 to determine what level of coverage you and your family need. Remember, your application needs to be made within 60 days of your employee benefits package.  Select the plan that suits your needs, and start enjoying retirement!

posted on Wednesday, July 12, 2006 9:39:51 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #   
# Tuesday, June 27, 2006
                 

Traveling To Canada

Canada continues to be an affordable, exciting vacation destination for many people and offers an array of exciting outdoor and urban travel opportunities.

For more information about exploring Canada see the government's Exploring Canada web page.

While planning your Canadian vacation, ensure that you purchase the appropriate travel medical insurance. Whether you are sky-diving or sight-seeing, travel coverage takes the worry out of your trip.

IMG's "SelectaPlan" offers coverage for extreme activities via the "Adventurous Travelers" Plan, and covers international travelers up to age 49 who plan on participating in extreme sports and activities during their stay in Canada. Coverage is available for Canadians, U.S. and non U.S. citizens. Individual and family travel medical insurance plans are also available, with up to two years of coverage. Rates are based on age, length of coverage and country of citizenship. Discounted travel rates are available, for those who intend to travel in groups of 5 or more.

Ontario Blue Cross and Manulife Financial's Visitor's Insurance both offer extensive coverage, and is available to visitors, foreign students, immigrants and also returning expatriates. Coverage can begin as soon as 72 hours following purchase, and medical coverage includes hospital, medical and transportation expenses, as well as subsistence allowance and other travel benefits.
  

posted on Tuesday, June 27, 2006 8:19:31 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #   
# Wednesday, June 21, 2006
                 

CONTROVERSY OVER BILL 102

How Ontarians will be Affected

It seems as though the Ontario government is quickly succumbing to pressure from large pharmaceutical companies. Bill 102, originally introduced in April 2006, was designed to help lower prescription costs for Ontario residents, but quickly outraged brand-name pharmaceutical companies.

One of the biggest issues in this controversy revolves around generic drug substitutions. As prescription drugs are one of the fastest growing elements in Canadian health-care spending, generic prescription drugs are a major threat to the profits of large pharmaceuticals. Currently, pharmacists are only required to substitute cheaper generic brands for drugs purchased under the provincial plan, or under workplace plans that demand such substitutions. Bill 102 theoretically would have allowed pharmacists to substitute generic drugs in all cases, unless specifically objected to by the prescribing physician. This would have meant significant savings to the consumer who is currently not covered under any health plan. Unfortunately, the government has since decided that "further studies must be done", leaving Ontarians to continue to pay top dollar for brand name prescriptions.

This decision leaves the Ontario consumer who does not have prescription coverage left with having no alternative but to pay the added costs of buying brand name drugs. For those who currently don’t have coverage, either individually or through their employer, purchasing health insurance may be a viable option. Such carriers as Manulife Financial, Ontario Blue Cross, Great West Life and Sun Life offer affordable coverage to ensure that Ontarians aren’t left struggling to cover rising prescription costs.
   

posted on Wednesday, June 21, 2006 6:11:40 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #   
# Thursday, June 1, 2006
                 

Small Business Employee Benefits

Maximizing Your Profit Potential

By offering a comprehensive benefits package, you can attract the best employees for your business. Group benefits play a large role in whether a qualified potential employee accepts your employment offer.

Employee benefits can also help ensure that your employees enjoy a long and productive career. Statistically, employees that are happy and satisfied in the workplace tend to be more productive and have fewer absences. Happy employees are also very reluctant to leave their place of employment, thus ensuring a long-lasting career in which both employer and employee enjoy a mutually beneficial relationship.

HealthQuotes.ca offers a variety of comprehensive employee benefit packages to suit your insurance needs. You can obtain no cost assistance in purchasing group insurance from over 10 leading Canadian insurance companies such as:
 
- Manulife Financial
- Empire Life
- Blue Cross
- Great West Life
- Desjardins Financial
- RBC
- Standard Life
- The Cooperators
 
A full range of health, dental, drug and LTD benefits are available nationally, and quotes can be obtained usually within 24 hours.

posted on Thursday, June 1, 2006 12:30:16 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #   
# Thursday, March 30, 2006
                 

People who are diabetic usually require the following supplies:
  • Insulin cases and kits (e.g. syringes, pumps, etc.).
  • Monitoring supplies for glucose levels.*
  • Testing supplies (e.g. test strips, etc.).
  • Diabetic shoes (diabetics have a high risk of serious foot problems).

Personal health insurance covers diabetic medical supplies under Durable Medical Equipment, but most plans require a medical examination.

Health plans with no medical examination that supply diabetic medical supplies are:

1. FlexCare from Manulife Financial. There are two available plan types:

a) ComboPlus Starter Plan

  • Comes with core dental, prescription drug and health coverage.
  • HomeCare and Nursing, Prosthetic Appliances, Durable Medical Equipment: maximum per anniversary year for each of these 3 categories of benefits separately, is according to the following table:
     
    Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5
    $1,000 $1,300 $1,500 $1,700 $3,000

b) DentalPlus Basic and Enhanced Plans:

  • Comes with core dental and health coverage (no drugs).
  • HomeCare and Nursing, Prosthetic Appliances, Durable Medical Equipment is the same coverage as the Start Plan mentioned above.

2. Blue Vision Express Plan from Ontario Blue Cross.

   Guaranteed acceptance coverage available to Ontario citizens.

  • Ontario Blue Cross is a non-profit organization.
  • Comes with core health coverage.
  • 80% coverage.
  • Maximum of $2,500 per year.
posted on Thursday, March 30, 2006 8:53:35 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #   
# Friday, February 24, 2006
                 

Often times people have pre-existing conditions, which are not normally covered by standard personal health plans.

When there are existing medical conditions you have two options:

  1. Apply for a standard health insurance plan that will exclude the specific, pre-existing condition (everything else will be covered).
  2. Get a guaranteed issue health insurance plan that will then cover the pre-existing condition.

If you want to apply for a standard health plan just indicate the nature of your condition in the application's medical questionnaire. What then happens is the insurance company's underwriters look at the application and either reject it or make a counter-offer that does not include coverage for the existing condition.

Your other option is a guaranteed issue health plan. The one thing about these plans is that the coverage is limited, with maximums set for benefits. However, many times a guaranteed issue health plan will pay out immediately for the given existing condition (e.g. test strips and syringes for diabetics, etc.). In addition there are valuable core benefits for things like medical practitioners (e.g. physiotherapists, etc.), as well as dental and prescription drug coverage ( depending on the plan).

The following lists guaranteed issue health insurance plans:

  • FlexCare ComboPlus Starter Plan: core benefits (e.g. physiotherapists, home care, nursing, etc.), dental, vision care and drug coverage.
     
  • FlexCare DentalPlus Basic and Enhanced Plans: core benefits like vision, extended health care (e.g. nursing, home care, etc.), and dental insurance (does not come with prescription drug coverage).
     
  • FollowMe: personal health insurance for those who have lost or discontinued their employee benefits (i.e. group insurance). No medical questions are asked if you apply within 60 days from your group insurance termination date. If you are interested in a guaranteed issue health insurance then please call us at 1-800-474-4474.
     
  • Blue Vision Express Plan: core benefits for prescription drugs, routine dental costs, paramedical coverage (e.g. psychologists, physiotherapists, etc.) along with optional dental coverage.
     
  • Sonata Core Plan: coverage for prescription drugs, vision care, paramedicals as well as optional travel, major dental and hospital accommodations.

Feel free to get as many instant quotes for "no medical" health insurance plans as you'd like! You can also contact us if you have any questions. We are nationally licensed health insurance brokers and we are here to help!

posted on Friday, February 24, 2006 8:33:13 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #   
# Friday, February 10, 2006
                 

Eligible Prescription Drugs

**** UPDATE: January, 2017 *****

We now have a very detained, in-depth analysis of prescription drugs covered by Canadian health insurance plans via an InfoDesk article: Prescription Drugs and Canadian Health Insurance. Please refer to this article.

****************************

Oftentimes our brokers get inquiries about prescription drug coverage, in particular what types of drugs are covered and what are not. 

First it needs to be understood that this will vary, depending on the type of individual health insurance plan you have. However, having said this there is prescription drug coverage that is common to most plans.

To be covered by your health plan the prescription must first be prescribed by a licensed physician, and also have what is called a "DIN" (drug identification number) number that identifies the drug. Note that one DIN # can be used for products with different sizes (as long as all other product characteristics such as the product name, manufacturer name, etc. are the same).

Some examples of commonly covered prescriptions are: lipitor, prozac, amoxil, insulin, etc. .

The following are common exclusions to covered prescriptions:

  • Fertility drugs are generally excluded (an exception to this is the FlexCare ComboPlus Enhanced plan).
  • Some life style drugs and experimental drugs that have not been approved by the Medical Association are excluded.
  • Over the counter drugs are not eligible medications.

Also, reimbursement of drugs is based on the lowest-cost generic equivalent ( if available) for many health plans.

If you do not know if a medication is covered by your health plan then call your insurance company, and give them your policy number and the DIN # of the particular prescription drug you were prescribed.

If you do not know the DIN number of a prescription drug click on the following link, select "DIN" and then enter the name of the drug in question: - Get DIN # -.

posted on Friday, February 10, 2006 8:08:29 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #   
# Friday, January 13, 2006
                 

Buying Travel Medical Insurance

Travel medical insurance is an essential thing to have when traveling abroad. However, there are certain things that should be taken into account before purchasing your insurance.

The first thing to determine is whether or not you already have travel insurance. Some people are not aware that their group insurance (i.e. employee benefits) has travel coverage. If you do have travel coverage through your group benefits then a good thing to determine is the length of coverage it offers. Make sure that your entire trip is covered, and if it isn't then you may want to consider top-up insurance.

Travel benefits are also sometimes offered through credit cards. However, this is often accident-only, and may not offer protection from sudden and unexpected illness. Know what your coverage is, along with all limitations and exclusions.

Finally, if in doubt consult a broker!

posted on Friday, January 13, 2006 5:28:52 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #   
# Thursday, January 5, 2006
                 

Often times health plans require a medical questionnaire to be filled by the applicant, and when the application is submitted to the insurance carrier it goes through what is called "underwriting". The medical history of the applicant (and any other insured family members) is examined, and the policy is either issued or declined. If declined a counter offer may be issued by the carrier, which can then be accepted or declined by the applicant.

The medical questionnaire requirement also depends on the type of insurance being applied for. Employee benefits traditionally do not require a medical, while individual health plans do.

However, there are several guaranteed issue personal health plans that do not require medical questionnaires:

You can compare instant quotes online for the health and dental plans mentioned above, or call us toll-free at 1-800-474-4474 if you would like more information.
 

* Please note that all plan names are the (registered) trademarks of their respective insurance companies.
 



posted on Thursday, January 5, 2006 4:44:00 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #   
# Wednesday, December 21, 2005
                 

It is becoming considerably more important that customers are well informed about insurer-agent relationships and agent compensation related to the products and services they buy.

In June 2005, Canadian insurance regulators released a Consultation Paper, which included a proposal to regulate what agents must disclose about their insurer relationships and compensation. The insurance industry has responded by stating that they believe an industry-led standard is preferable to such regulation.

For over a year, several insurers have been working with the Canadian Life & Health Insurance Association (CLHIA) and its industry counterparts to develop guidelines for agent disclosure. Earlier this year, the industry released an Advisor Disclosure Reference Document that sets out those guidelines. A modified version of the document for group benefits and group retirement business was released in September. The CLHIA has urged regulators to allow these guidelines to be fully implemented and assessed before taking further regulatory action.

Insurers and agents are advised to work together to ensure customers have clear and complete information. They need to disclose about the agent’s business relationships with insurers, agent compensation (including any potential incentive reward), and any conflicts of interest. 

posted on Wednesday, December 21, 2005 2:25:07 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #   
# Thursday, December 8, 2005
                 

HealthQuotes.ca is happy to announce the launch of our health and travel insurance blog.

We will be posting insurance related topics that we feel will be of use to the Canadian public.

We encourage feedback, and would like to establish a flow of information and dialog between us as brokers and the public.

All postings are stored so that people can search for topics of particular interest.

Enjoy!
The HealthQuotes.ca Team

posted on Thursday, December 8, 2005 6:45:50 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #   
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