# Friday, February 23, 2007
                 

Travel Insurance: Married Outside Of Canada

Traveling to exotic locations to get married can be a fun option for some couples. The concept of combining a vacation with your wedding is a great way to reunite with family and friends to celebrate. With families and friends sometimes scattered across the country, or even continent, a vacation wedding offers a fun location for everyone to meet at.

Whether you are running off to Las Vegas to get married in the Little White Chapel, or are dreaming of a sunset wedding on an isolated beach, certain factors must be considered when choosing to get married abroad. Ensure that once you have selected the location of the wedding, you understand their requirements in order to apply for a marriage license. It is a good idea to send the traveling requirements list (i.e. documentation, passports) with your invitations so your guests know well in advance what they need to bring with them.

It is also advisable that you inform your guests of the need for travel insurance coverage. You can inquire if they have current coverage through their employer, and whether or not they will be covered for this trip. HealthQuotes.ca offers trip insurance that covers families and groups, which may be beneficial for this particular circumstance.

With proper planning, a vacation wedding will be the most memorable experience of your lifetime. Along with ensuring that you have the proper travel documents, ensure that you and your guests have the proper travel coverage in order to avoid any problems in your perfect day.
 

posted on Friday, February 23, 2007 4:18:41 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #   
# Tuesday, January 30, 2007
                 

Health Literacy

The Canadian Council on Learning has recently released an analysis which suggests that an alarming number of Canadians do not understand their health care instructions. They suggest that over 90% of Canadian seniors and 55% of working-age Canadians lack the literacy skills required to accurately read and follow prescription instructions, understand food nutrition labels or to give informed consent.

Failure to accurately read prescription instructions can lead to dosing errors, causing further health issues. For Canadians with diabetes, blood glucose scores may not be read properly, and therefore not be treated appropriately. This can further be aggravated by not understanding the nutrition labels on food which can determine whether that certain product is good for them, or is potentially harmful.

Seniors are statistically the population with the most complex health problems, with 9 out of 10 Canadian seniors currently taking at least one prescription drug. It is therefore vitally important that Canadians with elderly parents, relatives, or friends who have health issues to ensure that prescription instructions are understood and followed correctly.

Seniors may also not be aware of what their current health insurance policy covers when it comes to prescriptions and diabetic supplies, or whether they need to upgrade their coverage. For those who have elderly parents, relatives or friends that have medical issues, and who are not able to accurately read and assess their policy, we recommend that you read the policy with them, and ensure that they understand what their benefits cover. For those seniors who are now experiencing different health-care related costs, their policy may need to be changed in order to reflect these new changes.

If you suspect that an elderly person close to you may be experiencing problems understanding their current health coverage, please call us at 1-800-474-4474 to discuss these issues.
   

posted on Tuesday, January 30, 2007 3:55:30 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #   
# Wednesday, January 17, 2007
                 

Children's Fitness Tax Credit

The Children's Fitness Tax Credit came into effect January 1, 2007.  This tax credit hopefully will encourage parents to enroll their child(ren) in organized physical activities in order to combat the alarming child obesity statistics. By defraying the costs associated with children's organized sports and other activities, the Federal Government is hoping to offset the costs of registration and membership fees.

The tax credit is available up to $500 per child under the age of 16, in registration and membership fees for ongoing, supervised programs. Eligible programs must include a significant amount of physical activity which contributes to cardio-respiratory endurance, plus an additional physical component of: muscle strength, muscular endurance, flexibility, and/or balance. For parents of a child who is eligible for the disability tax credit, a separate $500 will be available, with a minimum of $100 being spent on registration fees.

By offering this tax credit, the Canadian government hopes to influence a whole generation of children on the positive benefits of physical activity and healthy life styles. Obesity and a sedentary lifestyle are one of the leading causes of juvenile diabetes. By encouraging children to become physically active, hopefully the rate of juvenile diabetes will start to decline.

Recent studies have estimated that a person with diabetes can incur costs for medication and medical supplies of between $1000 and $15,000 a year. These costs are not covered by your provincial health care plan. For those parents who have a child with juvenile diabetes, purchasing health insurance coverage can be an effective way of defraying these costs. HealthQuotes offers a ComboPlus Starter Plan which does not require a medical examination and covers diabetic supplies.

If your child has been diagnosed with diabetes, and you would like more information, please visit http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hc-ps/dc-ma/diabete-eng.php.
 

posted on Wednesday, January 17, 2007 7:08:30 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #   
# Wednesday, December 13, 2006
                 

GST Rebate Ending for Visitors to Canada

In September of 2006, the Government of Canada announced the elimination of the GST Visitor’s Rebate Program. Beginning April 1, 2007, all federal rebates under the Visitor’s Rebate Program will be eliminated. Rebates that will effectively end include those for visitors’ short-term accommodation, exported goods by non-resident consumers, and non-resident convention expenses.

The GST (Goods And Services Tax) rebate has been available for non-residents who purchase short-term accommodation and/or goods in Canada.  Under this rebate, visitors could claim a refund on goods they purchased in Canada, but took home with them for use primarily in their home country. It also included the GST paid on short-term accommodations, including hotels, hostels, campgrounds, bed and breakfasts, and motels.

The rebate will still apply to those who have purchased eligible goods and/or services before April 1, 2007. The rebate will be honored for those who have a specific signed agreement for goods that will be shipped outside of Canada, but are not shipped until after the cut-off date. The agreement must be signed before the cut-off date, and follow the eligibility rules. If you purchase eligible goods before April 1, 2007, but do not leave Canada until afterwards, you will still receive the rebate.

Non-residents will still be eligible for the GST rebate when their accommodations begin before April 1, 2007 and continue afterwards for a period no longer than 30 days. In order to receive reimbursement, you must stay in the same facility for the duration of your trip. The rebate will also apply to those travelers who have already booked and purchased their accommodations before April 1, 2007, but whose actual trip does not begin until after this date. This will apply to all non-resident travelers whose accommodation in the same facility begins before April 1, 2009. These requirements also apply to travelers who have purchased prepaid tour packages.

Travelers who have eligible GST rebate claims will have one year to file their application. For those who have written agreements before the cut-off date, but whose trip occurs afterwards, special transition measures will be implemented regarding eligible filing dates. This will also apply to those whose trip begins before the cut-off date, but continues afterwards.

For more information regarding eligibility requirements, please visit the Canadian Revenue Agency.

posted on Wednesday, December 13, 2006 7:58:09 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #   
# Wednesday, November 29, 2006
                 

Ontario Organ Donation


Organ donation is a topic that most Ontario residents think about briefly when renewing their driver’s licenses. It is however, becoming an increasingly controversial topic, with new legislation being proposed in order to increase the amount of donors. With medical technology constantly advancing, organ transplants are saving the lives of people who would otherwise be facing a very bleak future.


A private member’s bill has recently been introduced by New Democrat MPP Peter Kormos, with the intent of establishing new “presumed consent” rules. This new bill, if passed, would make organ donations automatic unless a patient had already refused permission.  Another bill, introduced by Conservative Frank Klees, wants to force every eligible Ontario citizen to respond yes, no, or undecided about their organ donation intentions. While both MPP’s have differing opinions on how to increase organ donations, both agree that changes need to occur in order to reach this goal. Currently, Ontarians can choose to sign an organ donation card, but this card is not legally binding. The choice to donate organs ultimately belongs to the deceased’s family.

Health Minister George Smitherman has stated that while he’s personally comfortable  with the concept of presumed consent, Ontario needs to further consult with the public before making any policy decisions. A team will be appointed to consult with the public and further study the issue.

A new law is already in place requiring 13 major Ontario hospitals to report to the Trillium Gift Of Life Network whenever someone dies in their facility, in order to find a donor match. This law has effectively increased the rate of organ donations in Ontario. With this rise in organ donations, some critics say that presumed consent may not be necessary.

It is important for every eligible person to carefully consider this matter, and make an informed decision on whether they would like to become an organ donor. For more information on organ donation, please visit http://www.giftoflife.on.ca/en/.

posted on Wednesday, November 29, 2006 11:55:33 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #   
# Tuesday, November 7, 2006
                 

Canadian Snowbirds and Travel Insurance

For some Canadians, spending the winter months in a warmer climate like Florida or Arizona is a much more pleasant idea than facing yet another cold Canadian winter. This living arrangement is especially attractive to retirees, who do not have to remain in Canada for the winter months due to employment obligations.

Due to recent American policies, all Canadians must have a valid passport in order to enter the United States effective January 2007 when arriving by air or sea. A second rule is also currently being proposed that will require a passport in order to enter the United States via land border crossings by January 2008. It is recommended that Canadians planning to spend the upcoming winter months in an American state this winter obtain a valid passport, and carry it with them at all times.

It is important to remember that your provincial health coverage will not cover your medical expenses in the United States. We strongly recommend that every Canadian who is planning to spend the winter outside of Canada purchase travel medical benefits in order to safeguard them from incurring costly medical bills. Even one trip to the emergency room for accident or illness can cost Canadians without coverage thousands of dollars in unexpected medical bills.

Check your employee benefits (if applicable) to see if you currently have travel medical coverage. It is important to remember to closely examine this policy to determine if your coverage through your benefits will be adequate for your needs. If you require additional coverage you can purchase top up insurance.

For those with no employee benefit coverage, determine what kind of coverage you will need. Travel medical plans can be purchased to accommodate single trip and multi trip coverage, depending on how much traveling you expect to do. There are a variety of plans offering coverage for:

  • Emergency Medical.
  • Trip Cancellation And Interruption.
  • Baggage Loss, Delay And Damage.
  • Flight And Travel Accidents.

Consult with an insurance broker to properly determine your travel insurance needs. When planning your trip, remember to talk with a broker to ensure that you have the proper coverage, and leave the worrying behind along with the snow.

You can visit the World Health Organization website, useful for checking international travel advisories before leaving Canada.

posted on Tuesday, November 7, 2006 8:27:34 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #   
# Thursday, October 26, 2006
                 

Canadian Men And Prostate Cancer


It is estimated that close to 21,000 Canadian men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year, and over 4,000 men will die as a result of the disease. With early detection however, prostate cancer is treatable, and sometimes, even preventable. Prostate cancer is the second most diagnosed cancer among Canadian men. With these new statistics coming out, it is vitally important that men become knowledgeable about prostate cancer and what resources are available to them.

While there is no evidence of one single cause of prostate cancer, there are certain factors that seem to increase the risk of developing this disease. These factors include:

Age:
Men 65 and over seem to be more at risk of developing this disease
Family history of prostate cancer:
If other men in your family have been diagnosed with prostate cancer, you are at higher risk.
Diet:
Men who consume a diet high in fat increase their risk level
Lifestyle:
Obesity and inactivity contribute to risk level of prostate cancer.
Ethnic Background:
Men of African ancestry tend to be more high risk of developing prostate cancer than those of Caucasian descent.

Men who fit one or more of these categories need to be aware that they are more likely than others to have or be at risk of having prostate cancer, and consult with their family physician about testing. It is generally recommended that men start getting tested at the age of 45.

If prostate cancer is detected early enough, there will be no symptoms. However, men suffering one or more of the following symptoms are strongly urged to talk to their family physician about testing:

  • A need to urinate frequently, especially at nighttime.
  • Difficulty starting to urinate.
  • Difficulty holding back urine.
  • Weak or interrupted flow of urine.
  • Painful or burning sensations when urinating.
  • Difficulty in having an erection.
  • Experiencing pain when ejaculating.
  • Detecting the presence of blood in urine or semen.
  • Frequent pain and/or stiffness in the lower back, hips or upper thighs.

These symptoms can also be indicators of other health issues, so it is important to have a thorough work-up from your doctor to determine the origin of your symptoms.

For men who are unsure of what questions to ask their doctor, or how to interpret their test results, the Prostate Cancer Research Foundation offers this information. Some other websites offering valuable information on prostate cancer and testing are:

These websites offer information on testing procedures, prevention, alternative treatments and support groups for those who are currently battling this disease. Ask your physician as well for information and informational sources regarding your health.
 

posted on Thursday, October 26, 2006 6:04:28 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #   
# Tuesday, October 10, 2006
                 

Flu Shots For Canadians

Once again, it is that time of year that Canadians are vulnerable to influenza. "Flu" season typically starts in November and ends in April. The flu is caused by the influenza virus, which causes a respiratory infection. Although the majority of Canadians recover from the flu, for some it can be potentially fatal. Pneumonia and other serious complications can set in, caused by influenza, causing serious medical problems.

Many Canadians are confused about what influenza actually is, and when they have it. Many times people misconstrue their symptoms of mild food poisoning as the stomach flu, which actually does not exist. The common cold can also be construed as the flu. Influenza typically has symptoms beginning with a headache, cough and chills, followed by a fever, runny nose and sneezing, and watery eyes. Loss of appetite is also common. Children may experience nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

There are certain populations that have been designated "high risk" and as such, are encouraged to receive yearly flu shots. This includes people who fall into one or  more of the following categories:

  • Infants 6-23 months.
  • Anyone with chronic heart and/or lung disease.
  • Anyone residing in nursing homes or chronic care facilities.
  • Anyone working in a health care related field with chronic exposure to the flu virus.
  • Anyone traveling to areas with a flu outbreak.
  • Anyone with diabetes, anemia, cancer, immune suppression, kidney disease or HIV
    Children on ASA therapy.

Those who should not get the flu shot:

  • Under 6 months of age.
  • Anyone who has a severe allergic reaction to eggs.
  • Anyone who has had a severe allergic reaction to a previous flu shot.

The flu shot can have some minimal side effects, the most common being soreness at the injection site. Fever, fatigue, and muscle aches are also common. These side effects are temporary, usually only lasting 1-2 days.

Consult your family physician about whether the flu shot is an option for you. For those who do not have a family physician, and wish to receive the flu shot, consult http://www.gov.on.ca for resources in your area.

It is important to remember that those showing symptoms of the flu need to avoid infecting others, especially those who are very young or very old who may become seriously ill if infected. If you suspect that you may be becoming ill, avoid anyone who falls into the high risk category. During flu season wash your hands frequently as a means of reducing your chances of catching the virus.
 

posted on Tuesday, October 10, 2006 4:39:46 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #   
# Tuesday, September 26, 2006
                 

Paramedicals and Health Plans

Today, people have a wide array of health care choices. With new technological and research advances, there are a wider variety of prescription drugs and treatments available for most health problems. Unlike some previous healthcare choices , new drug therapy can be very effective with fewer side effects. This, combined with other forms of therapy, can be highly effective for people suffering from pain caused by back and foot problems. 

For many health problems relating to back and foot pain, your doctor may recommend that you seek treatment from a chiropractor, chiropodist, massage therapist, podiatrist, acupuncturist, or naturopath (depending on the nature of your injury). These treatments, combined with drug therapy, can help promote healing and drastically reduce healing time. There are many effective prescription drugs that can help reduce the swelling and the pain, while treatment from a relevant health care practitioner can help resolve the underlying health issue. 

Check to see if your current health insurance plan covers these forms of treatments. For those who want to create their own unique health care coverage, we offer a "Stand-Alone" option, which is available via the Flexcare Core Plan. The Flexcare Basic Plan allows the consumer to choose coverage for such treatment options such as:

  • Chiropractor
  • Chiropodist
  • Osteopath
  • Naturopath
  • Podiatrist
  • Registered Massage Therapist
  • Acupuncturist

A medical questionnaire is required, and there is a 20 visit maximum per discipline per year limit. For those consumers who wish to purchase more comprehensive add-on coverage, Flexcare Enhanced Plan is also available.

Talk to your family physician about the new courses of treatment available, and whether they would be beneficial to you. Your doctor can usually recommend a specialist. For those who are seeking a physician see the College Of Physicians And Surgeons web site.

posted on Tuesday, September 26, 2006 4:10:53 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #   
# Thursday, September 7, 2006
                 

Canadian Dispensing Fees

In Ontario the dispensing fees you pay the pharmacist are posted for you to see, and you may have noticed that those fees are not the same everywhere.

Here are some of the costs that pharmacies use to determine the dispensing fee:

  • Supplier costs.
  • Providing drug counseling.
  • Providing information to physicians and suppliers.
  • Record keeping.
  • Stocking of prescription drugs.

Some expenses are not directly prescription drug related but are business expenses, which are also taken into account when calculating and setting the dispensing fees. For example, the rent paid for the office spaces, the salaries of employees, etc.

So what options are open to the consumer? Shop around! Even within such major chains as Shoppers Drug Mart or Rexall Drugs, dispensing fees still vary. In Ontario the dispensing fees can range from $2.00 to $15.00 or more.

For persons with high and frequent use of prescription drugs there is also the option of using mail order pharmacies, who generally have lower fees.

There are also health plans out there that will pay reasonable and customary dispensing fees in full. An example of this is Manulife's Flexcare ComboPlus (Enhanced) plan.
 

posted on Thursday, September 7, 2006 2:50:05 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #   
# Wednesday, August 23, 2006
                 

Child Obesity and Health

Recent Canadian surveys are showing an alarming rate in the increase in child obesity. It has been estimated that over 500,000 Canadian children are obese or grossly overweight. Although medical factors can be to blame, lifestyle choices are also a common cause. Children are now spending more time playing video games and on the computer rather than participating in physical activities. As well, with time demands and financial concerns, nutrition seems to sometimes fall by the wayside.

The impact of child obesity can be a life-long obstacle that your child will be forced to overcome. Obese children tend to develop into obese adults. The health risks associated with obesity are alarming; these children are high-risk candidates for early disability, as well as premature deaths. Obesity also contributes to a decreased quality of life, as health issues may prevent the individual from pursuing their goals.

Childhood obesity can also affect your child's future insurance rates. As health status determines your health insurance, as well as life insurance rates, your child's health is important. Weight related health issues could potentially affect your premiums as much as smoking does. It is important to remember that while your Provincial healthcare assumes most health-care costs, they do NOT cover all costs.

For more information on childhood obesity, visit the Childhood Obesity Network at http://www.obesitynetwork.ca.

It is important for Canadians to be aware of their health, and to take positive steps in ensuring that the next generation of Canadians have the tools necessary to be as healthy and successful as we hope for them to be.
   

posted on Wednesday, August 23, 2006 3:10:50 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #   
# 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)  #   
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