Many Canadians have group health insurance which is provided by their employer. These insurance plans cover health costs which are not covered by the employee’s provincial health insurance plan. This can include such expenses as dental care, vision care, prescription medications, etc. Depending on the group health insurance plan your employer provides, expenses such as physiotherapy, chiropractor, and speech therapist can also be covered, either partially or entirely.
Group health insurance is available for any business that has a minimum of 2 employees. This can be an easier and less expensive option to individual health insurance, as there may be less medical questions asked in order to qualify for health and dental benefits. Long term disability may also be included in a group plan; typically there is a 120 day waiting period for this benefit. However, individual long term disability coverage can be acquired with a typical waiting period of between 30 to 90 days, depending on the plan.
LTD insurance insures that a person will have an income if a sudden illness/accident prevents the insured person from working. It is designed to protect against the sudden loss of income, which for most Canadian families, can be financially devastating. Disability insurance pays a monthly benefit while the injured and/or ill person cannot return to work; this differs from critical illness insurance, which pays a lump sum even if the person returns to work. Disability insurance is available for either long-term or short-term; it also is available on a guaranteed issue basis. Guaranteed issue disability is currently only available to residents of Ontario; however Insurance Toronto is working on expanding this coverage for other Canadian residents. Four questions are asked for this coverage:
• Are you currently disabled?
• Are you currently hospitalized?
• Do you have cancer?
• Are you HIV positive?
If the answer to these 4 questions is no, then enrolment in this LTD coverage is guaranteed, regardless of any other health concerns and/or issues.
Having this type of insurance coverage can be especially important during this tough economic recession. For those families that are living paycheck to paycheck, any loss of income can be disastrous for their financial well-being. An unexpected illness or injury can financially cause a family to suddenly not be able to pay their mortgage, car payments, etc. as well as big expenses such as university tuition.
Closely read your employee benefits package to see whether or not Long Term Disability insurance is included, and if so, how much you are covered for. Examine your monthly expenses and how much money is needed every month to adequately support your family. If you are not fully covered should an accident/illness occur, you may want to purchase more LTD coverage. A consultation with your insurance broker is usually free, so it won’t cost anything to ask questions if you are unsure about what type of health insurance coverage you have, and whether or not it is suited for your current needs.