A recent Report Card on Wait Times in Canada has called timely access to medical care and treatment in this country as still a work in progress. “It is not right to force Canadians to wait two or three times longer for necessary medical care than citizens of other countries that also have universal publicly funded health systems,” said the report.
A number of second-opinion type products have been available for some time in Canada; many of them included within Critical Illness or Long Term Disability income policies. While these services give policyholders quick access to a second opinion and even which facilities can give them the fastest medical resolution; they do not actually pay for the transportation to these facilities or for the cost of the medical treatment.
But now there is an alternative – an insurance product that helps ailing Canadians get not only a second opinion on health problems, but also pay for both emergency and elective treatment in other provinces, the U.S. and elsewhere in the world, where the wait times are shorter.
When Gino Stirpe’s brother was diagnosed with colon cancer and had to wait almost 10 weeks for surgery, Stirpe decided there had to be a better way. So he became involved with Best Doctors and a relatively new plan that provides access to 53,000 doctors around the world, including 2,000 in Canada.
Best Doctors Global Medical Care, insured through Lloyd’s of London, provides quick access to the closest private medical clinics providing MRIs and other diagnostic tools, rather than face long wait times in Canada. In addition, it provides access to the “best doctor” who can treat a condition, anywhere in the world, says Stirpe, now director of sales for Best Doctors Canada Insurance Services Inc.
It’s like having your own Concierge health insurance plan- an additional level of health insurance without the extended delay times that may take place in Canada under our Health Care system.
There are seven choices of deductibles, ranging from $250 to a maximum $20,000 – the most they will be out of pocket, he says. Purchased individually, the policies are underwritten and there may be exclusions or an increased deductible if there are pre-existing conditions. There is a maximum payout of up to $5 million and the policy continues for life.
Now available for Group plans without Medical Underwriting
Evidence of insurability is not required for groups with 10 or more employees which guarantees coverage1. Group plans can also include coverage for spouses and dependent children at an additional cost.
Ian Farrer, a partner at employee benefits firm Hamilton and Partners in Calgary, says the product works well for clients who don’t have the time to wait for treatment in Canada.
“The individual products are purchased by people who do not want to wait two years to get their hip done or want to access special treatment in the U.S. that may not be available in Canada because we just don’t have the technology,” says Farrer.
The plan can be relatively expensive depending on the person’s age, but Farrer, in his early 50s, says his policy costs him a couple of thousand dollars a year – which is less than his annual dental plan costs.
Coverage can be converted at your retirement for lifetime protection
In addition, the plan can act as a lifetime travel insurance product for many older Canadians as coverage can be converted at retirement to an individual plan for life2.
“When people retire this plan covers them anywhere in the world even if their health changes,” says Farrer. “So a lot of people from Alberta retire to Phoenix or Palm Springs and as they get older their health changes and they can’t buy traditional travel insurance. This policy will cover them as long as they want to keep it… The cost of this is fairly small in comparison to what they are spending on travel and purchasing second homes.”
This article was taken from the December 2014 Insurance and Investment Journal and edited for content
“We strongly recommend reviewing a proposal for this valuable protection for your key staff, and currently we can offer the group plan for firms with 5 or more members until July 1, 2015”
The Leslie Group is a full service benefits consulting firm that is, in keeping with market conditions and legislative changes, committed to providing you with the best advice needed to manage your group retirement program. We would be pleased to address any questions and can be reached at (416) 510-8966.