A record number of Canadians are surviving their cancer diagnosis. Advances in treatment provide new hope, but also increased costs — and many Canadians aren’t prepared. Help your clients understand and manage out-of-pocket expenses related to a serious health condition.
November, also known as “Movember”, puts the spotlight on men’s health to raise awareness about issues such as prostate cancer and other illnesses that may disproportionately affect men.
The awareness and fundraising efforts of Movember are important; 1 in 8 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime and the risk increases with age. If left untreated, prostate cancer cells will invade other areas of the body. The good news is that it can be treated and managed successfully if diagnosed early.1
With its focus on fostering a dialogue about men’s health, Movember is a good time to join the conversation and get your clients thinking about the risk of cancer and other serious health conditions, and to help them find solutions that can safeguard their finances.
MORE CANADIANS ARE STRUGGLING WITH THE FINANCIAL REPERCUSSIONS OF ILLNESS
2 of the risks facing Canadians going through a cancer diagnosis and treatment are a sharp decline in income and a sudden rise in expenses.2
For example, your client may have out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs that aren’t covered by their provincial health plan, costs associated with travelling to receive treatment and expenses for treatment and help at home. Provincial health plans vary across Canada, and you can bring value to a client by helping them learn about their provincial health plan and other resources available to them.
Are your clients prepared to manage the costs of a serious health event?
Help clients better anticipate the potential consequences of future health events with Who pays for health care?, Sun Life Financial’s guide to health-care spending across Canada.
WHAT’S THE IMPACT ON RETIREMENT?
When health issues lead to early retirement, clients may not have been able to save as much as they had planned, and they may face increased health-care costs earlier than expected. According to the 2014 Sun Life Canadian Health Index, almost 70% of retired Canadians didn’t retire as planned. And of those who retired earlier than expected, 41% cited personal health as the primary reason.
WHAT CAN CLIENTS DO TO MITIGATE THE FINANCIAL RISKS?
Critical illness insurance is one option to help safeguard your client’s financial future. Clients can suffer from a serious health condition at any age. Being proactive about their options puts them in a better position to secure coverage. CII pays a lump sum benefit after the insured is diagnosed with one of the defined covered conditions. The client can then spend the benefit in any way they choose. For example:
- Income protection: The CII benefit can help replace lost income from taking time off work to recover, or from having a family member take time off to provide care. This helps clients stay on track with their savings and prevents them from accumulating debt.
- Cover out-of-pocket costs: Studies across Canada show that travel costs can quickly surpass all other out-of-pocket expenses,3 and clients who receive home care may need to pay for equipment and supplies and even some prescriptions. The CII benefit can help cover the costs.
- Meet existing financial obligations: Clients can use the CII benefit to help maintain mortgage payments or repay debt during treatment and recovery.
Nearly half of Canadians will develop cancer in their lifetime, and 62% are expected to survive for 5 years or more.4 The fact that cancer treatments are advancing and patients are living longer is an optimistic development. But it also requires clients to think about how they’ll pay the associated costs, and how they’ll protect themselves and their families from financial hardship. This Movember, take the opportunity to talk to your clients about the financial reality of a critical illness diagnosis in Canada, and help them increase their odds of achieving healthy finances in retirement.
3 Longo, C., Fitch, M., Deber, R., Williams, A.P. (2006). “Financial and Family Burden Associated with Cancer Treatment in Ontario, Canada.” Support Care Cancer 14: 1077-1085.
4 Canadian Cancer Statistics, 2011.