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Negotiating the healthcare insurance gap

Cover what's not.

Many people believe the government will take care of their age-related medical problems, but that isn't necessarily the case. As Canada's 10 million aging baby boomers hit the system, governments are expected to transfer more and more health care costs back onto the individual. Ensure you and your parents are fully covered for everything they'll need.

The small things add up.

We're lucky to live in a country with a strong health care system. Yet despite its many benefits, there are growing coverage gaps. While trips to the doctor and hospital are taken care of, costs for services seniors need regularly may no longer be paid for.

Cuts might likely include vision care, x-rays for weakening bones, podiatrist visits for foot issues, hearing tests, fittings for hearing aids, dental visits and certain prescription drugs. Routine expenses can add up quickly, especially for seniors. Not to mention unplanned events, like a sprain that requires physiotherapy or special equipment. That's why it’s important to fill in the coverage gaps with insurance.

Examine their current coverage.

The first step is to find out the level of coverage your parents currently have. Being familiar with your parents' current health and possible future concerns will help you develop a fuller picture.

If they're on a group plan, they will likely no longer receive coverage at a certain age. If they have already have extended health care insurance, get a copy of their plan and go over it carefully to find out what is and isn't covered.

The next step is to learn what the provincial plan and PharmaCare pay for, especially in the light of potential illnesses or conditions your parents may face. This will include registering for the Fair PharmaCare plan, which subsidizes the cost of eligible drugs and medical supplies.

Health Insurance BC can answer your questions about both the Medical Services Plan (MSP) and PharmaCare.

†Insurance services provided by BlueShore Wealth.