By Wayne Leacock
You can’t help but notice the unfortunate trend occurring in communities all over Canada – more and more people are suffering from debilitating pain or developing illnesses and diseases. As a result of these developments we are also seeing an increase in the number of people who support a more holistic approach to health care and the treatment of illness by alternative methods.
Unfortunately this portion of the population is still a minority and their voices have not yet been able to persuade Health Canada to enact changes that would allow alternative treatments to be covered by provincial health plans. You would also not be surprised by the number of new “traditional” treatments that have been developed, prescribed by doctors and are not covered by provincial health plans.
Cutting edge drugs are being recommended to patients who, sadly, find out that their provincial health plans and in some cases their plans at work do not cover these drugs. More and more Canadians are seeking the advice of naturopathic doctors who recommend treatment methods that compliment traditional medicine but are usually not covered by health plans. Every day Canadians are forced to pay for these treatments out-of-pocket, sometimes shelling out thousands of dollars a month. Those who cannot afford the costs ask friends and families for help. Some are forced to decide whether or not they pay the mortgage, buy groceries for forgo treatment. These are sacrifices that no one should ever have to make.
The fact remains that despite the large out-of-pocket expenses, a majority of Canadians believe that these alternative methods of treatment should be covered privately and not by provincial health plans[i] This mindset is not exclusive to a particular socio-economic demographic. Canadians across every wealth class feel that they are already taxed enough and increasing that burden is just not an option. So what are your options?
Of course the first option is developing a plan where you reduce your bad debt (i.e. credit cards) and start saving on a consistent basis.
“Do not save what is left after spending but spend what is left after saving.”
Warren Buffet has provided us with many great quotes but I feel that this one is the most powerful.
If you are able to control your spending, build up your savings and have a little left over I would explore the option of critical illness insurance. This is a product that would provide you with a tax-free benefit should you be diagnosed with or experience a heart-attack, a stroke, cancer and a number of other illnesses. There are no restrictions after you receive the benefit. This will allow you the flexibility to choose the best path of treatment and recovery that aligns with your approach to health care.
[i] Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Canada: Trends in Use and Public Attitudes 1997-2006 by Nadeem Esmail, The Fraser Institute.
About the Author – Wayne Fitzroy Leacock
Wayne is a financial advisor with experience working for companies such as Investor Group, Fidelity Investments and Sun Life Financial. During his career of over 10 years he has helped many Canadians realize their dream of financial freedom. In his spare time, Wayne enjoys reading, travelling and maintaining a regular mediation practice.
He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 416-366-8771 ext. 2331