Who pays for health care?Submitted by Financial Innovators Group on October 18th, 2021
Health events are a fact of life, but many Canadians underestimate the cost of health care. Between government health care plans and employer benefits, we’ve come to expect that we’re covered for anything that comes along. But there are many aspects that are not included in these plans and resisting that reality could lead to a stack of unexpected medical bills.
Planning for health expenses is just as important as buying a house or saving for retirement. In fact, health and wealth planning go hand in hand. With Sun Life Financial’s provincial health care funding guides, you can map a coverage route that navigates around potentially pricey health events.
The Sun Life Financial provincial health care funding guides make it easier to understand the difference between what’s included in government and typical employer health plans and what you’re expected to pay for yourself. The guides outline some of the coverage options, personal costs and other considerations for six common health events and services: disability, home care, long-term care (nursing home), palliative (end-of-life) care, prescription drugs and travel emergency medical.
Health always matters most
Canadians strongly identify with their health-care system. We’ve enjoyed comprehensive coverage of hospital stays and physician services for decades. When we’re faced with health care costs – which can be surprisingly expensive – we’re caught off guard. And these costs are only going up. According to the Canadian Institute for Health Information, there’s been a six-fold increase in health costs over the last 30 years. That means without personal health coverage, critical illness or long term care insurance, you may soon have to dig deeper into your pockets to pay for extra medical services.
Did you know?
Many people expect to pay nothing for health services. The 2014 Sun Life Canadian Health Index revealed that:
- 79% of Canadians assume they won’t have to pay for a long-term care residence stay,
- 89% don’t expect to pay for psychiatric treatment, and
- 74% don’t realize they will need to contribute to the cost of physiotherapy.
The reality? Out-of-pocket health costs are much higher than many people think. If you aren’t saving for health expenses, when the unexpected happens, the money will have to come from somewhere – and the risk of a huge retirement savings drain could be devastating.
Planning and paying: a shared responsibility
Government and employer health plans provide complementary coverage for many health-related expenses. Each province makes its own decisions about coverage, which may change with elected officials, larger deficits, shifts in demographics, and higher rates of many chronic diseases such as diabetes, certain cancers and dementia.
Visit Who pays for health care?, and take a look at the health care funding guide for your province. Then we can talk about your coverage, and develop a holistic plan that protects your family and your financial future.
 2014 Sun Life Canadian Health Index