Preparing for Medical

Preparing for your Insurance Medical

By | FAQ, Individual Services, Life Insurance | No Comments

If you have applied for new insurance, a medical exam may be required. Most exams usually take approximately 30 minutes, and can be completed at your convenience in your home, office at a medical clinic. We will let you know what testing is required, and a Nurse or Doctor will contact you to schedule the appointment. If the person contacting you cannot accommodate your requested schedule, please DO NOT book with them, and let us know so we can find someone else who can work with your schedule.

We always suggest booking your appointment in the morning, which makes it easier to fast, and also typically is when our results are at their best. Below are some tips to help you look your best.

The Basics
  • Be well rested
  • Avoid heavy exercise 24 hours before any exam
  • Avoid alcoholic beverages for 24-48 hours, if possible.
  • Try to avoid or minimize caffeine, or excessively fatty or fried foods 24 hours prior.
  • If they will be doing blood work: wear short sleeves, or sleeves that can easily be rolled up. If possible, fast for 12 hours, with the exception of drinking water.
  • Refrain from using non-prescription and herbal supplements or non-prescribed medications for at least 24 hours.
  • Prescription medications may be continued as prescribed. Be sure to provide any prescription medication details to the nurse.
IF YOU ARE FEELING ILL, SUFFERING FROM NEW PAINS OR SYMPTOMS, OR ARE UNDER SEVERE STRESS ON EXAM DAY, YOU SHOULD RESCHEDULE YOUR APPOINTMENT.

Your appointment may also include a Paramedical Exam.

This is an interview with where the practitioner will gather information about your medical history, and typically includes obtaining your height, weight, and blood pressure. Try to prepare details of any Doctors or Clinics visited, medical consultations, tests, follow-up appointments and results where possible.

Next Steps

The results of your exam are sent to a laboratory, with the details then sent to the insurance company, where an underwriter will review them along with the information on your initial application. If you would like to have the results of any testing for your records, please let us know. We will have the insurance company share their findings with your Doctor.

Any Questions?

If you ever have any questions or concerns at all, please contact our office ASAP. Someone is always available to help you during business hours at 416.259.1166, or if it is after hours, contact Darren or Steve directly.

To receive a customized quote and talk to an advisor please click here and someone will reach out to you within one business day.

Estate Planning

Your Estate Plan: Creating a Legacy, While Preserving Your Wealth

By | FAQ, Group Retirement Programs, Group Services, Retirement Income Solutions | No Comments

Many of our clients are reaching a new phase in their lives where they are thinking about their own estate plans. The reality is that many of us will live as long in retirement as we’ve spent in our working lives. Even for those considering semi-retirement, this can have a direct impact on your retirement income and lifestyle, and what you leave as a legacy for your children and grandchildren.

Based on recent statistics, living to age 100 is more likely than you might have expected.

Is 100 the new 85?
Probably at 65 of living to the following ages:

80 Yrs Old

91%

85 Yrs Old

77%

90 Yrs Old

53%

95 Yrs Old

24%

Retirement today is different from the traditional ideas of retirement in the past. There has been a shift away from Defined Benefit Pension Plans, and reductions to Government Programs. The burden has shifted back to individuals to generate their own income in retirement. Even if you are prudent enough to have saved over the years, traditional investing does not allow you the certainty that your money will last, and there will be something left for future generations.

How would you like to spend all of your assets in retirement and still leave a legacy to the next generation?

An ideal retirement plan is one that allows you to maximize your retirement income and still provide the legacy that you hope to leave for your loved ones. A simple strategy that is often overlooked is the use of permanent life insurance. Life insurance can act as ‘Retirement Insurance’, allowing you the flexibility to maximize your retirement income during the living years, with the comfort of knowing that a guaranteed benefit is always there to complete your estate plan.

Consider this: A healthy couple aged 60 could allocate less than $14,000 per year from their estate or other assets in order to guarantee a legacy of $1,000,000 tax-free to their heirs. You can also allocate a larger amount over a fixed period of 10 or 20 years, with a guaranteed benefit locked in and assured to be there for your family.

What is your tolerance for outliving your money?

To secure your plan even further, many people are allocating a portion of their retirement assets into an Annuity, or an investment fund that provides a guaranteed income for life. These solutions can provide a tax-efficient, guaranteed lifetime income, with the potential for growth if the investment markets perform well. Combined with life insurance, this combination allows you to enjoy your retirement knowing that you will never outlive your money, and there will always be a significant estate for your loved ones.

Contact us to find out how we can help you to create an estate plan that is designed to meet the needs of your family, your heirs, your business interests as well as any philanthropic considerations.

Vs

Critical Illness vs. Long-Term Disability

By | FAQ, Individual Health Plans, Individual Services, Living Benefits | No Comments
Which coverage is right for you?
A great career, a happy family, a beautiful home —  everything you’ve worked so hard to achieve, as well as your ability to enjoy it, depends upon your health.

Despite the many measures you may take to ensure your wellness, life can be unpredictable. Recent statistics from Canadian Cancer Society indicate that:

  • 1 in 2 Canadians will develop cancer in their lifetime
  • 60% of people diagnosed with cancer survive at least 5 years

And according to Stats Canada:

  • a 35-year-old has a 50% chance of being disabled for 3 months or longer
  • and a 38% chance of having a disability lasting longer than five years

Clearly, the chances of being diagnosed with a life-altering illness or injury are higher than ever. However, people are surviving and living through these challenging situations with greater frequency and for longer than ever before. The impact can be devastating, both financially and emotionally.

Aside from living a healthy lifestyle, what is the best way to protect your income and the life you have built with it? Both Long-Term Disability and Critical Illness insurance are solutions that can help. However, there is often confusion about these 2 unique types of protection.

So what’s the difference?

First and foremost, the payouts are quite different:
Long-Term Disability (LTD) Insurance offers a regular monthly payout after a waiting period of typically 90 or 120 days, payable to age 65, while

Critical Illness (CI) Insurance offers a one time lump sum payout of the entire CI benefit 30 days after diagnosis

No two situations are the same, and as a result, there is no one perfect solution.
An LTD claim can last for decades, and pay out millions of dollars for a long-lasting illness or injury, but is typically paid in monthly increments after the waiting period, and while you are unable to work. CI claims are paid out in full 30 days after diagnosis of one of the covered conditions, whether you are working or have a loss of income or not.

Let’s look at a quick breakdown of some other key differences.

Long-Term Disability (LTD) Insurance

Essentially, LTD assures that you will continue to receive a portion of your income in the event that you are unable to work due to injury or illness. Your ability to work is your greatest asset, and LTD is the most effective way to protect it.

HOW MUCH ARE YOU WORTH?

Based on current annual income, here are two examples of potential earnings to age 65, assuming a 5% increase per year. This is the risk that LTD Coverage looks to protect.

At Age 35:

$60,000 = $3,986,331

$96,000 = $6,378,129

$180,000 = $11,958,993

At Age 45:

$60,000 =$1,983,957

$96,000 =  $3,174,332

$180,000 = $5,951,872

What qualifies as a disability?

Disability insurance covers illnesses or injuries that impact your ability to work. Some of the most common causes of LTD claims are mental health disorders, musculoskeletal (back pain, arthritic conditions), cancer, heart disease, and injury as a result of accidents.

It is important to understand that different types of policies provide varying definitions of Disability, and the better the policy, the more reasonable the definition is to satisfy in order to satisfy and thus receive a disability benefit.

How is it purchased?

There are three common ways that people obtain Long-Term Disability Insurance:

  1. Coverage provided through your employee benefit plan
  2. Purchasing a stand-alone individual policy
  3. Supplementing an existing group or other disability plan, which may have inferior definitions, or limited coverage amounts

For example, an executive earning $250,000 might be eligible for as much as $10,000/month of disability income protection. However, their group plan may provide coverage that is limited to $5,000, as an example. In this case, the executive is well under-insured, and may be eligible for a discounted “top-up” policy to get to the appropriate level of coverage based on their income.

Individual disability policies can include Riders that provide additional benefits, including:

  • Increasing disability benefit to keep pace with the cost of living
  • Guaranteed option to increase insurance in the future without medical evidence
  • Occupational HIV protection for health professionals
  • Potential for a Refund of Premiums if you never have a claim

Individual policies are also fully portable. If you lose your job or have stopped working for a period before age 65, you may be eligible to receive disability benefits even if you did not have employment income at the time.

Critical Illness Insurance (CI)

Critical Illness insurance is designed specifically to help with the financial needs associated with recovering from a serious illness.

The benefit can be used in any way you choose:

  • Replace lost income for self and spouse/caregiver
  • Repay your mortgage and other debts
  • Gain access to private medical services or treatment outside Canada
  • Private nursing, home care and childcare services
  • Take an extended vacation
  • Make modifications to your home and/or vehicle
  • Maintain your lifestyle and retirement planning
How is Critical Illness insurance purchased?

Critical Illness is not included in as many employee benefit plans, so it is up to each individual to consider their own needs and seek out this valuable protection. Policies can be obtained on an individual basis, in a similar fashion to life insurance, where premiums can be fixed for a level term like 10 or 20 years, or on a permanent basis.

Coverage is not tied to your ability to work or earn an income, and benefits can be used for any purpose you desire. Since LTD benefits are tied to earned income reported on tax returns, CI is often used to bridge the gap for people who may not take significant income, but still have a lot at risk if they had to step away to deal with an illness. It is also used often to protect a non-income earning spouse, since the working spouse’s income would likely be impacted if they family were dealing with a serious illness.

Benefits of CI:

Benefits are paid out as a tax-free lump sum, 30 days after diagnosis of a covered condition. This provides a quick solution to replace lost income, pay for excess care, eliminate debt, or simply provide peace of mind and reduce financial stress.

CI Policies can be structured to include some of the following benefits:

  • Term Policies can be Convertible, without medical questions, to Permanent coverage
  • Some policies provide a full Refund of 100% of all Premiums paid if you never have a CI claim
  • Many policies also include ancillary benefits to help get a Second Medical Opinion to be confirm a diagnosis or treatment plan, or to help access specialized care tailored for your condition

Both CI and LTD can serve as valuable solutions, depending upon your specific situation. Nobody knows what the future holds, but when we have protection for both the short term, while also covering the long-term risks as well, we have a solid foundation for financial well-being.

Our team at SC Insurance is always happy to answer your questions specific to your own situation. We’re here to help protect your wealth by protecting your health.

What qualifies as a Critical Illness?

There are Basic Plans that cover cancer, heart attack and stroke, and Comprehensive Plans that cover a longer list of illnesses. The majority of claims under all plans are for cancer, which make up approximately 70% of all CI claims in Canada.

Below is a list of conditions included in many Comprehensive CI Plans.

Some plans may vary, and the definitions of each condition are available for review. Most plans also include additional conditions which are eligible for a partial benefit payout, when one of the following conditions is not met.

Acquired brain injury

Aortic surgery

Aplastic anemia

Benign brain tumour

Bacterial meningitis

Blindness

Cancer (life-threatening)

Coma

Coronary artery bypass surgery

Deafness

Dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease

Heart attack

Heart valve replacement or repair

Kidney failure

Loss of independent existence

Loss of limbs

Loss of speech

Major organ transplant

Major organ failure on waiting list

Motor neuron disease

Multiple sclerosis

Occupational HIV infection

Paralysis

Parkinson’s disease and specified atypical parkinsonian disorders

Severe burns

Stroke

Note: This list is subject to change, and intended as a summary of coverage provided by many Comprehensive CI plans. The list of covered conditions and definitions for any policy or insurance company can be provided upon request.

cost

Cost-Plus: Valuable Information for Business Owners and Executives

By | FAQ, Individual Services, Life Insurance | No Comments

If you are a Business Owner or Executive and your Company has a benefit plan, your Company could pay for your uninsured Medical or Dental Expenses.

This includes things like as Orthodontics, Major Dental, Laser Eye Surgery and other items that may not be covered under your benefit plan, as well as expenses in excess of plan limits.

This may also include excess Paramedical coverage (i.e. Chiropractor, Massage, Physiotherapy, Speech Therapy, Psychologist, etc), Glasses or Contact Lenses, and many other Medical and Dental items considered eligible under the Income Tax Act.

Cost plus is a valuable element of most employee benefit plans, as it can provide your key personnel with a tax-free benefit, using pre-tax business dollars. However, many people still don’t know that their existing plan may include this benefit already.

Any legitimate Medical or Dental expense, as defined by CRA which is limited or not covered by your plan, may be eligible. Common examples are Paramedical amounts (Chiropractor, Massage, Physiotherapy, Speech Therapy, Psychologist, etc) in excess of the benefit plan maximums, Major Dental or Orthodontic coverage, Laser Eye Surgery, etc.  There is no additional cost to having the Cost Plus benefit, other than the administrative fees* and taxes incurred when a claim is made.  Claims are not reflected in the group’s experience, so it doesn’t impact the pricing of your benefit plan.

Example:

The child of an executive requires $3,000 of Orthodontic Treatment.  The Benefit Plan covers Basic Dental coverage only.

Assumptions:
  • Marginal tax rate is 43%
  • Cost Plus claim would cost $3,000 plus a 10% administration fee* ($300) and applicable taxes for a total of $3,300 (+ taxes)
  • Corporate tax rate for this business is 15%
Without Cost Plus:
  • Executive must earn $5,300 to have $3,000 after tax dollars to pay the expense
With Cost Plus:
  • Business pays the Cost Plus claim with $3,300 (+ taxes) in corporate funds
  • $3,300 is tax deductible for the business
  • Executive receives $3,000 in non-taxable benefits
  • With a 15% tax rate the net cost to the business after tax is only $2,805
The Result:

With Cost Plus coverage, the cost to the executive is reduced to $2,805 and is paid for by the business.  The expense has been paid for in a tax effective manner and the executive has received $3,000 in tax-free benefits.

* Administrative fees range from 10 to 15% and minimums and maximums may apply from different insurers.

Owners/Shareholders should consult their accountant or tax advisor for more details on how this benefit may apply to them. Taxation rules and interpretations are constantly changing and this example should not be taken as tax advice.

Note:

  1. Effective January 1, 2013 CRA views trading bonuses for flex credits (HSA) as taxable benefits
  2. CRA may deem that the application of cost-plus for shareholders only may result in a taxable benefit and negate the benefits of a cost plus claim