A retirement plan, when properly executed, is cultivated over several decades.  It’s vital that a proper health and dental plan is included when looking at the big picture of retirement.  We often tell clients it’s never too early to start thinking about retirement.  But as with all plans, there are some things that must wait until the final stages.  Such is the case with individual health and dental plans, but just because it must wait doesn’t make it any less important to your overall planning.

In today’s ever-changing economy most individuals will lose access to their employer’s health and dental plan within a few months of retirement.  In many cases that’s right away.  The loss of that coverage needs to be replaced to properly protect against the potential for high-cost medications, as well as every day expenses such as trips to the dentist, chiropractor or physiotherapist.  Without a proper plan in place, your savings could be adversely affected.

Canadians are expected to pay an average of $5319 in medical costs per year after the age of 65 and health care costs continue to rise.*  Many retirees rely too heavily on the current Ontario Drug Benefit (for Ontarians 65 and older).  It’s important to remember that not all medications are covered through this program, and the list of drugs covered is constantly changing, thus the parameters and coverages that exist today may not be the same in the future.

Here a few things to keep in mind when approaching individual benefit plans:

  1. Budget, often individual plans will be more costly than what you may be used to through your employer’s plan. It’s important to balance coverage as well as cost, we can help you make that fit within your overall retirement plan.
  2. Insurability, most plans allow for guaranteed coverage if you enroll in an individual benefit plan within 60 days of losing your previous coverage. If you wait too long you may be declined coverage, or you may have exclusions for current medications or afflictions.
  3. Price, in many cases answering a basic medical questionnaire, may result in more affordable pricing or enhanced coverage. Just because you have the guarantee to convert doesn’t mean you should forgo answering medical questions.
  4. Options, some plans will include options like out of country insurance, hospital allowance, or additional life insurance coverage. While these benefits can be of great value, it’s important to understand the terms and conditions before making a final decision.

Individual Health plans are a great way to keep you and your family well protected into retirement.  There are lots of options and products to consider in the marketplace, we along with the Rock Harbour team can help you find the right fit for you!

*BMO Wealth Institute Report 2014


Michael Steffler, CEBS

Hub International Ontario – The Benefits Company