When mapping out what your ideal retirement might look like, it’s important to budget for all kinds of expenses you may not have considered, including costs associated with keeping you in good health. While here in Canada we are fortunate to enjoy government-funded health care, it doesn’t cover as much as you’d think, which in turn can throw your finances, and your retirement goals, way off course.
Health care as we age
Not surprisingly, as we age there are emerging health issues that can impact our quality of life, ranging from minimally to significantly. This could include our vision, oral health, mobility, hearing, and other medical issues that require prescription medications, hospital stays, prosthetics, and so on. After years of working hard and finally being able to retire, you don’t want your health care concerns or costs to get in the way of enjoying life and living comfortably.
What’s covered, what’s not
While some of the health-related expenses listed below are partially covered for many low-income seniors in Ontario over the age of 65 (annual income for a single person being $19,300 or couples $32,300), they are typically not covered for the rest of the population who isn’t classified as a senior and/or low-income.
Here is a list of several key health expenses with little to no coverage, especially for non-low-income retirees:
Dentistry and dentures – although some oral surgeries done in hospital are covered
Eyeglasses/contact lenses – eye exams for all people over the age of 65 are covered (one every 12 months), but eyewear and laser surgery, are not
Non-generic, trial or specialty prescription medications – Note that government-funded prescription coverage does not begin until you turn 65
Paramedical services such as massage, chiropractic, dietitian, etc.
Mobility supports – such as walkers and scooters (although there is some coverage for low-income individuals)
Prosthetic/orthotic devices (although there is some coverage for low-income individuals)
Home modifications – such as the installation of new handrails, ramps, bath modifications, etc.
Home health care (although there is some coverage for low-income individuals)
Depending on your personal health (and/or that of your spouse), these out-of-pocket expenses can be significant. If you are fortunate enough to have an employer-sponsored or ‘rollover’ plan that helps cover your expenses into your retirement, the downside is that you are often on the hook to cover the monthly insurance costs after retiring.
Luckily, there are several options for personal health insurance based on the types of coverage you need that will see you into your retirement and beyond. You want your retirement to be happy, healthy AND wealthy, so be sure to budget for your health expenses now and find a personal health insurance plan that best suits your needs. Luckily, there are several options for personal health insurance based on the types of coverage you need that will see you into your retirement and beyond.