Long-term care insurance for an aging population

Canada is facing significant challenges due to its aging population. In 2011 the median age of Canadians was 39.9 years, compared to 26.2 years in 1971. Seniors have become the fastest-growing age group, and this is coupled with an increased life expectancy and a below-replacement fertility rate. It is estimated that 14% of Canadians are currently 65 and older, and this age bracket is expected to increase to 25% of Canadians by 2035.

The likelihood of having to manage a chronic disease while in long-term care increases with age, and in many cases you will be largely responsible for the associated costs given that they are not fully covered by government health care programs. Long-term care insurance can provide financial coverage in the event that you cannot care for yourself due to a chronic illness, disability, or cognitive impairment. The benefit of this insurance is that it provides the freedom to choose the kind of care you want (whether at home, in assisted-living residences, or in long-term care facilities) as well as the peace of mind that loved ones won’t be burdened with the financial load.

Learning about and deciding on the right plan is important. Long-term care insurance should offer protection, freedom, flexibility, and control. For example, Sun Life Financial offers a long-term care insurance plan that provides an income benefit if you become physically dependent and need to receive care at home or in a long-term care facility. The required waiting period before benefits are payable is either 90 or 180 days for each type of coverage. The weekly tax-free benefit ranges from a minimum of $150 to a maximum of $2000 and is paid out once you are physically dependent and no longer able to perform the basic activities of daily living without substantial help. Coverage (provided for life) is available for purchase for people who are between the ages of 21 and 80. Plans offered by other insurance companies may have different features so it is worthwhile to review various options.

All of this underscores the importance of talking with family members and loved ones about your wishes for long-term care and your expectations, planning for the health care services that are needed with age, and understanding the associated costs. Three out of four Canadians report that their personal finances would be impacted if they developed a chronic health condition. As physicians, you can appreciate why it’s important to consider health care needs in retirement. Long-term care insurance offers protection now and in the future.
—Erin Higgins
Insurance Advisor, Doctors of BC
—Eric Wong
UBC Medicine, Class of 2018

Erin Higgins,, Eric Wong. Long-term care insurance for an aging population. BCMJ, Vol. 58, No. 1, January, February, 2016, Page(s) 39-40 - News.

Above is the information needed to cite this article in your paper or presentation. The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) recommends the following citation style, which is the now nearly universally accepted citation style for scientific papers:
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About the ICMJE and citation styles

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