What is critical illness insurance?

Issue: BCMJ, vol. 63, No. 5, June 2021, Page 202 News
By: Hali Stus

As one of the licensed, noncommissioned insurance advisors with Doctors of BC, I meet with physicians every day to talk about member-exclusive insurance offerings. Critical illness insurance is now part of every discussion, though it is less understood than life or disability insurance.

Critical illness insurance was introduced to the insurance industry on 6 October 1983. The founder, South African cardiac surgeon, Dr Marius Barnard, identified a gap in the insurance industry through the care of his patients. Since then, critical illness insurance has been accepted into insurance markets around the world. These policies provide the insured with a tax-free, one-time predetermined lump-sum payment in the event you are diagnosed with one of the 25 illnesses covered under the policy.

You may wonder how this is different from disability insurance. While disability insurance is designed to replace your income, critical illness insurance is designed to help with costs so you can focus on your health. These costs may include medical treatment not covered by MSP or your extended health benefits policy, in-home care, modifications to your home, equipment to assist with mobility, or replacement of income from a spouse who is caring for you. If you are fortunate to have a speedy recovery, you can use the money to pay down debt or top up savings.

Doctors of BC offers a group term plan that is available to members, their spouses, and dependent children. In addition, our insurance advisors can offer policies from major Canadian insurers, should you want additional features beyond what the group plan offers, such as premium refund upon cancellation.

Critical illness insurance provides protection against expenses that can come with a serious illness, and it can give you peace of mind that, if you are diagnosed with one of the covered conditions, you will not derail your retirement savings plan or be faced with increasing debt to assist with recovering. Proof of good health is required at time of application to determine eligibility. Doctors of BC advisors are available to discuss coverage options that best suit your needs.
—Hali Stus
Insurance Advisor, Members’ Products and Services

Hali Stus. What is critical illness insurance?. BCMJ, Vol. 63, No. 5, June, 2021, Page(s) 202 - News.

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