- Tim Kane
When Life Hands You Lemons
Life is a funny thing, healthcare and proper employee benefit plans are something nobody thinks about benefits until they need them. Just when you think your family is doing okay, your world gets turned upside down and it is important to know who is in your corner.
My family and I caught up with good friends of ours last night, one of whom was just diagnosed with cancer. It is funny how a conversation starts and where it takes you. We talked about how they were handling it emotionally and this lead us to an area I never really thought of. What about the financial part of it?
Being Canadian, I just assumed these costs would be covered by our Canadian Healthcare System. Man, was I wrong. I guess part of me knew it wasn’t fully covered as we see claims for this type of thing go through the myHSA system all the time. It wasn't until I put myself in those shoes that I began to consider things from a different perspective. Benefits are often times all about the now and not the what-if.
"Being Canadian, I just assumed these costs would be covered by our Canadian Healthcare System. Man, was I wrong."
You would think this is counter-intuitive to what we do, which is Spending Accounts. However, on that cold Saturday night in YYC, it quickly reinforced our model of working with Advisors and making sure that there it is not just one or the other (a spending account or insurance program), but how they work in conjunction to create a great benefit plan.
There are many questions that you have to ask yourself when you or someone you love is diagnosed with a horrible disease:
How do I consider the financial consequence and balance the emotional part of this?
Provincial health care will cover generic drugs but not brand name. Is generic really as good as brand name?
Do I really know enough to choose the best for my loved one?
Do I have to take a second mortgage out to afford this tragedy?
How will I pay for all these costs?
When I talked to the spouse about the costs involved with treatment and how every bit of it was covered by their benefit plan, he told me how thankful he was that his employer offered something that was made for situations like this. He also commented that he was forever loyal to his employer for this, which I thought was a really cool sentiment. If these costs were not covered it would make this unfortunate situation even more stressful. If companies ever wondered how powerful a good benefit plan can be, this is a great example to reference. A good benefit plan through an unbiased advisor with a mix of spending accounts, insured program, pro-active wellness benefits and kick-ass HR department who cares, could literally change someone's life forever.