In 2018, the estimated spending on healthcare in Canada was a staggering $253.5 billion. That's over $6,800 per person and more than a 4% increase from the year before.
One reason for this continuous rise in healthcare costs is the aging population. In fact, in 2016, Canadian seniors outnumbered children 14 years and younger by about 100,000.
There's also the rising cost of drugs. Plus, more Canadians are developing chronic conditions, especially the aging population.
These statistics should be enough for you to realize how vital having a health insurance plan is. As early as now, you should be getting health quotes for a supplemental health plan.
The big question here is, what should your health insurance quotes look like? What makes up these estimates in the first place and how can comparing plans help?
We'll address all these and more in this post, so be sure to keep reading!
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Factors that Influence Health Insurance Quotes
Before you shop for private health insurance in Canada, it pays to know what factors make up their costs. Granted, you don't have control over some of these factors, like your age and family history. But others, like your body mass index (BMI) or tobacco use, are within your control.
Let’s have a closer look at the main factors that can affect your health insurance quotes.
Pre-Existing Medical Conditions
A pre-existing condition is any condition you developed before buying health insurance. It can be an injury or illness, such as hypertension, diabetes, or cancer.
Because pre-existing medical conditions are chronic or long-term, they're expensive to treat. Also, people with these conditions often have higher risks of developing other ailments.
That's why most insurance companies exclude benefits for such injuries or illnesses. They also often charge policyholders with these conditions higher premiums. Some insurers don't even sell plans to individuals with certain pre-existing conditions.
You can still get private health insurance in BC or any other Canadian territory even in such cases. But you should expect the insurer to exclude coverage for your condition. You'll also receive higher quotes, and ultimately, pay for higher premiums.
Like life insurance in Canada, private health plans get costlier the older a person is. After all, many health problems, like hypertension and arthritis, are age-related. In fact, of the 5.7 million Canadians suffering from arthritis, most were 75 years or older.
In short, insurance providers consider age a high-risk factor for making claims. To them, the older a policyholder is, the more likely they are to need medications or visit doctors. As such, they counter this risk by charging higher premiums.
Certain medical conditions, such as cancer, diabetes, or hypertension, run in the family. If this is true in your case, you can expect some insurers to charge you higher premiums.
They may not exclude coverage since you haven't developed these diseases yet. But your higher risks of developing them can make your plan's total costs more expensive.
Tobacco Smoking Habits
Tobacco use increases the risks of stroke and death by heart disease by up to three times. Furthermore, smoking accounts for almost a third of all cancer deaths. It's also associated with hypertension, lung diseases, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
With all those risks, it's easy to see why smokers have to pay more for health insurance. After all, insurers will shell out more to cover their health claims. They also face lower premium revenues since smokers have a higher mortality rate.
Body Mass Index
In 2017, almost two-thirds of Canadians were overweight or obese. That's a steep increase from the 14% obesity rate back in 1978!
So, no wonder more and more Canadians are paying higher health insurance premiums. If you have a high BMI, prepare yourself to be part of this group. For starters, high BMI is the most common symptom of being overweight or obese.
Being overweight can lead to obesity, which in turn causes type 2 diabetes and heart disease. It's also a leading cause of high blood pressure, arthritis, and cancer. These increased risks are one of the top reasons those with high BMI have higher health premiums.
Factor-Based Ways to Keep Health Quotes Low
You can't change your genes or turn back time, but you can quit smoking and start losing weight now. You can also buy health insurance while you’re still young or at least before you get any older. All these can help make your health insurance plan more affordable.
More than that, you're making yourself healthier, which lowers your risks for illnesses. Lower odds of developing health problems also mean lower potential out-of-pocket health costs. You'll enjoy a longer, higher quality of life (which also makes you low risk in the eyes of insurers).
Here are more specific tips on how you can keep those quotes (based on your individual factors) low.
Look for Insurers with Smoking Cessation Programs
Canada has quite the large smoking population—about five million. Since that's a considerable number, insurance companies still offer coverage for smokers. But some insurers, like Manulife and Green Shield Canada, are "friendlier" toward smokers.
These companies may not only charge lower premiums but also help smokers quit. They have smoking cessation programs that can help you kick the habit.
If you smoke, compare insurance companies that offer smoking cessation programs. If you're successful in quitting, they'll offer you lower health insurance premiums.
Look for "Bundled Policy" Discounts
Most insurers (even those not as friendly toward smokers) offer this type of discount. They charge lower health insurance premiums if you buy their other insurance products. This can be homeowners, life, car, or business insurance.
Start Managing Your Weight Better
Weight loss is easier said than done, but it's doable, especially if you consider the risks of high BMI.
Start by skipping fast food, which contains a lot of unhealthy fat and sugars. These ultra-processed foods are a leading cause of obesity. Despite that, they still make up an average of 45% of Canadian adults' daily calories.
Moving more and sitting less can also help you jumpstart your weight loss regimen. Once you see those pounds drop, you may be eligible for lower health insurance premiums. The nearer you are to an ideal weight; the more likely insurers will charge you lower premiums.
Picking Your Coverage Level
The level of coverage you get will affect your premiums, deductibles, and copayments. The greater your coverage, the higher your premiums. But this also means lower risks of facing exorbitant out-of-pocket expenses.
That said, you should review the aspects of your health that you need greater coverage for. Do you take a lot of prescription drugs? If so, then look for a health plan that has a high coverage limit for the medicines you take.
If your oral health is more of a priority, consider getting a combination of medical and dental plan. You may still get prescription drug coverage, but you'll also receive dental coverage.
What's important is to get a plan that will provide you coverage for what you actually need. So, take some time looking at your previous healthcare expenses.
Then, note the areas you spent more on, like doctors, prescriptions, or medical supplies. Also, if you want to keep seeing the same doctor, be sure they're part of the insurance network.
Lower Premiums vs. Higher Deductibles
There's more to health insurance plans than just the monthly premiums you'll pay for. There are also the deductibles and copayments, although not all plans have deductibles. Some of the health plans from Sun Life don't need policyholders to pay a deductible.
But what exactly is a deductible though? Well, it's the amount you need to cover first—using your own money—before your policy kicks in.
Say your plan has a $2,000 deductible. You need to shell out that $2,000 first for medical services. Only after you paid your deductible will your plan start to cover your healthcare costs.
Sometimes, a high-deductible plan can save you more money than a low or zero-deductible one. If you're healthy, have a low-risk job, or you don't do extreme sports, a higher deductible plan may be a better choice. You’ll spend more upfront, but you’ll pay lower monthly premiums.
If you're planning to conceive or already pregnant, a low or no-deductible plan may be better. The same goes true if you make frequent visits to a doctor or have a chronic illness. Also, consider this type of health plan if you're on expensive prescriptions.
Get and Compare Health Insurance Quotes Now
True, insurers use the same factors when determining premiums (and quotes). But they treat these risk factors differently, so for some, you may be lower-risk even with your age or job. That's why you should get as many health quotes first from various insurers.
Comparing these quotes is the only sure way to find out which plan has the best coverage. From there, you'll see which one has the most affordable rates with adequate coverage.
Ready to get those health insurance quotes right in your inbox? Then be sure to request your quote now! We'll start the search for you so you can be on your way to getting your health covered soon!