10 things you should know about choosing a plan for your family

Wednesday, October 09, 2013
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Choosing Coverage, For you and your family

10 things to consider when choosing a health plan for you or your family

Regardless of what stage of life you're in, having adequate health coverage is important. Since the government health plan doesn't cover everything, protecting you and your family from unexpected medical expenses should be a priority.

There are many things to consider when choosing a plan. The more you know and understand what options are available, the more likely you are to find the right plan for you. Consider the following to help guide your decision when choosing coverage.

  1. Do you have all the coverage you need?
    Provincial government health plans, (MSP and PharmaCare), cover only the basic medical needs such as a visit to your physician or hospital care. Supplementary health coverage includes medical services and supplies NOT covered by your provincial health care plans. This includes coverage for prescription drugs, medical equipment and supplies, select services from registered medical practitioners, vision care, dental care and more.
  2. Why do you need coverage even if you're healthy?
    The right time to purchase individual health coverage is when you and/or your family are healthy. You need to obtain coverage before any unforeseen future accident or sickness since most individual health plans don't cover the costs for conditions you have or may have had for a period of time prior to purchase.
  3. What options are available if coverage is not available through your employer?
    Many individuals still don't have coverage through their employer. It's good to know there are coverage options available to you when group coverage is either not available or you are not eligible for benefit coverage through your workplace. If you're between jobs or looking for a job, an individual plan can be an affordable way to ensure you have the protection you need.
  4. Are you retiring or do you expect your group coverage to end?
    If you are preparing for retirement or if your employment is ending for another reason, you can continue to receive the health coverage you've become accustomed to. There are conversion options available that don't require medical questionnaires and waive any pre-existing conditions, meaning the plan will cover prescriptions you're already taking.
  5. Are prescription drugs covered?
    Prescription drug coverage can be purchased as an option to your Extended Health Care plan. Our Blue Choice plan offers “Essential” and “Enhanced” options. The Essential drug option covers 80% of the cost of PharmaCare-eligible prescription drugs. The Enhanced drug option covers 80% of the cost of PharmaCare-eligible prescription drugs, plus prescriptions that are not eligible under the government PharmaCare plan. The Enhanced option also includes a Pay Direct Drug card so your pharmacist can submit the portion your drug plan will pay electronically.
  6. Do you own your own business?
    If you own a business with 3 or fewer employees, you can benefit from individual coverage. Where employer benefit plans have minimum group size requirements, small business owners and entrepreneurs can purchase individual coverage or take advantage of products like Business Select designed for your unique needs. If you are self-employed, your health plan premiums may be tax deductible as a business expense. That could mean sizeable savings for you — in some cases up to 40% off the premiums you pay.
  7. Does the health plan cover you while traveling?
    Even if your health plan includes some Travel coverage, in most cases, it may not provide enough financial protection in the event of a serious illness or injury. Travel coverage can be purchased on its own or our Blue Choice plan for individuals and families gives you the option to include additional travel coverage which provides up to $5 million in coverage and it pays first, before your health plan.
  8. Are you looking for dental coverage only?
    Individual plans also provide coverage for gaps that may exist in your employer sponsored health plan. For example, our Dental Only plans can provide coverage for individuals who don't have dental coverage.
  9. What is the health insurer's reputation for service?
    The service your benefit provider provides is as important as the benefits you choose. Are they known for quick and hassle-free claim payments? How friendly and professional are their representatives? Do they offer easy-to-use self-service? Do your homework and shop around. Seek advice before purchasing a health plan. Speak to a professional benefit plan advisor or one of our Individual and Plans Account Managers.
  10. Be sure to consider all of your options carefully
    You're looking for a plan to help protect you and your family from the unexpected costs of health care. You want a plan that provides the coverage that you're looking for — at a reasonable cost. Consider other features of your health plan that can help you save on out-of-pocket expenses. Programs like Blue Advantage, offer additional savings on the purchase of eyeglasses, medical equipment and supplies as well as additional health care services. Paying less for health care expenses can provide you with substantial savings.

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