Many people have an unfortunate misconception that “being a senior” automatically means that all necessary health-care related costs are paid for by someone else – that it is free because they are a senior. We hear this comment regularly when we discuss costs for services that the government does not pay for. Unfortunately, a vast majority of our health care needs are not covered by OHIP or government assisted programs.
When we plan for the future, perhaps the assumption that all of our health care needs will be covered leaves us without truly having a clear understanding of what is required to maintain a healthy lifestyle as we age. As our physical abilities decline our needs increase – we may require various products, tools, and devices to allow us to function to the best of our ability.
As Canadians, we have grown accustomed to having access to doctors, surgeries, hospital stays, diagnostic procedures, and some medications without receiving an invoice. Each province/territory in Canada is regulated differently as to what is covered – regardless of province you do not get “the bill”. A ‘universal’ health care program. Perhaps this has attributed to the misconception that all health care needs are covered.
There are several partially funded programs available to support health care, but you must qualify for those programs. These programs may also require a co-payment, and only offer limited assistance. The biggest challenge is that while a senior may receive limited assistance, this may not meet the full needs of the individual. This still leaves those who do not qualify for a particular program with no assistance.
Do not be surprised when you are informed that there is a cost for services, assistance, devices, medications, transportation, products that you may require as you age, experience catastrophic injury, disability, or illness. We regularly get calls for transportation to medical appointments, and people are surprised that this is not covered, especially when they no longer are able to drive themselves.
We do not know what our individual needs in life will be. Most of us have saved for that “rainy day”, what you spend those funds on will be your choice. Perhaps some of it will be best utilized on having a fee for service company, like Coordinated Senior Services, assist you by providing support for your health care needs.