Health Insurance is a worthwhile investment, yet most people may miss several hidden benefits of health insurance.
We’ve talked about premium, deductibles, out-of-pocket maximum, etc., in this article about the fees that you need to pay for health insurance. After investing a fortune in the policy, policyholders are entitled to receive the utmost benefits from it. In this article, we’ll walk you through the hidden benefits of health insurance so that you can make the most of your money.
1. Free preventive care
Most people don’t know that all health insurance must cover the entire cost of preventive care services. It means that the fee is included in your premium, and you don’t have to pay for any coinsurance or copay. These services include:
- Screenings for blood pressure, cancer, cholesterol, depression, Type 2 diabetes
- Pediatric screenings for autism, disorder development, depression
- Routine tests and a standard immunization
It’s worth asking your doctor about the covered services that they are providing. If these services are included in your plan, you will not have to pay any charge. However, differentiate between prevention and cure. If a preventive screening identifies any health issues that must be treated, the service will turn from preventive care to treatment.
Also, there may be a limit to which you can use these services for free. For example, your plan says that you can have a free cancer screening once every year. On the second screening, you may have to share part of the fee through copayment or coinsurance. Thus, remember to ask your insurer and doctors carefully to understand your covered benefits.
2. Out-of-network medical expenses
Of course, your health insurance plan will typically not include out-of-network healthcare expenses. However, some insurance companies do pay partially for several out-of-network services. Some even set a limit on your out-of-network expenses per year, which is, of course, higher than your in-network expenses.
3. Tax deduction
It is always essential to keep track of your receipts and check your out-of-pocket medical fees. In some cases, if the money that you have paid out-of-pocket exceeds 10% of your annual gross income, you can file a medical deduction on your taxes. Although it doesn’t mean that all the fees are tax-deducted, even part of them is also worth it.
Thanks to the popularity of the Internet, everything can be digitized. Many medical institutes nowadays allow you to be in the comfort of your home and talk to doctors. The doctors will help you diagnose, evaluate, and prescript your conditions remotely. The services included are flu and colds, rashes, insect bites, etc.
Telehealth is a progress in today’s healthcare treatment. It is handy for those with limited mobility or who are unable to find a nearby doctor. Knowing this, among other hidden benefits of health insurance, will help you ease your worries.
5. Weight loss assistance
Truth is spoken, obesity is a common disease in this era. Statistics show that 1 in 4 Canadian adults is overweight. This is alarming since the disease can result in many other serious diseases such as heart diseases or diabetes. Insurance companies know this and offer free or discounted services to help you lose weight.
The insurer will cover your obesity screening cost. In some cases, you can register for free or discounted gym membership from fitness centers that partner up with your insurer. Some insurance companies may even work with food brands to subsidize healthy food and groceries. You may also receive coupons, recipes, or health tips that help you get lean.
6. 24/7 nurse helpline
There are helplines provided by your insurers that allow you to talk to a nurse 24/7. If you have any health problems and need to consult with a medical professional, you can contact the nurse. This person will listen to your problem and provide you with further advice. The service is entirely free since your insurers or their partner sponsors it.
7. House calls
Some carriers will offer house call services. It means that instead of going to the doctor, you can make an appointment and ask the doctor to come to your home. House calls are convenient but expensive. Thus, having the insurers shoulder, the cost can make house calls more affordable to you and your family.
8. Nationwide coverage
There are times when you are away from your home and suddenly get sick. In this case, you can contact your insurance company to see if any doctor nearby works for them. Many companies have nationwide branches and collaborate with doctors around the country. If you’re lucky, you may find one and benefit from covered expenses.
9. Coverage for smoking cessation treatment
Data shows that smoking kills around 8 million people every year. As “prevention is better than cure,” the cost of prevention is much less than that of treatment. The good news is many insurers provide coverage plans for smoking cessation treatment. A recent report finds that insurance coverage for smoking cessation contributes significantly to successful quitting.
The two most cost-effective ways of treatments so far are counseling and medications. According to the CDC, an ideal coverage plan will pay for:
- Individual, group, and telephone counseling, with four counseling sessions of at least 10 minutes each per quit attempt
- Medications approved by the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
Some plans may even help you reduce specific deductibles, copayments, or coinsurance relating to your cessation treatment. Since this depends on your policy type, you’d better consult with insurers to figure out covered services for your cessation treatment plan.
10. Coverage for medical equipment
This is one of the hidden benefits of health insurance that many may miss. Some people need the help of special medical equipment such as CPAP machines, which can be excessive to bear on your own. Some insurers do include this equipment and will help you ease the cost. As you’ve met your deductible and see that your equipment needs updates or replacement, you can consider a new one.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who can buy private health insurance in Canada?
Canadian citizens and permanent residents are eligible to buy private health insurance.
Why should I buy private health insurance if I already have public health insurance?
For Canadian citizens and permanent residents, public health care insurance is available through a health care system called Canadian Medicare in Canada. This is a decentralized health care system that is administered by 13 provinces and territories. Each has its insurance plan, and thus, the benefits will vary accordingly. It means that a health insurance plan in your province may not cater to your needs, and you may want to purchase additional insurance to protect yourself.
In Canada, about two-thirds of people purchase private health insurance.
Where can I purchase private health insurance in Canada?
Health insurance is a ubiquitous product in Canada. You can easily buy a plan from insurance companies, licensed insurance agents, or registered brokers.
How much does private health insurance cost in Canada?
The average cost for males is around 47 CAD per person and for females is 80 CAD per person. For a family, the cost can be up to 150 CAD per household.