Investing In Your Future: What Happens When Insurance Ends?

Salary may be the biggest factor in where we choose to work, but benefits, such as dental, medical and physiotherapy, also play a role in our job choices. Unfortunately, when a job ends, whether from a layoff, a retirement or maybe you’ve left to start your own business, so too do the benefits. That can leave you paying for all your pharmaceutical and dental needs yourself. So how can you prepare for a life without benefits? We explain.
Move fast: the first step is to be prepared. Typically, you have 30 days to convert your workplace coverage to individual coverage with the existing insurance provider. Miss that window and you’ll lose your opportunity to continue coverage.
If you do let it lapse, you’ll have to re-sign with that provider or find another carrier. If that happens, you may have to take a medical exam, which could lead to higher premiums or exclusions for pre-existing conditions. Or even a total refusal of coverage.
Plan ahead. If you’re retiring, quitting a job or suspect there will be imminent layoffs, find out how long your employee benefits will last after you leave, how long you have to convert your plan, and what other coverage plans your insurer offers. People are often amazed at how much more an individual plan costs. Their group plan was partially or wholly paid for by their employer and suddenly, they must bear the total cost of their individual plan.

Determine what you need. Get quotes, compare rates and know what you really need. It could be cheaper to switch plans if you have no pre-existing conditions. You might also find another provider has better offerings. Some professional organizations also provide access to less expensive insurance.
You can save money by going with less coverage for dental or not using perks like massage therapy. But keep in mind, this is insurance: it’s not just for covering your health needs now, but protecting you for what might happen in the future.
Consider also the complexities of health coverage in retirement. Most provinces cover drugs for people over 65 — and you may feel that’s enough. Many insurers offer extended health coverage targeted at seniors to deal with dental, hospital rooms and even travel. Look for the best replacement options and earmark enough money to pay for your coverage.
Above all, seek the advice of your professional advisor when you leave a job and its insurance perks behind.

 Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.