5 healthcare-related costs to consider

Canada may have one of the most comprehensive universal healthcare programs in the world, but that doesn’t mean all of your medical expenses are free.

An important but often overlooked element of retirement planning is the inclusion of all those healthcare costs not covered by government programs in the country. These “extras” can add up quickly, particularly as you grow older. A recent poll by one of the country’s biggest banks said Canadians expect on average to spend more than $5,000 a year on out-of-pocket medical costs after age 65.1

Supplementary health insurance plans may be a way to gain coverage for services such as prescription drugs or dental care that are not provided – either in part or in full – by government plans. These plans are provided by private insurance companies that sell policies to individuals and to employers, unions and associations that act as group insurance sponsors.

Group plans may be less expensive for participants than individual plans. Some employers who offer group plans to their employees may extend health benefits to retirees – sometimes at no cost. Likewise, a university affiliation, union, or professional association may entitle you to continue participation in a group plan once retired.

Ultimately, it’s up to you to assess your on-going healthcare needs and include any potential expenses in your retirement budget. That may mean sacrificing somewhere else, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Five healthcare-related costs to consider for your retirement budget:

Dental care. Basic private insurance plans don’t always cover major dental costs including crowns, bridges, and implants.

Hearing aids. Hearing loss is the third most prevalent chronic condition in older adults and the most widespread disability.2

Eye glasses. The prevalence of vision loss in Canada is expected to increase nearly 30 per cent in the next decade as the number of Canadians 65 years and older continues to grow.3

Prescription drugs. Some provinces subsidize the expense for those over 65, however not all drugs are covered.

Mobility devices. Governments may provide some financial help to purchase wheelchairs, scooters, stair lifts and other device to improve mobility but most of the cost is your responsibility.