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The Voice of People With Breast Cancer

your path to accessing financial resources


Health Insurance and Benefits

Insurance is a form of protection against loss, illness or injury. It is essentially a contract where an insurer agrees to a set of terms for “coverage” in exchange for annual or monthly payments, called “premiums.” When coverage for a loss or injury is requested, it takes the form of a “claim”. It is then up to the insurer to decide if the claim meets the terms of the contract and coverage is appropriate.  Insurance is not available to everyone and is not mandatory in Canada. A person might initiate an insurance contract or “policy” on their own or receive one as part of an incentive package through their employer. 

Types of Insurance and Benefits

There are many types of health-related insurance and benefit plans. The following are the most common types that arise during an experience with cancer. Whether you have access to any of the following plans depends on your job/union, your resources, and your personal situation



Life Insurance

An insurance benefit that pays out a set amount when the person dies. 

Short-term Illness (Sick Leave)

An income-replacement insurance that pays out for a short, specific period while the person is unwell and unable to work.

Long-term Disability (LTD)

An insurance that replaces part of your income (usually 50-67% of income) once it is determined you are unable to work at your job for a period that extends beyond short term sick leave.  It is paid out for the first two years based on your inability to perform your specific job.  After two years, it is paid out based on your inability to perform any job (i.e. ongoing disability). 

Critical Illness

A type of insurance policy that pays a one-time lump-sum payment to the claimant when it is confirmed the claimant has been diagnosed with a specific life-threatening illness such as cancer, heart attack, stroke, etc.  The types of illnesses that are eligible depend on the policy.

Hospital Cash

A type of insurance that pays a small flat amount per day for every day the person is in hospital.  Some plans also pay a different lesser rate for each day the person is receiving outpatient treatment.  The intent is to use the benefit for out of pocket expenses like travel, parking, food, supplies, etc.

Credit and Mortgage Payment Insurance

An individual insurance policy offered by lenders (banks, finance companies, credit card companies) as protection in the event of job loss or illness.  The purpose of these policies is to assume payments for you (or in the case of credit cards, pay off a balance) in the event of a sudden illness.

Travel Insurance

Insurance designed to cover unexpected medical expenses that might arise during travel outside of a person’s home province or outside of Canada.

Health Benefits


Supplementary Health

A package of benefits that cover a range of hospital and medical expenses not covered by universal medicare.


A type of benefit that covers all or part of the cost of prescription drugs.

Health Spending Account

An arrangement in a group plan where a member can receive or accumulate credits that can be used toward health and dental benefits not covered in the supplementary health benefits plan.



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