Critical illness for spouses

Issue: BCMJ, Vol. 60, No. 1, January, February 2018, page(s) 56-57 Pulsimeter
Channelle Sawyer

Do you ever wonder what you would do if your spouse was diagnosed with cancer? Who would look after the kids? If you took time off to be with your spouse, could you manage with a lower income? How would your retirement plan hold up if you had to unexpectedly spend $200 000 to cover the costs of treatments, medications, travel, and home modifications?

Critical illness insurance is a unique product that pays a lump sum if the insured is diagnosed with one of the covered illnesses. There are often 24 or 25 conditions covered in a critical illness policy. These conditions can include cancer, heart attack, stroke, multiple sclerosis, and benign brain tumors to name a few. Unlike disability insurance, you may apply for critical illness insurance whether or not you are actively working. For this reason, these policies can be a fantastic way to protect against the risk of a critical illness diagnosis for a spouse who is not actively working outside the home. It is advisable to apply for these policies as early as possible since they can be difficult to qualify for, especially as people age.

By insuring your spouse, you could answer some of the questions raised above—you could hire a caregiver for your children, and afford to take time out of your practice to care for your spouse and take him or her to important appointments. And you would have these funds to rely on so you wouldn’t need to take on debt or rely on your retirement savings to cover costs. If you do not already have critical illness insurance for your spouse, consider it.
—Channelle Sawyer
Insurance Advisor, Doctors of BC