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Canadians with health issues face difficulty finding affordable life insurance – Ashcroft Cache Creek Journal

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Like millions of Canadians, Tim Potter is living with a serious medical condition that has made it difficult, if not impossible, to secure meaningful life insurance.

The Halifax father of seven was diagnosed 26 years ago with Type 1 diabetes.

While his wife quickly obtained insurance coverage a decade ago, the stay-at-home dad was denied coverage. It has left him worried about his wife and young family’s welfare when he’s no longer around.

“I feel like I would be leaving her and the kids quite empty-handed if anything were to happen to me,” he said.

Potter feels stressed because all he’s been able to secure is a couple of policies that will pay just enough to cover his funeral expenses.

Securing affordable life insurance is a growing problem as more Canadians are diagnosed with serious ailments.

Half of Canadians will develop cancer at some point in their lives, the Canadian Cancer Society says. The Heart and Stroke foundation points to an increase in the number of people with heart conditions and strokes. And about eight per cent of Canadians have been diagnosed with diabetes, a condition that’s growing in frequency amid an aging population.

“It’s an epidemic,” said Joan King, director of government relations for Diabetes Canada. The number of Canadians with diabetes has doubled since 2000, she noted.

As well as diabetes, people with severe mental illness, HIV, heart conditions and other serious ailments can be left in the lurch. Other red flags for insurers can include travel to certain parts of the world or risky recreational activities.

There’s also a trend of people needing insurance for a longer period because they have families later in life or haven’t paid off their mortgage yet.

“The issue of pre-existing conditions is a bit of a growing issue because people are needing term insurance longer in their life because of the financial pressures today,” said Kevan Penonzek, manager of Insurance Direct Canada in Vancouver.

“They’re working later, they’re carrying debt longer, mortgage longer so they feel like they need term insurance to cover off that risk. And so it becomes harder when you’re 60 to 70, because people then have health issues.”

It’s a definite problem, says Michael Aziz, co-president of Canada Protection Plan, which seeks to fill the void left by traditional insurers by offering coverage that doesn’t require a medical examination.

Aziz said more carriers are adopting its simplified approach that offers certain coverage within days of answering a detailed questionnaire.

“We’ve seen our premium numbers or policies grow by 40 to 50 per cent for the last five years so that’s a good sign and we’ve seen other carriers starting to look at the non-medical space as well,” he said.

But the simplified coverage comes at a price. Premiums can be 50 to 300 per cent higher than traditional term policies and coverage limits are lower.

Insurance companies have become much more liberal about covering people with health issues, said Lorne Marr, director of new business for LSM Insurance, which owns No Medical Exam Life Insurance.

“Years ago if you had diabetes … you were declined for insurance, but now most, almost all, diabetics can get some form of life insurance,” he said.

Marr said the situation changed because insurance companies have more data to evaluate life expectancy while medications and treatments have also improved.

“There used to be only one or two companies offering these type of policies, now there’s probably 10 different companies.”

ALSO READ: 10 ex-NFL players charged with defrauding healthcare program

No Medical Exam Life Insurance offers two forms of term insurance — Guaranteed Issue for people facing, for example, a serious cancer diagnosis; and Simplified Issue, a less expensive policy used for people with more manageable and less severe conditions.

With new and better treatments come changes from insurers. Canada Protection Plan has followed Manulife and Sun Life, which in 2016 began to offer insurance to some HIV-positive clients.

Traditional carriers require these patients have five years of stability on anti-retroviral therapy, an undetectable viral load and receive treatment by an HIV expert. Manulife precludes those with hepatitis, a history of intravenous drug use or other substance abuse, history of coronary artery disease, diabetes, cancer and AIDS-defining illness.

Canada Protection Plan doesn’t have these restrictions and offers $50,000 of coverage. That’s much less than the million-dollar limit by Sun Life and up to $2 million for Manulife applicants aged 30 to 65.

Still, not everyone benefits from the insurers’ more open approach. Intravenous drug users, for example are denied coverage, which can be a problem for some people living with HIV, said Tammy Yates, executive director of community advocacy group Realize.

She argues that insurance companies should shorten the five-year treatment requirement to two years since medical advancements have improved life expectancy.

The history of the illness and the public stigma towards those living with HIV has ensured that very few people even contemplate seeking insurance coverage, said Shaun Proulx, a Realize board member.

In the early days of the illness, there was no chance of even considering insurance, he said.

“But there was a frustrating period after that when people were living longer and having healthier lives and were still being denied insurance as well and it made no sense.”

Proulx says the insurance companies aren’t doing enough to educate those living with HIV about availability.

“That’s an enormous amount of business that they’re leaving behind on the table.”

Ross Marowits, The Canadian Press


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News Releases | COVID-19 Bulletin #230 – news.gov.mb.ca

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Need More Info?

Public information, contact Manitoba Government Inquiry: 1-866-626-4862 or 204-945-3744.

Media requests for general information, contact Communications Services Manitoba: 204-945-3765.

Media requests for ministerial comment, contact Communications and Stakeholder Relations: 204-794-0732.

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Sunnybrook Hospital in Torontno declares outbreak of novel coronavirus in surgical unit – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

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Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre has declared an outbreak of COVID-19 in one of its surgical units today after five cases of the virus were identified.

In a statement released Friday morning, the hospital, which is located near Bayview and Lawrence avenues, said an initial three cases that were linked to each other were discovered though “regular surveillance.”

The cases, the hospital said, triggered “initial control measures and broader testing” in the unit and two additional cases were subsequently identified.

All of the patients are asymptomatic, according to the hospital, and one has been discharged.

“All outbreak control measures are in place and there has been no transmission to other patient care areas of the hospital,” the statement read.

“Sunnybrook remains open for all scheduled clinics and procedures and emergency visits.”

Six other Toronto hospitals have declared COVID-19 outbreaks.

The Scarborough Health Network said Thursday that six patients in a unit at its general hospital are infected with the virus, and the University Health Network also confirmed that it is responding to an outbreak involving four patients at the musculoskeletal, multisystem and geriatric rehab in-patient unit at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute.

An outbreak is defined as two COVID-19 cases within a 14-day period, where both cases could reasonably have been acquired in hospital.

Outbreaks have also been confirmed at St. Michael’s Hospital, St. Joseph’s Health Centre, Toronto Western Hospital, and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.

Speaking to CP24 on Friday morning, Mayor John Tory said the outbreaks illustrate a need for the city to continue to strictly follow public health measures.

“It is why we can’t let off our discipline with respect to all of this,” he said.

“An outbreak is defined as two cases or more, so we are not talking here about hundreds of cases, but we are talking about something that is serious because of where it is and we are talking about a virus that is still very much present in our city.”

Infectious diseases specialist Dr. Isaac Bogoch said while it is “unfortunate” that hospitals are seeing outbreaks, it should not deter people from going to the hospital if they are in need of care.

“Sometimes people hear about this on the news and they get a bit nervous. They say, ‘Well you know what, there is an outbreak at a hospital. I shouldn’t go in.’ And the answer couldn’t be farther from the truth,” Bogoch said.

“There are certain protocols in place to keep patients safe so this should not push anyone away from coming to hospital if they need to be here. There were outbreaks with the first wave. We are seeing a few outbreaks with the second wave. They get under control pretty quickly.”

-With files from The Canadian Press

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Toronto's Sunnybrook Hospital declares COVID-19 outbreak in surgical unit – Newstalk 1010 (iHeartRadio)

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Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre has declared an outbreak of COVID-19 in one of its surgical units today after five cases of the virus were identified.

In a statement released Friday morning, the hospital, which is located near Bayview and Lawrence avenues, said an initial three cases that were linked to each other were discovered though “regular surveillance.”

The cases, the hospital said, triggered “initial control measures and broader testing” in the unit and two additional cases were subsequently identified.

All of the patients are asymptomatic, according to the hospital, and one has been discharged.

“All outbreak control measures are in place and there has been no transmission to other patient care areas of the hospital,” the statement read.

“Sunnybrook remains open for all scheduled clinics and procedures and emergency visits.”

Six other Toronto hospitals have declared COVID-19 outbreaks.

The Scarborough Health Network said Thursday that six patients in a unit at its general hospital are infected with the virus, and the University Health Network also confirmed that it is responding to an outbreak involving four patients at the musculoskeletal, multisystem and geriatric rehab in-patient unit at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute.

An outbreak is defined as two COVID-19 cases within a 14-day period, where both cases could reasonably have been acquired in hospital.

Outbreaks have also been confirmed at St. Michael’s Hospital, St. Joseph’s Health Centre, Toronto Western Hospital, and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.

Speaking to CP24 on Friday morning, Mayor John Tory said the outbreaks illustrate a need for the city to continue to strictly follow public health measures.

“It is why we can’t let off our discipline with respect to all of this,” he said.

“An outbreak is defined as two cases or more, so we are not talking here about hundreds of cases, but we are talking about something that is serious because of where it is and we are talking about a virus that is still very much present in our city.”

Infectious diseases specialist Dr. Isaac Bogoch said while it is “unfortunate” that hospitals are seeing outbreaks, it should not deter people from going to the hospital if they are in need of care.

“Sometimes people hear about this on the news and they get a bit nervous. They say, ‘Well you know what, there is an outbreak at a hospital. I shouldn’t go in.’ And the answer couldn’t be farther from the truth,” Bogoch said.

“There are certain protocols in place to keep patients safe so this should not push anyone away from coming to hospital if they need to be here. There were outbreaks with the first wave. We are seeing a few outbreaks with the second wave. They get under control pretty quickly.”

-With files from The Canadian Press

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