Right Choice Insurance launches online critical illness solution

TORONTO, March 4 2009 – 61 per cent of Canadians admit they have no plan ready in the event they are diagnosed with a critical illness, reveals a recent survey of more than 1,600 Canadians by Ottawa-based polling firm Redfern Research. Many are concerned about the time it takes to see a specialist, and then get the necessary tests done. And a growing number see the need for critical illness insurance to cover costs the healthcare system doesn’t cover. Bottom line, Canadians believe their healthcare system will be there for them if they do become critically ill – but many feel under protected.

Today, Right Choice Insurance Inc. (www.rightchoiceinsurance.ca) launched a comprehensive critical illness solution, Right Choice Critical Illness Insurance. Purchased exclusively online, it is designed to help alleviate the financial and emotional impact of a critical illness. By answering five questions, and with the click of a mouse, a quote can easily be obtained in less than 30 seconds.

Right Choice pays a lump sum of $50,000 cash upon a confirmed diagnosis of one of 16 covered critical illnesses, provided that the insured survives for a period of thirty days. But unlike other plans, our patient advocacy service starts at the first sign of a critical illness.

Right Choice Critical Illness Insurance complements our health care system providing:

  • Help to speed up tests and shorten wait times, thereby getting a policyholder diagnosed and into treatment faster;
  • Telephone support to answer a policyholder’s health-related questions for the duration of his or her illness;
  • Access to a second opinion & treatment alternatives;
  • Access to world-class medical facilities, such as U.S. based Mayo Clinic, Massachusetts General and Brigham and Women’s Hospital; and
  • The ability to make a second claim if the insured is diagnosed with a heart attack, stroke or coronary artery bypass more than 365 days after the payment of the cancer benefit.

Since its introduction in Canada in 1994, critical illness insurance has increased in popularity. However, just over two per cent of the population have some type of critical illness insurance coverage through a group plan or their own private plan, according to the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association. This leaves the majority of Canadians without any type of critical illness protection.

“As Canadians, we’ve always thought we were covered financially if we became critically ill with cancer, a heart attack or a stroke. But financial planners suggest we may need more resources than our system provides,” says Right Choice president Ted Warburton. “In the past few years we’ve noticed that a growing number are concerned about the financial or emotional impact of a critical illness. If the primary income earner were unable to work, one-half of Canadian households would be forced to make major changes to their lifestyle within four months. Fully 20 per cent would be affected within a month.”

Some cancer patients have to pay $2,000 a month or more for drugs, travel to testing and treatment centres, accommodation near out-of-town hospitals and child care.(1) According to Right Choice Vice President Doug Burton “A lot of people are being blindsided by costs that are not covered by the healthcare system or their private plan.”

Warburton agrees. “I met a fellow who was recovering from paralysis. He had been off work for six months. It was completely unexpected, and a harsh reminder that things happen, but not always what we want or expect. Unless you’ve made some preparations and built in some protection for you and your family, nasty surprises like this can devastate lives. And not just the life of one person but entire families.”

Navigating the healthcare system and seeking the latest and fastest treatment available is also a prime concern for Canadians.

“Each Right Choice Critical Illness Insurance policy comes with our advocacy service. We call it Right Choice Easy Assist,” says Warburton. Offered in partnership with Montreal-based MedExtra Inc., Right Choice Easy Assist coordinates initial tests, helping to reduce unnecessary delays, so a specialist could have the results when a policyholder arrives for his or her first appointment. Patients can avoid weeks of waiting in fear for tests and more appointments. “We advocate for our policyholders, and we save them precious time when a disease could otherwise progress untreated.”

Right Choice Easy Assist also:

  • Reviews the patient’s file with an in-network doctor or medical professional
  • Helps access facilities that will perform tests faster, or use more technically advanced diagnostics that could lead to less invasive treatment.
  • Arranges for the Second Opinion Team to consult on a diagnosis and treatment alternatives-and report back within days.
  • Advises on treatment alternatives and facilitates access to the best treatment technologies available anywhere in North America.
  • Helps to obtain preferred pricing for procedures out-of-system.
  • Helps to reduce unnecessary delays throughout the process, saving precious time.

The Right Choice Critical Illness Insurance plan provides coverage for cancer, heart attack, stroke, coronary artery bypass surgery, aorta surgery, major organ failure, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), benign brain tumour, blindness, coma, deafness, paralysis, Parkinson’s disease and severe burns. Premiums depend on age, gender and smoking status.

The Right Choice Critical Illness Insurance cash benefit of $50,000 is underwritten by ACE Life, an operating division of the ACE Group of Companies.

1. Source: Patient Burden in Cancer, Christopher J. Longo, PhD, DeGroote School of Business. McMaster University.

About Right Choice Insurance

Right Choice Insurance Inc. is an all-Canadian company. Its owners, led by industry veteran Ted Warburton, collectively have more than 50 years experience in providing insurance coverage to Canadians. Right Choice products are designed for Canadians and complement the Canadian health care system. Right Choice manages the big issues of care and provides funds, to let clients and their families focus on getting well when diagnosed with a critical illness. Its critical illness policies are affordable and can be purchased exclusively online at www.rightchoiceinsurance.ca. Coverage is subject to certain exclusions and limitations. (www.rightchoiceinsurance.ca).