Your Health Benefits = Quality of Life

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As Canadians, we have had massive changes in our working lives – and our health benefits. With so many self-employed and contract workers, fewer Canadians have a benefits package.

A Heath Plan is part of a Financial Plan

I am constantly meeting with Canadians who have had a financial plan done for them and their health benefits have been ignored. Good health is needed to be successful in our personal and business life. Plans are available to individuals, employers and associations. Don’t do without.

In my mind proper financial planning must have a focus on your quality of life. Your health is all important to your quality of life.  Taking care of yourself now will enable you to be able meet to your future head on in good health. Give yourself your best healthy alternatives now for your future.

Employer’s Health Plan

If you are an employer, statistics show that your business will do better if you offer a benefits package. I have personally seen this as a boss and employer.  

86% of employers that have a health plan agree that having a health plan is as much for their own benefit as it is for their employees. From the Manulife small business survey 2012.

Let’s focus on the health of your eyes

Too many see the vision part of their health plan as just having some coverage for glasses. What they are missing is that with regular visits to your Optometrist, this professional will check the health of your eyes. Too many Canadians are unaware of eye problems they already have.

The following is from the CNIB:

5.5 million Canadians have a major eye disease that could cause vision loss

75% of vision loss can be treated or prevented

1/3 of Canadians with Vision Loss are employed – half making $20,000 or less.

I have had associates who have had decreased productivity, non-stop head aches and constantly feeling worn down for lack of proper eye health. This carried on to their personal life. For some reason they were not willing to do something about it.

I used to call it computer headaches. I saw many of the headaches being caused by being hunched over a keyboard (as a result of their eyesight) and still not seeing their computer screen correctly. Too many did nothing to fix this. Of course, those who know me know I could not sit quietly and let this happen. I have seen positive results in every rectified situation.

Over the years I have, at times, felt like a one-man crusade driving family and co-workers to take care of their health and have a better quality of life.

It’s in all of our families

My first revelation of the wealth of eye health was how cataracts affected my grandmother’s life. She used to love to tat under a 60-watt light bulb in front of the television, except when her Maple Leafs were playing. (I’ll not do the obvious Maple Leaf joke(s)).

My grandmother needed surgery and wouldn’t do anything about it. We found that she was sitting doing nothing in a totally quiet apartment when family was not around. While we did visit regularly, she was becoming more isolated. With family input, her minister was the one who finally convinced her to get the surgery.

Successful Surgery - Bad TV

After her surgery I stopped by with my father and she was sitting in her chair tatting. I made a big to-do about her being able to tat again. She informed me that the operation was a complete failure as she likes to tat with the TV on. She said her eyesight was so bad she could not watch TV.

My father turned on the TV and the picture was so degraded that we couldn’t make out a thing. We replaced her television and suddenly her operation was a success.

She started sitting outside with friends in the summer and visiting their apartments again. I think that as her cataracts slowly got worse, she did not realize she was isolating herself more as time went on.

Cheaping-Out

The next thing that I have observed is “cheaping-out” by accepting an inferior fix because of cost. Millions of people are willing to spend big money on laser surgery because they don’t want to wear glasses, yet too many Canadians don’t follow-up on any eye health issues.

There also seems to be a thought process to stop seeing your optometrist and just buy some cheap eyewear at the drug store. By doing this you are not having a professional look at the health of your eyes as well as putting more stress on them with the wrong prescription.

There have been advances and new procedures that will help a person incredibly for just a few more dollars. I am constantly amazed when I meet people who will not spend the extra – especially when they can easily afford it. This short-sighted (pun intended) thought process will cost them their quality of life in the long term.

Your Independence Matters

Terry McIntyre is an independent investment advisor with Manulife Securities and can be reached at: 905-846-9060, ext.3838, email: Terry.McIntyre@manulifesecurities.ca or website: www.terrymcintyre.ca