Health Insurance

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More Canadian Employers Need To Cover Medical Marijuana

Shoppers Drug Mart and Loblaws recently made headlines by announcing they will cover medical cannabis for their employees. But the devil is always in the details. While these two chains should be praised for their progressive steps forward, we also need to ask who this coverage is provided for, how much is being covered, as well as how this fits with the overall long-term strategy to position pharmacies as the front-line dispensers of medical cannabis.
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Why It's Important To Define Critical Illness

Critical illness is a term used to describe a variety of life altering and unexpected health conditions that can severely impact the way you live including working, enjoying time with family, and other activities. This category typically includes heart attack, stroke and cancer, as well as other serious illnesses like Alzheimer's disease. Unfortunately, these are all too common which is why we might want to dedicate more thought to it.
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6 Questions to Ask Before Buying Travel Insurance

I made the huge-ass mistake of packing a valuable item -- Luckily, theft was covered by my travel insurance. Or so I thought. The insurance representative regretfully informed me that although stolen baggage was covered, my claim wasn't eligible. It was a baffling and maddening situation, but one that got me thinking: what other insurance loopholes are lingering out there?
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7 Reasons Why You Should Say No to Mortgage Insurance

Buying a new home can be a daunting experience -- especially if it's your first time. One thing that banks love to do is tie mortgage insurance into your mortgage agreement, right along with a dangerous-looking checkbox you need to fill in if you choose to "recklessly" opt out. Here's why I want you walk into that mortgage broker's office, check that box, sign that line and opt out of it with total confidence.
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Canadians Should Not Shoulder Prescription Drug Costs

Cities have to spend this money, taken from local taxpayers, because Canada's medicare system is the only universal, public health care system among developed countries that does not include universal coverage of prescription drugs. It is not wrong for cities to care for their employees. But leaving these costs to the cities makes about as much sense as requiring every homeowner to maintain the roads and infrastructure surrounding their property. Here's why.
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Why This U.S. Doctor Is Moving to Canada

I had a vision of cultivating a practice where patients felt heard and cared for, and where I could provide full-spectrum family medicine care, including obstetrical care. My practice embraced the principles of patient-centered collaborative care. It employed the latest in 21st-century technology. I loved my work and my patients. But after five years of constant fighting with multiple private insurance companies in order to get paid, I ultimately made the heart-wrenching decision to close my practice down. The emotional stress was too great.
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Why Canadian Hospitals Outperform U.S. Hospitals

The dismal record of for-profit hospitals illustrates the problem with running hospitals as businesses. The for-profits have higher death rates and employ fewer clinical personnel like nurses than their non-profit counterparts. But care at for-profits actually costs more, and they spend much more on the bureaucracy, a reflection of the high cost of implementing shrewd financial strategies. Canadian hospital administrators don't have to play financial games to assure their survival.
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Why Do Canadian Employers Waste $5 billion a Year on Inefficient Drug Coverage?

Employers want their drug plans to be as competitive as those offered by other employers. So what happens when the norm is to cover all new drugs at any cost, even if the drugs do not provide additional therapeutic value? Well, the end result is that everyone buys "generous" plans instead of increasing employee compensation. Everyone we spoke with agrees about the need to educate employees and employers alike. And in fact, everyone agrees (even insurers) that exorbitant drug costs are a big issue for Canadians.
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Canada Needs a National Standard for Drug Coverage, Not a Patchwork System

Better pharmacare for all Canadians will be difficult to achieve without the federal government at the table. The government of Canada could lead on this issue in a way that no single province or territory can do, by supporting the development of a single national list of drugs to be covered for all Canadians and by harnessing the purchasing power of the whole nation to get the best possible bang for our buck.
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Don't Listen to the Fear Mongers. Competition in Health Care Works

Those opposed to market-based health care reform do their best to scare Canadians. Reality, however, is considerably different. International experience suggests that private competition is a fundamental feature of a high-performing, universal access health care system. For evidence, consider the Dutch health care system where private (and even for-profit) insurance companies, private providers, activity-based funding and cost sharing combine to provide more timely access to high (if not higher) quality care than Canada's system for similar cost.
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Canadian Start Up Takes Aim At Medical Debt

If being sick doesn't kill you, the medical bills might. Imagine getting better and being bankrupted for it. Facing the prospect of financially devastating medical bills is a reality many Americans know isn't going away. But a newly announced partnership between B.C. startup FundRazr and leading US provider of healthcare information Healthline.com may just save them from financial ruin.
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We Spend Money, But Health Care Doesn't Get Better

Canada's health expenditures as a share of the economy are, after accounting for our younger population, higher compared to every other developed nation with universal health insurance. Yet Canadians endure some of the longest delays for emergency care, primary care, specialist consultations, and elective surgery in the developed world.
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What My Critics Don't Get About Drug Policy

It is always a pleasure for me to openly discuss and debate issues surrounding drug coverage with experts in the field. In a series of three blogs, an economist from the Montreal Economic Institute, Yanick Labrie, criticizes my work on Canadian pharmaceutical policy. Unfortunately, these criticisms are ill-founded and do not contribute to a better understanding of these issues.
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Canadians Are Paying More to Wait Longer for Newer Drugs

New medicines are a central component of modern medical care. Unfortunately for Canadians, our federal government takes an approach that is slower than others, unnecessarily costly for taxpayers, and is ultimately of questionable benefit to Canadians. Canadian approvals for market access to new drugs take longer than similar approvals in both Europe (under the European Medicines Agency) and the U.S. (under the FDA). Specifically, the median approval time was longer in Canada than in the other jurisdictions in four of the past five years. But would faster approval of new drugs expose us to greater risk? Perhaps.
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You Paid For my Teeth Cleaning, So Thanks

How did you end up paying for my teeth cleaning? My private health insurance plan reimburses me for dentistry and optometry, as well as prescription drugs and other health care services. But health insurance premiums aren't taxed the way the rest of income is. People without private health insurance are disadvantaged the most by the private health insurance subsidy. They have no private health insurance themselves, yet they still end up subsidizing everyone else's coverage.

What Basketball Can Teach Us About Obamacare

Woody Allen once said that basketball transports us to a primitive place for higher learning. The loose arrangement of strangers balling on public pavement illustrates many of the ivory tower's arguments surrounding health insurance. We can try breaking it down like this...