It’s that time of year where there’s always someone in class or on the bus who is coughing and sneezing. The weather is in flux and the flu is going around.
Getting sick can really put a dent into your finances, not only will you lose days of work, you also have to put up with pain and discomfort. Plus the additional cost of cough syrup, boxes of tissues, lozenges, hot packs, and whatever else you need to nurse yourself back to health.
Thankfully, there are some simple and affordable ways to keep yourself healthy during flu season: wash your hands, get some decent sleep, dress for the weather, and avoid sick people as much as you can. And if you do get sick, then there’s always insurance.
But what is insurance? Essentially it is the transfer of risk from one person or entity to another in exchange for money—a premium. So you pay for it, and the insurance provider will cover some or all of your medical costs for specific health services like dental, chiropractic, and vision. You pay a relatively smaller amount of money up front and the insurance company will cover you when hefty medical bills strike and you weren’t expecting it (which is pretty much always).
If you’re a student then you might be enrolled in the Federation of Students/ Graduate Students Association (FEDS/GSA) Health and Dental Plan right now. In which case you should definitely go online (www.ihaveaplan.ca) or into the Health and Dental Plan office and learn about your coverage.
While you can do your best to stay healthy there are certain things you can’t always help, like needing glasses or physiotherapy for a sports injury. Insurance can be a blessing in those situations. The bills add up and you shouldn’t have to be in a position where you choose between your health and your education. Even if they will only cover a percentage of your bills, it’s more than having to foot the bill all on your own. Take advantage of the coverage while you still have it!
Just as getting sick can cost you a lot, not getting the medical attention you need, when you need it can be even worse. So as much as it sucks to have to spend money on antibiotics or chiropractic care, do what you have to. In terms of investing over the long term, you really only get one body so take care of it. Once again think of the 2025 version of you, or even the 2065 version of you, will they thank you for putting off going to the dentist multiple times? Who knows, maybe they have cute dentures in the future…
If you can’t afford the FEDS/GSA plan, I strongly suggest you take the time to look into other insurance plans. Maybe you’re already covered under your parents’ health plan. Maybe your employer offers coverage. Do the same amount of research you would when choosing a bank. After all, insurance is a financial tool as well.