What happens to my health benefits when I retire?
Understanding the health care system
The provincial health care system provides access to primary care services, but does not cover 100% of your medical needs.
During your working years, your employer likely provided an extended benefits package that covered all or a portion of your out-of-pocket expenses for health and dental. Your benefits may have included coverage for your Medical Services Plan (MSP) premiums, extended health care, prescription drugs, dental, vision and possibly even disability and life insurance.
Once you retire, all of the costs that were previously covered by your employer will be transferred to you. This will include MSP premiums and all out-of-pocket expenses for prescription drugs and dental services. Many retirees have no pension benefit coverage or only receive partial coverage, so it is important to understand what is available to you.
What is covered by the government?
MSP only covers core health care services including medical care from a physician or specialist, diagnostic services and basic hospital accommodation. Additional health care expenses like prescription drugs, registered therapists and vision care are your responsibility. MSP premiums vary according to family size and household income. Similarly, many employers cover these premiums while you are employed, so make sure to consider what your costs will be to cover your MSP premiums.
Taking care of your oral health plays an important role in your overall health. Regular dental exams and cleanings are crucial to maintain oral health and detect oral diseases before they advance. Oral health can lead to tooth decay and gum disease, and is even linked to other health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.
To manage expenses, many retirees opt-out of dental insurance, choosing to forego necessary dental procedures. With the cost of dental care increasing by more than 6% each year, just one major dental procedure could affect your financial situation.