Hindsight is 20/20 – What Would You Do?

The many perks of BC Alliance membership include access to our Group Extended Health Benefits. Below, our insurance advisor, Saskia Vermeulen of Southlands Financial, presents a case study illustrating how the BC Alliance’s Group Extended Health Benefits can help you, your organization, and the employees you care about.


Denise has worked at a small arts company for 11 years. She makes $42,000 a year and lives in Vancouver. With the high cost of living, she has not been able to save much but has managed to put aside a little money for retirement over the years. She loves her work though and has been getting by okay. She is 40 now and was planning to work until she was 65 or later if needed. Denise is divorced and does not have any children. She lives with her cat Marvin who shares her love of charcuterie boards and old movies.

Last year, Denise was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS). She has begun to lose motor functioning and will have to stop work by the end of this year.

Myra is the executive director at the company where Denise works. She began working there five years ago. Denise welcomed her into the group and helped show her the ropes. They have become friends outside of work as well and often go to plays together. Although Myra is Denise’s boss, she considers her a good friend.

When Myra found out about Denise’s diagnosis, she tried to figure out how she could help. Unfortunately, there is no room in the budget to pay Denise’s replacement as well as Denise. Myra has tried to help Denise work for as long as possible by giving her tasks that she can still do, but both women know that the MS will make it impossible to work in the new year.

Denise will have help from the government with some of her medical expenses, but she does not know how she will pay for her living expenses. Her one-bedroom apartment is in a three-storey walk-up so she will need to move soon. A comparable apartment with a new lease will be $1,600. She will qualify for the government CPP Disability benefit of $971.23/month*. Her rent is $1,200/month currently and groceries, phone, internet, etc., will put her in debt very quickly. She will have to deplete her retirement savings rapidly to supplement her benefit.

If Myra had brought the company onto the BC Alliance for Arts + Culture’s extended health benefit plan, the long-term disability benefit would have paid Denise $2,100/month until age 65.** With this, she would have been able to pay for her living expenses. Denise would have also had access to an optional critical illness benefit ($10,000 - $150,000) which would have paid her a one-time tax-free lump sum which she could have used however she needed.

With the unpredictable nature of health, it is important to make sure yourself and your employees are taken care of. The BC Alliance offers many resources to help provide options for its members. For more information on the BC Alliance for Arts + Culture extended health plan, click here, or contact representative Saskia Vermeulen at 604-862-7891 or saskia@southlandsfinancial.com.


*The amount you receive for CPP Disability will depend on your CPP contributions over the years. $971.23 is the national average for 2018. The maximum benefit in 2018 is $1335.83.

** Long-term disability benefits are calculated based on earnings. Southlands Financial Services E&O/E 2018

*** This article was written by Saskia Vermeulen, Southlands Financial. The information in this article is presented for general knowledge and the content should not be relied upon as containing specific financial, insurance, tax or legal advice. Names/details were changed to protect the identity of persons mentioned.

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