Insurance, Heart Disease and Women

Did you know that the leading killer of women is not breast cancer? In fact, according to an article in the Toronto Star, heart disease kills more Canadian women every year than all cancers combined. Even more startling is that heart disease will kill women more often than it kills men, because women are less likely to get the right treatment. Reading this got me wondering: do women have the right health insurance? Do we think about other kinds of insurance coverage that make sure our families will be okay if anything happens to us, like life insurance or critical illness insurance? Or do we tend to underinsure ourselves because we don't think we'll fall prey to the "big killers" that are better known to kill men?

As a fellow member of the female gender, I think we definitely underinsure ourselves. Men seem to be aware that a serious critical illness could happen to them. My husband is very concerned about health insurance, has a reasonable amount of life insurance, and has thought seriously about additional coverage in the form of critical illness insurance. I have health insurance, an absolute minimum of life insurance and haven't even thought twice about critical illness protection.

Do a lot of women think like this? Apparently yes. In an article on, a study by the online quote site shows that men get 66% more quotes for critical illness protection than women do.

You might think this occurs because more men are breadwinners. Although that can explain part of the discrepancy, it doesn't explain all of it. Consider this: A majority of families in both Canada and the US are two-income families, and there is a growing population of female-headed homes where the loss of that single income could be devastating. Do these women have all the insurance they need?

The answer is likely no. Women are more likely than men to have lower paid jobs that don't offer health insurance benefits. As lower wage earners, we don't likely have the available cash for expensive critical illness insurance, or more than minimal life insurance.

After considering the fact that my chances of dying of heart disease are bigger than all cancers, and keeping in mind that my dad died with a heart attack and high blood pressure, I'm going to be reviewing my life insurance coverage at least -- even if I don't go for the critical illness insurance. 

I personally think critical illness insurance is a bit of a scam, but I'll save that discussion for another day.

Monique L. Attinger 

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