People are often not aware of what benefits are covered under the term “Dread Disease” or “Critical Illness” provided by Life Assurance companies.
The most common ones are: Cancer, Cardio and Cardio vascular, Stroke, Paralysis and Blindness. There are additional categories that fall under this with some assurors listing 31 categories in total.
We constantly find that clients do not seem to think that this is important as “it will not happen to me, I am very healthy”. However, the truth is that it can happen to anyone at any time so it is better to be prepared than sorry.
People also say “but I have medical aid why do I need additional cover?”
Medical aid schemes provide decent cover while you are in hospital. The problem starts with your out-of-hospital expenses and chronic medication and it typically doesn’t cover cutting edge experimental treatments. Heart diseases, stroke and cancer may leave you with a huge financial burden even if you are on the best medical aid. You will need money in order to provide for you and your dependents during your recovery period and you may also need money to adapt your home or car. Medical aids do not provide this benefit.
How much cover should you have?
The financial impact of a dread disease will vary from person to person, there is no scientific way to determine the benefit amount of a dread disease benefit. Generally, you should get the most cover you can afford.
Here are some average costs:
- One specific treatment for rheumatoid arthritis (not covered by most medical aids) results in a bill of more than R100 000 per year.
- On average, a stroke would cost between R500 000 and R1 million over the lifetime of the patient.
- The lifetime cost of Alzheimer’s disease is more than R1 million.
- Experimental cancer treatment could cost in excess of R1 million
- A Heart Attack could rack up over R1 million in l costs.
Do you have this amount available to cover expenses?
Here are some statistics:
- Globally 17 million people experience a stroke each year and it is the leading cause of disability worldwide. Roughly 1 in 4 people will die, but many will be left with long-term disability. In South Africa 70 people die from a stroke every day and someone suffers a stroke every 6 minutes.
- Strokes can strike at any age no matter what your gender or ethnicity, but still we see more women being affected. Why is this?
- Traditional risk factors for strokes include age, smoking, high blood pressure, being overweight and high cholesterol levels. 1 in 3 women in South Africa have high blood pressure and 1 in 2 are overweight, which partly explains why women suffer more strokes. But women are also more likely to have other risk factors for a stroke including arterial fibrillation, diabetes, migraines with visual aura, and depression. Smoking is more dangerous in women than in men.
- To top it off there are several risk factors specific to women only that raise the risk further. These include high blood pressure during pregnancy, contraceptives, hormone replacement therapy and gestational diabetes.
Cardiovascular disease is a non-communicable disease and the World Health Organization estimates the burden in South Africa to be 2 to 3 times higher than in developed countries.
- South Africa has one of the highest rates of high blood pressure worldwide:1 in 3 adults
- High blood pressure is a silent killer – 75% of people with high blood pressure don’t even know they have it.
- 440 people have a stroke every day in South Africa
- 1 in 2 adults and a quarter of children in South Africa are overweight adding to the burden
- 210 people die from heart disease every day in South Africa
- 80% of these premature deaths can be prevented by eating better, moving more, and avoiding smoking.
Cancer is another frightening dread disease:
- 14 Million people in the world contract cancer every year.
- 100 000 people in South Africa contract cancer every year. South Africa is ranked number 50 on the World Cancer Research Fund’s list of countries with the highest cancer prevalence rates.
South African statistics:
- Women mostly contract the following cancers, Breast Cancer, Cervical Cancer, Oesophageal Cancer, Colorectal Cancer. The lifetime risk for women is 1 in 9.
- Men mostly contract the following cancers, Prostate Cancer, Lung Cancer, Oesophageal Cancer, Colorectal Cancer. The lifetime risk for men is 1 in 8.
- In South Africa the cancer survival rate is 6 out of 10!
We suggest that you contact your financial adviser immediately to establish if you have Dread Disease cover and if not, add it to your portfolio.