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The paramount importance of severe illness cover

The paramount importance of severe illness cover

By Shali Nanghala, Head of Distribution: Momentum Retail.

In our ever-evolving world, life’s unpredictabilities loom large. From global health crises to personal medical emergencies, we often find ourselves face to face with challenges that can profoundly impact our health and financial stability.

In these uncertain times, the value of foresight and preparedness is unparalleled, and one essential element of this preparedness is severe illness cover. Let us delve into its vital importance.

The Changing Dynamics of Critical Illnesses:

Medical science has made tremendous strides over the years. Statistics show that there has been a worldwide increase in the number of critical illnesses being diagnosed. With medical advances, more people are surviving these illnesses, but only a few enjoy the same lifestyle. Adapting to all the changes can be very costly and it will have a major impact on your finances.

On average, surviving after suffering a stroke would cost between N$500,000 and N$1 million over the lifetime of the patient, including initial rehabilitation and chronic medication.

Living with Alzheimer’s can cost more than N$1 million in medical and lifestyle expenses.

Another consideration is cancer. There’s a widespread myth that lung cancer is solely the affliction of smokers. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Factors such as genetics, exposure to harmful substances, and previous health conditions can all contribute to lung cancer. Moreover, the idea that only those with a family history of cancer are at risk is a stark misconception. A mere fraction of cancer cases stem from inherited genetic mutations. The vast majority are a result of our lifestyle choices and environmental exposures.

These insights underscore two vital realities: Firstly, illnesses can befall anyone, regardless of their history or habits. Secondly, the repercussions of such diseases, both physical and financial, can be far-reaching and long-lasting.

The Indispensability of Severe Illness Cover:

Beyond the NNHS: Whilst the Namibian National Health Service (NNHS) offers comprehensive healthcare, the associated costs of critical illnesses can be staggering. Beyond the treatment itself, there are ancillary expenses, ranging from travel for specialist care to modifications in one’s home for accessibility. Critical illness benefits assist with unforeseen expenses as a result of illnesses that has a significant lifestyle and financial impact. Some examples are shared below:

1. Out-of-pocket medical costs:

If your medical aid does not cover all your out of hospital costs, how would that impact your budget? Medical aids are hugely valuable, and we strongly advise all insured lives to have a proper medical aid if they can afford it – it will cover most of their medical expenses that might otherwise leave them financially exposed.

But even medical aids are often limited in what they can provide and have their own challenges – we share a few hidden truths that not everyone may be familiar with:

• Almost all Oncology treatments (cancer) has a cap on it. Amounts more than the capped benefits are for your own cost.

• Experimental treatments are not covered, for example, if a medication is not registered for use in Namibia (even though it is being used successfully elsewhere in the world), it is not covered.

• Medical schemes cannot underwrite individually and can therefore become very expensive – medical increases have exceeded CPI for many years now and it becomes exceptionally difficult the older you get to sustain medical aid costs, especially in retirement.

2. Lifestyle adjustment costs:

Death and disability benefits are great to protect your income (to cover your existing expenses). But what about NEW expenses that arise as a result of a critical illness, impairment or death? Have you made provision for the cost of lifestyle adjustments, for example making a house accessible (installing ramps, railings, stair lift and bathroom improvements) for a person who has become a paraplegic?

3. Drop in income:

If your spouse needs to look after you while you recuperate from a stroke, how long would he/she be able to go on unpaid leave? Or what if you want to scale down your working hours following a heart attack? Your spouse might also need to look after you over a longer period, for example in cases of dementia where you can’t look after your own affairs anymore.

In summation, severe illness cover’s significance in our current unpredictable health landscape is irrefutable. It’s not just about medical interventions; it’s about preserving the quality of life, safeguarding financial well-being, and fostering peace of mind.

It’s prudent not to wait for adversity to highlight its essence. Proactive measures today can ensure a secure and serene tomorrow.


About The Author

Guest Contributor

A Guest Contributor is any of a number of experts who contribute articles and columns under their own respective names. They are regarded as authorities in their disciplines, and their work is usually published with limited editing only. They may also contribute to other publications. - Ed.