Considering critical illness cover?
Here’s what you need to know

Author: Chaim Shalpid

Statistics show South Africans have a one in four chance of developing cancer in their lifetime. In addition, one in three South African men and one in four women will suffer from heart disease before the age of 60.

These statistics aren’t meant to alarm, but rather draw attention to the fact that critical or severe illness is a reality for many South Africans, and a health challenge most of us will have to deal with directly or indirectly at some point.

While the advancement of medical technology means that largely, these illnesses are not the terminal sentences they once were, the cost of treating these conditions can be substantial, placing a significant financial burden on patients and their families.

Many people believe their medical aids will cover them in such instances. This is true, to a point. Medical schemes often fall short when it comes to paying for costs associated with rehabilitation and ongoing out-of-hospital treatment. Filling these gaps financially can be very difficult, especially when there are no savings available to fund the shortfall.

This is where critical illness cover comes in; it provides a financial safety net when you need it most.

When looking at critical illness cover, the most important factors to consider are:

  • The breadth of cover offered (i.e. the number of conditions covered by the benefit)
  • Payout levels (these should be based on the severity of the condition i.e. 25%,50%,75% or 100%)
  • The point at which payment is made (tax-free lump sum payouts paid on diagnosis or after suffering an event, for example, can be used to pay for out-of-hospital treatment or changes in lifestyle due to illness)

It’s vital to remember, critical illnesses strike when we least expect them; many are not preventable and they don’t discriminate; and the burden associated with these diseases goes beyond just financial, often causing health implications (such as stress or emotional distress) for family members of critical illness patients too.

Critical illness cover can offer hope in all these circumstances, relieving some of the stress and financial pressure on you and your family in this trying time.