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Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - GOODPOSTER -

If you can af­ford only a limited amount of crit­i­cal ill­ness cover, make sure you have the most com­pre­hen­sive med­i­cal scheme cover you can af­ford, as well as in­come pro­tec­tion cover.

Be care­ful of tak­ing crit­i­cal ill­ness cover as an ac­cel­er­ated ben­e­fit (early pay­out) of a dis­abil­ity or life as­sur­ance ben­e­fit, be­cause this could re­sult in your hav­ing in­ad­e­quate cover for dis­abil­ity or death when you need it later.

If you can af­ford to take out crit­i­cal ill­ness cover, make sure you cover your­self against the ill­nesses that are most likely to have the most se­ri­ous im­pact on your life. One in seven men and one in eight women in South Africa will suf­fer from can­cer dur­ing their life, the most re­cent National Can­cer Reg­istry statis­tics show.

Once you have cover for the basics, cover for things such as stage zero can­cer is good to have if you can af­ford it. poli­cies ex­clude other in-situ can­cers, be­cause you have a very good chance of mak­ing a full re­cov­ery.

Van der Lith says some can­cers, such as pan­cre­atic can­cer, present only in their more ad­vanced stages, be­cause there are no cost-ef­fec­tive screen­ing meth­ods.

Nicholas van der Nest, divi­sional di­rec­tor of risk prod­uct man­age­ment at Lib­erty, says Lib­erty’s crit­i­cal ill­ness poli­cies pay for mas­tec­tomies re­quired for breast can­cer in-situ. How­ever, Lib­erty’s poli­cies ex­clude other stage zero can­cers, be­cause the pur­pose of a crit­i­cal ill­ness pol­icy is to pro­vide for ex­penses re­lated to ad­just­ments to your life­style af­ter a crit­i­cal ill­ness, and med­i­cal schemes would gen­er­ally pay for surg­eries re­lated to stage zero can­cer di­ag­noses.

Al­though it is true that nowa­days most can­cers are de­tected at an ear­lier stage, it is also true that the resid­ual im­pact of can­cer on a per­son’s life­style is se­verely re­duced the sooner the can­cer is de­tected and treated, Van der Nest says.

You should not rely on a crit­i­cal ill­ness pol­icy to pro­vide cover for med­i­cal ex­penses as­so­ci­ated with an ill­ness, be­cause th­ese ex­penses should be met by your med­i­cal scheme, hos­pi­tal cash plan and/or gap cover in­sur­ance, he says.

The ques­tion you need to ask is whether you will have to make ad­just­ments to your life­style fol­low­ing a di­ag­no­sis of stage zero can­cer, Van der Nest says. If the an­swer is no, it is Lib­erty’s view that a crit­i­cal ill­ness con­tract should not pro­vide cover for the ill­ness.

BrightRock says that its poli­cies in­clude cover for many of the stage zero can­cers that Al­trisk cov­ers with its add-on ben­e­fit.

BrightRock ex­ec­u­tive Schalk Malan says the ben­e­fits are tiered in line with the sever­ity of the con­di­tion, so typ­i­cally the pay­out you would re­ceive on di­ag­no­sis of a stage zero can­cer would be lower than the amount for which you are as­sured.

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