by John Graham

Financial planning for times of illness

Coping with serious health problems

Proper provisions ensure that dependents are taken care of when you fall sick or are unable to earn an income.
Coping financially with serious illnesses

Whether related to diet, lifestyle or genetics, dreaded diseases are a reality, as demonstrated by the significant rise in cancer occurrences among the South African population.

According to a recent South African Audience Research Foundation (SAARF) study on the Living Standard Measure (LSM), a number of surprising trends have come to light among population groups in South Africa. In particular, the LSM 7-10 group is undergoing the most changes in terms of growth and lifestyle.

Today, nearly 35% of the population aged over 15 years belongs to the LSM 7-10 segment, up from 22% in 2001, but this segment remains proportionately skewed towards the age group of 35-year olds and beyond. Today’s LSM 7-10 segment represents people typically acquiring possessions and gaining better access to services over the course of their lives.

This includes taking up insurance cover for both health and life, as physical possessions are not the only things that require protection against losses.

Making the appropriate provisions to ensure that dependents are taken care of in the event of serious illness or loss of life is crucial. To put this into perspective, just consider the following statistics relating to a 36-year old female smoker who survived to the age of 70.

  •     Chances of being diagnosed with cancer = 15.8%
  •     Chances of suffering a stroke = 3.1%
  •     Chances of suffering a heart attack = 11.6%

While most people know that it is vitally important to take better care of themselves by keeping their lifestyle and diet in check, incidences of ill health for higher LSM groups will continue to rise. It's wise for people in these groups to invest in a cover that protects them and their loved ones financially when a serious illness occurs.

Various insurance options ensure that individuals are covered in case of a stroke, heart attack, cancer or open heart surgery by paying out a cash lump sum that can be used in any way that the patient sees fit.

This includes taking the family on holiday while the patient recuperates, paying for additional medical bills that aren't covered by the medical aid or covering bills and expenses while the patient is unable to work.

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