Johannesburg – An increase in early cancer insurance claims suggests that South Africans are being more proactive about detecting and treating cancer early, which in turn means a greater chance of more successful and less invasive treatments, according to Susan Gonnermann, claims manager at Hollard Life.
Statistics released by Hollard Life seem to confirm this. Heart disease and cancer are by far the leading causes of all claims across critical illness, death and disability income benefits, followed by vehicle accidents and stroke. This is based on Hollard Life claim stats for June to December 2014.
These claims statistics show:
– About 42% of all the claims received between June and December last year were due to heart disease;
– Heart disease and stroke – generally thought to be something only middle-aged men need to worry about – are becoming more and more common in women. Heart disease and stroke claims made by both men and women were mostly for those between the ages of 41 and 50;
– The second leading claims cause across all benefits was cancer at 20%;
– Prostate, breast, colon and metastatic cancers were the most common cancers claimed for during the period.
“We are also seeing a sharp increase in the number of claims for early or ‘stage 0’ cancer. This is when the cancer is localised and hasn’t spread to surrounding tissue, or it’s pre-malignant, which means the cells are abnormal, but not yet cancerous,” explained Gonnermann.
“The scary thing is that many illnesses like heart disease and certain cancers can be prevented just by adopting a healthy lifestyle. The best defence is knowing your family history, taking positive steps to reduce your health risks and having a financial plan in place in case you do ever have to face one of these serious illnesses.”
Tips to secure your future:
– Apply for life, disability and critical illness cover while you’re young and healthy. Statistics show that many diseases are being diagnosed at much younger ages than ever before. The cost of insurance products increases as you get older;
– You also need to apply for cover when you’re younger because this is the most productive time of your life, when you are most reliant on your income to meet financial obligations and take care of your growing family;
– It’s important to get cover when you’re healthy because many insurers apply exclusions to pre-existing conditions. What this means is that they won’t pay a claim if it is related to an illness or other medical condition that you already had when you applied for cover;
– Don’t assume that everything is covered. Chances are that if you have critical illness cover (even comprehensive cover), it won’t cover you for early cancer because most policies only cover cancer from stage 1 and upwards.
You may have medical aid, but many of the costs related to early stage screening and treatment may not be fully covered.
– Keep your cover up to date by meeting your adviser every year, or as soon as your circumstances change. Big life changes like getting married or having a child have a big effect on your financial situation.
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