Do you remember the first time you learned about the difference between needs and wants? A need is something essential for survival, while a want is something you desire but can live without. What would you need if you were diagnosed with a severe illness, also known as a dreaded disease? And what would you want for yourself and your loved ones?
Meet Bernadette Romburgh:
Bernadette was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 39, one of her greatest fears was succumbing to the same illness that took her mother’s life at 44. Her financial adviser stressed the importance of having illness cover in place, but unfortunately, she and her partner never got around to it in time. Bernadette was worried about possibly dying while her partner was worried about how they would survive financially.
The Challenging Journey:
The medical procedures and treatments Bernadette had to go through were extensive. Surgery, chemotherapy, a bilateral mastectomy, and reconstruction operation that required 13 hours of anaesthesia. This was followed by her lung unexpectedly collapsing after the operation, leading her back into ICU. The financial implications for Bernadette and her partner of the whole treatment and recovery were “catastrophic”.
You may be thinking, “It won’t happen to me.” However, illness can strike anyone at any time. According to the 2022 Old Mutual Claim Statistics, the youngest person to make an illness claim was a 22-year-old male, while the oldest was 83. Among women, the youngest claimant was just 27 years old. The World Health Organisation reports that cancer was a leading cause of death worldwide in 2020, accounting for nearly 10 million deaths, or approximately one in six.
Dr Bielqees Salie, Senior Medical Officer at Old Mutual, explains, “Being diagnosed with a severe illness has a profound impact that extends beyond the physical. From the moment of diagnosis throughout the recovery journey, patients can expect to experience anxiety related to their illness, which is a common occurrence as they navigate their diagnosis.” “With most severe illnesses, patients will require a significant amount of time for recovery and some level of assistance at home.” Dr Salie adds.
The Importance of Illness Insurance:
Having adequate illness insurance ensures that your needs and wants are met in the event of a serious illness. It allows you to take time off work for recovery and covers the costs of out-of-hospital assistance.
Old Mutual Illness insurance is insurance that pays a single tax-free amount from R100 000 to R6 million if you are diagnosed with a critical illness such as but not limited to cancer, a heart attack, or stroke. You will be covered up to 30 days before your first premium is payable, you can customise your cover to suit your specific needs. In the case of a cancer diagnosis, should your quality of life be severely impacted by treatment, the Cancer Enhancer benefit will boost the cash payout by 25% if your quality of life is severely impacted by cancer treatment and you can’t care for yourself.
Don’t wait until it’s too late. Protect yourself and your loved ones with Old Mutual Illness insurance. Speak to your financial adviser today or visit www.oldmutual.co.za/illness.
Disclaimer: Old Mutual Life Assurance Company (SA) Limited is a licensed FSP and Life Insurer. Bernadette received a monetary token of appreciation for sharing my story with Old Mutual and this isn’t financial advice. Ts & Cs apply.