OCTOBER is Breast Cancer awareness month. October also is the month that the first critical illness or trauma insurance cover policy was launched. An insurance policy designed by a South African doctor to replace income or provide a lump sum in the event of cancer and other critical illnesses.
Dr Marius Barnard rallied the insurance industry to develop a policy that covered heart attacks and cancers. He was moved into action when one of his patients explained the impact of the costs, the loss of income and ultimately the loss of the family home. The patient wished he'd never recovered and had died on the operating table.
One in three men and one in four women will be diagnosed with cancer before the age of 75. And these days, due to medical advances, we have a greater chance of surviving a serious medical condition.
However for those of us living on the North Coast, we face additional unique challenges. Individuals living in major cities generally have readily available access to appropriate medical specialists and health care facilities, friends and family are close by and often medical facilities are a taxi ride away. Customers living in rural and regional areas are generally not as privileged and may have to travel significant distances to obtain the same medical services and be away from family members for extended periods.
This is why having some form of insurance can be of significant benefit. In particular trauma insurance pays out a lump sum for invaluable financial assistance following the diagnosis of a serious illness like cancer. The value of trauma insurance for locals is that it can assist in meeting accommodation costs, pay debts and meet other financial commitments.
It can provide a lump sum to assist in allowing choice of which medical professional you see, and where you go for the best treatment.
Jason McFadden is a certified Financial Planner with JPM Financial Planning. This editorial is general advice only.