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Private healthcare in South Africa doesn’t come cheap! Most households that can afford to belong to a medical aid scheme spend a few thousand bucks a month for the reassurance that if they get sick, they can afford the best treatment possible.

But is it enough?

Your dentistry benefits might be top-notch, you might have more than enough medical savings to visit a GP every day if you wanted to, but if you got seriously ill (like being diagnosed with Cancer) are you convinced your “super-duper” medical aid plan is going to cover everything?

You aren’t 100% sure, right?

A serious illness can strike at any time, and that could mean being off work for an extended period of time. At first your employer will be sympathetic to your situation, but eventually the sympathy might be replaced by a less sympathetic letter from your HR department. If that isn’t enough, your medical aid will be watching the bills, rolling in, like a hawk, waiting to pull the plug as soon as you have exhausted your benefit limit.

It’s sad, but it’s the truth of the matter.

We had a quick squiz online at a leading medical scheme’s premier medical aid plan, which costs a staggering R6,000 per month for a single member contribution (ouch!). You would think at that price point just about everything would be covered.

Think again! The annual Cancer benefit is limited to R400,000 a year. That is only R33,000 per month. It might seem enough, until you understand how expensive Cancer treatment really is.

Do you know that a mastectomy and access to new immunotherapy drugs can easily cost R500,000?

A recent article on Moneyweb had a rough estimate of costs relating to Cancer treatment in South Africa. The costs are jaw dropping:

Treatment Cost
Breast biopsy R17,000
Scans R30,000
Mastectomy R62,000
Reconstructive surgery R50,000 – R140,000
Hormonal therapy R650 – R2,500 per month
Chemotherapy R140,000 for 6 cycles
Radiation therapy R51,000 – R112,000 for 5-6 weeks treatment

And if you think the odds are in your favour, think again

We pulled a few statistics from the Cansa website, to reinforce the fact that covering yourself isn’t a luxury anymore, it’s a necessity:

  • Every year 14 million people around the world hear the words: “You have Cancer.”
  • 1/4 South Africans are personally diagnosed or have a loved one, family, friend or colleague with Cancer.
  • 100,000 South Africans are diagnosed with Cancer every year.
  • Environment and lifestyle factors, including smoking, diet and lack of exercise cause 90% of all Cancers.
  • 6/10 is the Cancer survival rate.

The heart disease stats aren’t any better

  • 225 South Africans are killed by heart disease everyday
  • 45% of South Africans have high blood pressure
  • 10 people suffer a stroke in South Africa every hour

How much critical illness cover did you say you have in place?

Critical illness cover isn’t a “nice to have”. You should have a critical illness policy in place even if you belong to a medical aid. The easiest thing to do is bolt your critical illness benefit onto your existing life cover policy.

Our (is this “our” quoting or referring to someone? In that case, perhaps to add in inverted comma) Critical Illness Cover pays out a lump sum if you have a stroke, suffer a heart attack, undergo heart surgery or are diagnosed with Cancer (and you don’t die within 30 days of the first diagnosis). The exact, qualifying definitions will be included in your policy wording and diagnoses must be confirmed by our medical peeps.

  • Get up to R5 million cover
  • There is no waiting period before you are covered
  • No medical examinations are required

Can you really afford to delay a decision to get yourself covered? Probably not.

Click here if you would like to speak to an Old Mutual Financial Advisor in your area about critical illness cover.

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