Financial preparedness to face critical illness

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Statistics from Ministry of Health indicates that heart disease is the number one cause of death in Malaysia which comprised of 16.5 percent of deaths in hospitals in 2008. In fact, the estimated coronary heart disease in this country of 28 million people were 40,000 new cases per year, or to put in another way – 4.5 new cases every hour!

As for cancer, the ministry showed that one in every seven people is at risk.

Despite the somewhat gruesome statistics, there is still a good chance of recovery if the diagnosis and treatment are given in the early stages of the illness. In fact, given medical advances, the rate of recovery today is better than before. In most cases, patients who recover can continue a productive life. However, patients should make provision for cost recovery, special treatment and diet changes, and this requires strong financial support. Many patients often do not have adequate financial protection.

Do we have sufficient fund to get treatment? According to the study of the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) in 2008, a 54-year-old has an average savings of only RM132, 539. A study by a bank showed that people only have a savings that can last 11 weeks. If they lose their livelihood, one in every five people said their savings may last for only 4 weeks. These savings only covers daily expenses and does not include medical expenses for a critical illness.

Treatment of critical illness often takes a long time and involve high costs of recovery as well as the possible loss of livelihood. Medical costs of cancer treatment can increase up to RM300, 000 while the treatment of kidney starts from RM150, 000 upwards. Major organ transplant requires at least RM100, 000.

It is unlikely that your savings alone can cover the treatment expenses and the daily expenses due to loss of income.

What you need is an insurance, that covers critical illness. It may be a life insurance that also covers critical illness or a standalone critical illness  protection policy. You have to realize that there are quite a lot of different kinds of critical illness and different policies cover different illness’s.  You have to make sure that you get a quote for the cover that will cover all your needs.  It is best to consult an independent adviser before making the final decision.

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