What If You Develop a Critical Illness?

Critical illness is not something we like to talk about. It is, however, an element of risk that must at least be considered. The reality is that more than half of all people living with cancer will survive at least five years after diagnosis, while 75% of stroke victims and 80% of heart attack victims who are admitted to a hospital will survive. Our chances of surviving a critical illness such as those mentioned are much greater today than ever before.

Let’s look at statistics. According to Cancer.org, prostate cancer is the most common cause of cancer death in North America. It’s the same in the UK and most of Europe but with a higher percentage. Malignant tumors are the number 1 killer in developed countries like Canada, USA, the UK and France. That said, allocating a part of your finance towards health protection is something worth considering whether or not you’ll be part of these aforementioned statistics.

The fact remains that survival can be expensive. If you work, you may be faced with significant loss of income during your treatment and recovery period. Whether you are from Canada, the UK, or in any part of the world, having an income protection plan – such as offered by aviva and other established insurance providers – can mitigate this risk and give employees peace of mind. Many life insurance companies now offer a policy that pays out on survival, rather than on death. This type of insurance is generically known as a critical illness insurance policy. It pays a tax-free lump sum benefit in the event of a covered critical illness being diagnosed.

In recent years, we have had our faith shaken in our government-subsidized health care system. The system has undergone many changes and continues to be in a state of flux. There are many expenses that are not currently covered by the government or private health care plans. Often, viable treatments will take years of testing prior to receiving approval from the government.

Consider this scenario: at the age of 39, Becky was a mother and full time worker. She had purchased a critical illness policy only months before tragedy struck. Becky suffered a stroke. She spent much of the year in intensive therapy. Her critical illness policy gave her the financial ability to make some minor renovations to her home, which helped her to function with reduced mobility. This alleviated some of the stress on Becky, and enabled a faster recovery from her illness.

The value of a critical illness insurance policy is that the money is yours to spend in whichever way you think will facilitate your recovery. You can use the money to pay for treatment that is not yet approved by the government, or travel out of the country for treatment that is not available in Canada. Maybe you will need to renovate your home and make it more accessible. Keep in mind that not all policies are the equal. There are many variables, exclusions, and restrictions to consider. Look for comprehensive coverage to meet your needs and budget.

The foregoing is for general information purposes and is the opinion of the writer. This information is not intended to provide personal advice including, without limitation, investment, financial, legal, accounting or tax advice. Please call or write to Rick Sutherland CLU, CFP, FDS, R.F.P., to discuss your particular circumstances or suggest a topic for future articles at 613-798-2421 or E-mail rick@invested-interest.ca. Mutual Funds provided through FundEX Investments Inc.

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