Friday, August 10th, 2012
If you survive a critical illness or are diagnosed with a degenerative disease, treatments or medications designed to manage the symptoms can be costly. The unfortunate reality is that a critical illness can leave some people temporarily or permanently disabled and impair their ability to work and care for themselves. Costs associated with care and recovery can coincide with a temporary or permanent loss of income. This is where life insurance can help. If you suffer from a critical illness* and you have Allianz Critical Illness cover you will receive a lump sum payment that can be used for any purpose, including assisting you to cover treatment and other medical or lifestyle-related costs, potentially relieving you and your family from considerable financial burden.

Surviving a critical illness - heart attack and stroke
While some people may walk away from a stroke in fairly good health, statistics from 2003 show that 42.4% of Australians developed some form of disability as a result of having suffered from a stroke. In 2003 the average cost per stroke case in the first twelve months following an attack was $18,956 and over a lifetime this added up to $44,428. In 2009, heart attack and chest pain were estimated to have a direct cost of $1.8 billion in the health care system. This is approximately $25,000 per patient, mostly composed of inpatient and pharmaceutical costs.

Degenerative Diseases
Degenerative diseases are those which impair the function or structure of a person's tissues or organs over a period of time. These diseases are progressive and they often impact significantly on the sufferer's quality of life.

A person diagnosed with a degenerative disease can face expensive health care costs for symptom treatment and disease management on top of being disadvantaged in the workforce with limited employment opportunities.

Parkinson's Disease
Parkinson's Disease (PD) is a disabling neurological disease that affects the central nervous system. People suffering from PD experience tremors, impaired stability and coordination, rigidity of muscle groups and slow movement. Approximately 64,000 Australians were living with PD in 2011 and about 30 new cases were diagnosed each day during the year. Parkinson's NSW predicted that there were about 1,299 to 1,692 deaths from PD in 2011 and that this number is expected to double by 2031. The average out-of-pocket expenses in 2011 for aids for a person suffering from PD are hefty. Someone with stage five PD will spend about $2,590 per year and the financial cost for someone living with Parkinson's for 12 years is about $144,000.

Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an incurable auto-immune disease which causes the body's immune system to attack its own nervous system. In 2005, it was estimated that 21,000 Australians have MS. According to the National Health and Medical Research Council, most diagnoses are made in adulthood (ages 20-40) and twice as many women are affected than men. And although the disease is not fatal, managing MS symptoms can be expensive - treatment is estimated to cost more than $1,000 each month.

Muscular Dystrophy
Another notable degenerative disease is Muscular Dystrophy (MD) - approximately 5,000 Australians are affected by MD. The impact of this neuromuscular disorder is a progressive weakening of muscle tissues, a decrease in mobility and often a shortened life span. The Muscular Dystrophy Association of Australia reveals that many children affected by muscular dystrophy will not reach their twenties. The cost involved in managing this disease is not miniscule either. It is estimated that families caring for a person with MD face a financial burden of $126,000 each year - taking into account health care costs, aids and equipment, care, transport and limited employment opportunitiesxvii.

Rising out-of-pocket costs
Australians are fortunate in the way that commonly prescribed medications are subsidised by the government. But research from the Menzies Centre for Health Policy suggests that, in reality, government subsidies are not stopping overall medical costs and out-of-pocket costs from rising.

According to this research, current financial assistance for medical services is inadequate to meet everyone's needs. Even if you are temporarily disabled by your illness, you may require care, transport, after school care for your children, therapy, or domestic help during your recovery. Added to the costs of medical care, rehabilitation and medication, these expenses can become unaffordable. If your disability is permanent, these expenses will be ongoing. Without adequate insurance these costs could take a devastating toll on your finances.

Providing future financial security for your family should not be an afterthought and you should consider this before you have any health scares and while there are still a range of options available to you. Get a quote online from Allianz life insurance and see how Critical Illness cover can help.

Conditions that are covered under the Critical Illness cover can be found at Allianz Critical Illness cover.

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Allianz Australia

The Allianz Group gives over 76 million people in 70 countries around the world the confidence they need in life's important moments. In Australia, more than 2 million policy holders rely on us for car, home, travel, CTP, business and Allianz life insurance.
Nicholas Scofield
P: 02-9390 6596


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