We don’t lie around in silk robes contemplating our mortality like we did thousands of years ago, and that’s because “culture” (a shared idea of what it means to be alive) has, to a degree, replaced the deep angst and hard questions that our ancestors seemed to wrestle with more than we do today.
Life is certainly for the living, and it’s hard to imagine that we only have a finite amount of time to see and enjoy it all, but that’s our reality and at some point, our bodies will end up failing us. Most of us will succumb to illness, and all we can hope for is that our friends and family members will enjoy our legacy that burns bright for at least a generation or two.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. The upside of being alive in the 21st century is that, unlike our predecessors, we get to benefit directly from the monumental strides humankind has made in areas like technology and medicine. Think about this for a second…less than a hundred years ago we discovered penicillin (the world’s first antibiotic) that can fight off terrible bacterial infections. Before then, a simple cut on your finger or sore on your big toe, that ended up becoming infected, could spell the end for you. It’s staggering to think how far we’ve come since Alexander Flemming cracked the first piece of the puzzle in 1928.
If you get seriously ill today, you have a fighting chance. A much better chance than any other time in our history.
There is however a caveat to this…you’ll need to be able to afford the cost of the treatment.
It’s estimated that only 21% of the South African population has the luxury of enjoying some level of private healthcare cover and will not need to rely on the state for medical assistance. The irony, however, is that hard-working families, who are shelling out upwards of R6000 per month for medical aid cover, will find a massive gap in their cover if one of the scheme members becomes seriously ill with aggressive cancer or another illness that will take a long time to combat.
What happens when your medical scheme stops paying because you are “maxed out”, but you still have oncology bills piling up on your kitchen table?
Well, you’ve either saved enough money to pick up the bills yourself, or you’ll need to borrow the money.
Most South Africans are barely managing to keep their head above water as the economy teeters on the edge, thanks to a massive COVID-19 hangover and skyrocketing unemployment rates that are amongst some of the highest in the world. It’s tough to imagine that most South African families might have a few hundred thousand Rand saved up in an emergency fund for a rainy day (and being diagnosed with cancer would be right up there with some of the darkest days one could experience).
So, it’s safe to assume that a family desperate for money, that they don’t have, needs to borrow it from a credit provider. But this isn’t as easy as it seems. First off, unless you have a squeaky-clean credit record and you can prove that in no uncertain terms you can afford to repay your loan, lenders just aren’t that interested in handing out fists full of money these days.
Secondly, do you want to pay back a R250 000 loan at 15% per annum?
There is however a more affordable solution that might only cost you a few hundred Rand a month, today.
Critical Illness Cover is often overlooked and slightly overshadowed by its more notorious counterparts (Life and Disability Cover). The sad reality is that the biggest life insurance company in South Africa, with a 100-year-old history, recently posted the fact that they’ve seen an 18% increase in the number of severe illnesses claims paid since last year.
We all know someone who has been diagnosed with a horrible illness like cancer, and if you want real evidence to support your decision to take out Critical Illness Cover, look no further than this:
- 1 in 7 South African women will develop cancer in their lifetime
- 1 in 6 South African men will develop cancer in their lifetime
The time is now to part with a few hundred bucks a month and take out some Critical Illness cover so that, if the day we all dread becomes a day you need to ultimately face up to, you know that some money will be on its way to help you and your family cover the costs, while you hunker down and begin your battle.
Until next time.
The Wise About Life Team