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All you need to know about dread disease cover

10 June 2022
5 minute read

There are some diagnoses nobody wants to hear. Whether it’s cancer or Alzheimer’s disease, these conditions could be life-changing. Aside from the health challenges these bring, patients are also faced with the practical realities: How will my life change? What treatment plan is best? And – can I afford it? Dread disease cover not only helps you pay for the best treatment, it can also help ease other financial challenges you and your family may face as a result.

Here’s how dread disease cover can help you in the most difficult time of your life.  

Dread disease cover in a nutshell

Dread disease cover pays a lump sum amount if the life assured is diagnosed with a specified dread disease. The amount paid depends on the sum assured and the severity of the disease. Dread disease cover pays on diagnosis, provided that the life assured survives the diagnosis by a short period, such as 28 days. 

For example: If you are diagnosed with end stage kidney failure on 1 April, you will be eligible to submit a dread disease cover claim for consideration on 29 April.  

1Life offers a five-year premium waiver benefit on dread diseases cover when the life assured is granted a 100% payout on their dread disease claim.

Dread diseases and their various stages

A dread disease is a serious or critical illness that can have a life-changing effect. The most common are cancer (which includes over 100 diseases) and heart disease. However there are many other illnesses that 1Life classifies as dread diseases including, but not limited to:

  • Stroke
  • Chronic organ failure, such as kidney (renal) or liver failure
  • Organ transplant
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Lupus
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Certain cardiovascular diseases

Each dread disease policy will have full details of all the diseases covered. Ensure that you understand the specific definitions for these conditions as laid out in your insurer’s policy book.

Most dread diseases have different severities. Dread disease cover offers lump sum pay-outs for various dread diseases and the pay-outs may differ depending on the severity of the dread disease when it is diagnosed. If the illness is minor or at an early stage, a portion of the sum assured may be paid, such as 25%. For major illnesses or advanced stages, the full sum assured may be paid.

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Dread diseases can be expensive to treat and come with extra costs

Illnesses classified as dread diseases often require extensive treatment, sometimes lasting years. Treatment plans can be expensive, and there are other costs you incur if you are diagnosed with a dread disease.

We’ve identified the three major costs associated with dread disease, which a dread disease policy can help pay for.

Cost 1: Medical care costs
Treatments range from the reasonably priced drugs to complicated surgical procedures and new drugs and innovative techniques that can cost hundreds of thousands, if not more. For example, a Parkinson’s Disease sufferer may opt for deep brain stimulation to help control symptoms, which could cost R250 000.

Medical aids may not cover all treatment costs in full, and South Africa’s public hospitals may not provide the latest treatments, or there may be lengthy waiting periods for treatments, such as surgery, at these hospitals. Dread disease cover will ensure you have funds to pay for such treatments, depending on your sum assured.

Cost 2: Loss of income
Treatments may take time, and you may need time off work to recuperate from the illness and any treatment side-effects. If you are employed, your employer is obliged to grant you paid sick leave (minimum up to 36 days in a 3-year cycle) but you may end up taking off more days, which may not be paid. If you are self-employed, you may need to get someone in to help with the work you cannot manage. Sadly, this means you are likely to lose income if you have a dread disease, which is where the pay-out from a dread disease cover policy really helps.

Cost 3: Life changing costs
Many dread diseases are life changing, often on a permanent basis. For example, you may be diagnosed with a dread disease that results in you being wheelchair-bound, or a stroke may leave you unable to move an arm, or speak or write. These kinds of changes often require modifications to your home or car, so you can live independently, or the purchase of special equipment such as a motorised wheelchair, which can be expensive. Dread disease cover can help with these costs, making your life easier and more comfortable. 

The chances of getting a dread disease may be higher than you think

Many dread diseases have no cure and/or guaranteed preventative measure. Good genes from your parents can help you avoid some illnesses, as can following a healthy lifestyle. But neither is a 100% guarantee that you will never get a dread disease. And sadly, the incidence of many dread diseases is rising.

For example, Cansa statistics show an increasing incidence of cancer worldwide, and one in four South Africans will be affected – either through being diagnosed themselves, or having a close friend, family member or colleague diagnosed with cancer. Recent 1Life statistics showed a 20% increase in deaths due to breast cancer alone. The Heart and Stroke Foundation of South Africa says 10 people suffer a stroke in the country, every hour.

Can you cover the cost?

Without dread disease cover, could you pay the costs associated with a dread disease diagnosis? Dipping into savings is not ideal, and would eat into your generational wealth-building plans. And taking on debt will just increase the financial burden and worry for you and your family. The benefits of dread disease cover are many, and the good news is that the cost is reasonable! Our skilled 1Life consultants or your financial adviser will help you find the right cover at a price that suits your needs and your pocket!

Don’t dread the disease – cover it!

It is possible to recover from a dread disease, or manage it well to limit its impact on your life. A positive attitude is important, but attitude does not pay the bills! The funds from a dread disease cover pay-out can help you pay these bills – and give you one less BIG thing to worry about!

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