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Your health is your wealth!

2 November 2023
4 minute read

Life is a lot less fun when you’re not in the best of health. Unfortunately, it’s also a lot more expensive! We investigated how the costs of poor health can add up, and found that good health is much cheaper, and less stressful!

The high cost of ill health

The one thing you want to do when you are ill is get better! Medical care and treatment can help you achieve this, so you can live your best life! However, if you need ongoing care for a chronic condition, annual checkups or trips to the GP or specialists for care and medication, your treatment will cost money!

If you have medical aid or a primary healthcare plan, some of these costs may be covered, otherwise you need to cover these yourself or use a free or low-fee service in the public health sector.

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In the early stages of an illness, you will usually need to visit your GP, as well as any recommended specialists. There are also likely to be tests, scans and possibly scopes, such as blood tests, MRI and CT scans. Consultations fees are in the hundreds of rands, sometimes thousands, and blood tests and scans, well, they can easily mount up to more than a few thousand! But, they are essential to diagnose illness and manage your health.

Just these costs alone can add up to a large sum of money. And then, there are ongoing consultations, possibly aids such as oxygen or walkers or wheelchairs, and any special foods and supplements.

And, of course, medication! Although there are amazing drugs out there to help manage many conditions, they can be expensive. You may also, unfortunately suffer side effects, requiring more medication.

Adding to all these costs are the transport costs you incur seeking medical care, and the time off work! While the healthier population takes a sick day or two now and then, ill health can see you needing multiple days for diagnosis, care and treatment, and recovery, as well as more time to recover from common, usually short-lived, illnesses such as colds, flu and tummy bugs. This can become so extensive that you have to take unpaid leave.

Remember that you can claim medical expenses paid out of your own pocket as tax deductions, with all the necessary paperwork, but even so, the costs of being sick are high! If you can, stay healthy! It is a lot cheaper.

The hidden costs of ill health

We also found that in addition to the direct costs of ill health, there are a number of other indirect costs that can sap your energy and bank account!

Reduced energy

Ever wanted to spend more time on your passion, learn a new skill or grow your side hustle? When you’re healthy you can find the time, energy and a few extra rands to help you try new things, pursue your passion, grow your business and learn new skills. All things that you may not have the time, money or energy for if you are ill.

Lower savings

Unfortunately, ill health can lead to a shorter working life, which is a double whammy! Not only do you spend more on healthcare, you can also end up earning less during your life because your ill health prevents you from working for longer, so you have less saved for retirement. Spending more on healthcare also means there is less to save for holidays, new cars, and more!  Stay healthy and you can work for longer, earn more and save more!


No question, ill health is stressful! The World Health Organisation says depression is more common when people go through an adverse life event, for example being diagnosed with a chronic illness. Stress is an energy consumer and it can become a vicious circle with stress affecting your health negatively in addition to your illness, meaning more healthcare costs, and leading to even more stress.

Higher insurance premiums

Insurances such as life insurance, disability and dread disease insurance will cost you more if you have poor health, and in some cases you may not be offered comprehensive cover and only cover for accidental death benefits, which is why it is always a good idea to get your insurance cover when you are young and healthy

Stay healthy to stay wealthy

To help you achieve long-lasting good health – and wealth – you should follow a healthy lifestyle and have regular health checks. Following a healthy lifestyle includes:

  • Eating a diet that includes vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains and healthy fats
  • Ensuring you get regular physical activity of at least 30 minutes a day
  • Maintaining a healthy body weight. You can work out your healthy weight range using a body mass index (BMI) calculator.
  • Not smoking

You can read more about what health checks to have and when in this blog, or chat to your GP for guidance and advice to help you stay healthy.

Be the best you

Even if you’re in good health now, with the rising incidences of chronic conditions it pays to know how much ill health can cost you! Staying healthy for as long as you can is definitely a cheaper and preferable option. The next best option is to make sure you diagnose any health conditions early so you can manage and treat your illness! Take action and visit your GP or local clinic when you feel something is wrong, and you can find ways to stay healthy for longer, giving you more time for family, more time for fun, and more money!

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