Closing the Protection Gap with Affordable Cancer-specific Insurance
In South Africa, 1 in 8 women and 1 in 6 men will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. In a study by the WEF, 61% of people indicate that they are, or have been, affected by cancer through personal experience or through knowing someone who has, or has had the disease.¹
The domino impact of this insidious disease extends well beyond the medical treatment costs. It impacts every aspect of life – from your ability to work and earn an income, to performing seemingly simple tasks of daily living that we often take for granted, to an increase in living expenses due to the necessary lifestyle changes that the aggressive and debilitating treatment brings about. Add in the emotional and psychological stress for both the cancer patient and family, and it is very clear why a cancer diagnosis is such a universal fear and impacts every facet of your life.
“When you weigh up both the obvious and hidden costs of dealing with a cancer diagnosis, many people find that they are financially unprepared and underinsured for the full ramifications of this illness, both in the short- and long-term. Most only discover the extent of the financial crisis that cancer brings about at the point of impact,” explains Brad Toerin, a director and co-founder of Aynjil Cancer Insurance which provides absolute certainty in the time of a cancer-related health crisis.
“Private medical scheme membership and critical illness insurance, while invaluable, are not always the complete solution that one expects. Depending on what medical scheme benefit you are on, shortfalls and co-payments on cancer diagnostic tests and treatment do occur, which you may have to fund upfront from our own pocket. Certain medical schemes also only fund biological treatments partially, if at all. Many critical illness policies provide broad-based critical illness benefits that are not perfectly suited to cancer – for example some will only pay out a percentage of the insured sum according to the stage and type of cancer, while some do not pay out for early stage (1&2) cancer at all – which may mean less cover than you expected and outright gaps in your insurance protection. Another crucial consideration is the fact that tough economic times are also driving a ‘buy-down’ trend in medical scheme benefits and life cover across the board, which means a commensurate decrease in the benefits and limits that you are covered for, and an increase in the uninsured risks you could face. The financial challenges of surviving a cancer diagnosis also extend well into the long-term,” explains Toerien.
“Having to draw on your savings now to fund any costs and loss of income may mean less or no money going towards your retirement savings – which means you may have to work longer to make up the shortfall or downgrade your standard of living during retirement. It may mean dipping into education funds meant for your child’s future studies, and the loss of income while you are unable to work may mean that you fall behind on major debts such as bond and car repayments – all of which impact your financial situation and security in future. For younger people in their 20s and 30s, a cancer diagnosis and treatment my very well interrupt their education and career progression which has a significant impact on earning potential. If you are supporting a family through all of this, the stress and strain is not only enormously amplified, but also materially and emotionally impacts every family member,” he adds.
Millions of South Africans have no financial safety net for a health crisis like cancer
In a study conducted by the Financial Services Conduct Authority in 2019, only 12% of the population have any form of life cover, and that figure is expected to be significantly lower now following the economic impact of the pandemic and depressed household income. The reality is that millions of South Africans have no safety net whatsoever when it comes to a health crisis like cancer.
For people with other existing non-cancer-related conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease – broad-based critical illness cover can be prohibitively expensive due to premium loadings and exclusions on cover. In many instances, such people will forgo any form of critical illness cover as the high costs are simply untenable, and seemingly do not justify the perceived limited benefits.
It is this glaring protection gap on one of the most prevalent critical illnesses that Aynjil Cancer Insurance steps in to solve. It is available direct or through your insurance broker.
“Aynjil cancer cover is similar to critical illness cover, however it is more specialised and solely focused on cancer. This means we’re able to offer a lower monthly premium as we remove the costs that come with insuring a much broader range of critical illnesses. It also means that the benefits and terms are clear, very simple and 100% relatable to a cancer diagnosis. As a policy holder, you insure yourself for a fixed amount between R500 000 and R2 million – and the policy pays out the full amount that you are insured for upon a confirmed cancer diagnosis, regardless of stage or type of cancer. There is no medical underwriting required. The only condition of cover is that you do not have, or have had, cancer, or have two immediate family members who had cancer under the age of 60. The cancer cover also includes specific cancer-related benefits not found in other broad-form critical illness policies,” explains Toerien.
Why get cancer-specific insurance?
The impact of cancer on virtually every facet of your life and that of your family is unlike any other disease, and it is alarmingly prevalent in our modern lifestyles:
- The treatment is often worse than the illness itself – it can be sporadic, debilitating and often prolonged – with cancer treatment typically lasting 6-12 months. During this time, you may be unable to work and earn an income and face significant out-of-pocket and additional expenses. The lump sum payment from your Aynjil cancer cover will go a long way in relieving this financial distress so you can focus all your efforts and energy on your treatment and recovery during a time of tremendous uncertainty.
- Cancer affects the whole family – you may find yourself unable to fulfil household and parental responsibilities, spouses/partners may have to take time off work and you may have to hire additional child or nursing care to assist you. Aynjil’s cancer-specific benefits includes cover for counselling, a chauffer to assist you with travel to and from treatments, as well as tutor and au pair services to help lighten the load of parental responsibilities.
- The psychological and financial distress of a cancer diagnosis can be profound – with extended periods of high stress and uncertainty, conflicting diagnoses and debilitating treatment regimes that often bring additional and unexpected side effects, and extra treatment costs. Aynjil pays an additional 10% of the main benefit value for a specialised precision genetic test and treatment plan, an additional 10% of the main benefit value to cover breast reconstruction surgery and an extra 10% of the main benefit value should one of your children be diagnosed with cancer.
- Get a Medical Second Opinion – Aynjil provides for a Medical Second Opinion service that could change your diagnosis, your treatment plan and improve your health outcomes. You receive professional, clinical case management to help to keep costs down as well as direct access to the world’s best medical minds and treatment facilities. The MSO service is also available to your family members.
- There is a high chance of relapse – which also means prolonged financial and emotional distress. Aynjil cancer cover continues for the rest of your life after your cancer diagnosis. Should the same cancer return, it pays out a relapse benefit at a further 25% of the main benefit value. With reinstatement, you can claim the full insured amount on a second, unrelated cancer.
- Palliative Care – a trained care partner will take time to understand your unique situation – your support system, medical journey so far, challenges, needs and the worries you face daily, including treatments, side effects, stress, and financial concerns. The Advanced Care benefit will guide you in documenting your preferences for end-of-life care and nominating a healthcare proxy (someone who can legally make healthcare decisions on your behalf if you can’t). Much like a will, this is an important plan to set up regardless of your state of health.
Aynjil Cancer Insurance is a specialised solution that complements your existing financial and healthcare planning, providing the absolute peace of mind that should you ever experience a cancer-related health crisis, the only thing you will need to focus on is your treatment and recovery.
- WEF. World Cancer Day: Here’s how perceptions about the disease differ around the world. Available from: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/02/world-cancer-day-perception-survey-attitudes-health/ (Accessed August 2022).