October, critical illness insurance awareness month

Critical Illness Insurance

In this month of October, allow us to introduce the Dr. saving thousands of patients using insurance.

Have you heard of him? The heart surgeon that everyone is talking about? The one who saved the cardiac (and financial!) health of many patients?

Of course not. Who becomes a star by saving lives and creating a revolutionary product that helps the financial health of thousands of people, these days?

Cynicism aside, his name is Dr. Marius Barnard. He deserves that we bring awareness to his significant contribution to society. His success as a heart surgeon (he participated in the first heart transplant in December 1967) earned him people’s attention. Remarkably, because he was so connected to his patients he noticed a difference between those who carried a financial burden and those who did not. Indeed, those who had little or no financial stress healed much faster.

Marius really had people’s well-being at heart, so much so he asked insurers to create a new product, critical illness insurance, that’s still winning the hearts of more and more families since its inception in 1983.

Marius Barnard

More relevant today than in 1983?

His critical illness insurance coverage is obviously still relevant today when we know that 64% of people have exhausted their savings within one year of being diagnosed with a serious illness… even while receiving disability insurance benefits.

The goal today is to avoid patients having to spend their precious savings, sacrificing life projects and retirement to deal with unfortunate and unexpected events.

With advances in medicine and hyper specialisation, medical tourism is certainly a trend that will grow. Yes, it may be that your miraculous treatment is far away from home!

Critical illness insurance can also provide you with breathing room, enabling repayment of debt and fees that can add up and end up having an impact on family finances. For example, hospital parking, the missing salary of a life partner or caregiver, special treatments and drugs not covered by health insurance.

Giving yourself time to heal

Money is not medicine in itself, but the lack of financial worries help focus 100% on speedy recovery.

Unlike life insurance products that are used to leave an inheritance or pay back debt upon death, critical illness products allow the insured to enjoy an amount of money during their lifetime, saving them from financial hardship triggered by illness.

Example :

Let’s take the example of a businessman who had bought a critical illness insurance policy. A few years later, he was struck by a heart condition. His insurance policy allowed him to hire staff and take a year off to get back on his feet. A financial decision that has allowed him to pursue his professional activities with peace of mind and to devote himself to a healthy recovery.

If you are the superstitious type

If you think taking out critical illness insurance is inherently a curse upon yourself, be aware that there is a concept called: the return of premiums!

The return of premiums (return of all money paid towards the insurance policy) is a concept that allows you to pay for critical illness insurance and recover all the money paid over the years.

Example :

Philip, a 27 year old man, purchases critical illness insurance of $50,000 to cover for 25 different illnesses and chooses to apply for return of premiums in 20 years. He pays $48.47 per month and can recover all the premiums paid unlike if he had bought the same insurance of $50,000 for 25 illnesses at $36.68 per month, but no return of premiums. The monthly difference of $11.79 will be recovered too!

Short history of Dr. Barnard

  • November 3, 1927 Birth
  • December 3, 1967 Dr. Barnard’s involvement in the first heart transplant
  • August 6, 1983 Launch of the first critical illness insurance product
  • November 14, 2014 Death

1 Source : Study conducted with consumers by Head Research at the request of Great-West, London Life and Canada Life : Critical illness insurance – Thought leadership research – A summary of findings – September 14, 2015.