In the latest Medical Journal of Australia a perspective by Stephen Jan, Beverley M Essue and Stephen R Leeder discusses the hidden economic burden of chronic illness and disability on Australian households has been highlighted.
The review found that 11% of bankrupts in 2009 cited ill health or absence of health insurance, in a study of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), 46% of patients experienced an incidence of catastrophic health care spending — defined as out-of-pocket costs exceeding 10% of income for the period studied.
Insurance products for chronic illness and disability
1. Health Insurance – There are two types of health insurance: hospital & general treatment (ancillary or extras). You can buy them separately or most funds offer combined policies. There will be limitations on what and when you can claim with any policy you buy.
2. Trauma Insurance (Critical Illness Insurance) – pays a lump sum on the diagnosis or occurrence of one of a list of specific illnesses such as heart attack, cancer or stroke. That payment gives you choice and flexibility at a time when you need it most. You will be able to reduce your working hours, spend time with your family, get treatment or rehabilitation and pay for a carer and any number of unexpected things.
3. Income Protection Insurance – provides a replacement income of up to 75% of your current income if you are unable to work due to illness or injury. Also known as ‘Income Replacement Insurance’, ‘Disability Income Insurance’ or ‘Salary Continuance Insurance’, it can cover you for short or long periods and offer various waiting periods to suit your needs. Depending on the policy, payments may continue right up to the age of 65 if the disability is ongoing or permanent.
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