Cancer is especially a costly critical illness to combat. The ASEAN Costs in Oncology (ACTION) study by Sydney-based George Institute for Global Health found that 51% of Malaysian cancer patients suffer from “financial catastrophe” (where medical costs exceed 30% of household income) a year after they were diagnosed due to high cost of treatment and medical spending2. The timeline to complete recovery is lengthier compared to other illnesses, and the patient (or their family) would need to have sufficient finances to tide them not just through the course of their treatment but any existing financial obligations such as mortgages, bills and living expenses.
Meanwhile, lesser life threatening illnesses like end-stage kidney failure, for which there is no current cure, require long-term dialysis treatment. This reportedly costs Malaysian taxpayers and individuals involved more than RM700mil a year!
Do I really need it right now?
It is common to think, especially in the prime of one’s life, that you have time on your side and you do not need a critical illness cover. However, critical illnesses do not differentiate between age or gender. Certain behaviours, such as a smoking habit or a sedentary lifestyle are high risk factors for critical illnesses. Closer to home, cases of kidney failure stemming from diabetes is one of the fastest growing among Malaysians. Injuries from incidents and accidents like major head trauma or third degree burns are unpredictable consequences of unexpected events, and require extensive (and possibly costly) medical care.
Having a sound financial plan in place before the unexpected happens is equivalent to having more choices for treatment and recovery. The choice to take time off from work to focus on a complete recovery. The ability to choose quality healthcare. The privilege to spend time with your loved ones instead of thinking about where the payment for the treatment would come from.