Exploring the financial burden of critical illness Trauma or ‘critical illness’ cover was originally developed in South Africa in the early 1980s by the late Dr Marius Barnard, a doctor who observed that while advances in medical science and treatments were helping an increasing number of his patients survive a serious illness, they were often left unable to cope financially.
Australia’s ageing population means we’re facing an increasing economic burden of chronic diseases associated with factors such as increased healthcare costs and lost workforce productivity.
This burden is especially relevant for diseases that are relatively more common across the Australian population, including cancers and heart disease, which are also among the leading causes of trauma insurance claims.
Some recent Australian research on the financial burden of critical illness:
Heart disease: according to a 2009 analysis by Access Economics, every heart attack resulted* in $25,000 (on average) in direct healthcare costs, and $281,000 in total costs.
Stroke: another Access Economics analysis in 2013 found that every stroke resulted** in $18,000 (on average) in direct healthcare costs, and $100,000 in total costs.
Breast cancer: in 2015, a survey by the Breast Cancer Network Australia reported^ average out-of-pocket treatment costs of $687 a month for women with secondary breast cancer. The costs were higher for women treated in the private health system at an average of $817 a month, compared with $531 a month for women treated in the public health system.
Prostate cancer: a 2015 study by Griffith University found4 that 75 per cent of men with prostate cancer had paid up to $17,000 for their cancer treatment in 2012. The researchers also reported that 20 per cent of all surveyed men found the cost of their cancer treatment had caused them ‘a great deal’ of distress.
Also, men who were in paid employment at the time of diagnosis said they had retired 4 to 5 years earlier (on average) than they had originally intended. In context of this research, it’s not surprising that advisers and customers continue to see value in incorporating trauma insurance cover into a holistic risk protection plan.
Sources: *. Access Economics (2009). The economic costs of heart attack and chest pain (Acute Coronary Syndrome). Canberra: Access Economics. **. Access Economics (2013). The economic impact of stroke in Australia. Canberra: Access Economics. ^. Spence D., Morstyn L., & Wells, K. (2015). The support and information needs of women with secondary breast cancer. Breast Cancer Network Australia. 4. Gordon G.L., Walker S.M., Mervin M.C., et al. (2017). Financial toxicity: a potential side effect of prostate cancer treatment among Australian men. European Journal of Cancer Care. Epub 2015 Oct 1. This information was prepared by The Colonial Mutual Life Assurance Society Limited 2017.
To help you determine your need for Trauma Insurance to help protect you and your family, speak to one of our brokers who can consider a range of different insurers for you.