Getting the right cover
Scottie and his adviser had been friends since 1999, before Scottie was married or had kids. She encouraged him to take up life insurance.“I initially questioned the need, but my adviser explained that as you get older, insurance is harder to obtain. She was instrumental in organising my cover.”With the help of his adviser, Scottie arranged Life, Critical Illness,Total and Permanent Disability, and Income Protection cover.As his budget changed, Scottie let some of this insurance lapse. With his wife and young daughter in mind, his adviser urged him to realign his cover with his growing family. She restructured Scottie’s Income Protection through superannuation to help meet his budget, ensuring he could maintain insurance to cover his liabilities and any costs incurred through injury or illness, limiting the potential financial burden on his wife.
A life-changing moment
Concerned by some symptoms he was experiencing, Scottie made an appointment with his doctor. “Initially, it was just a routine colonoscopy and then they found a cancerous tumour. My doctor said that it would be life changing – he was right about that.” For Scottie, who was young, fit and taking care of his health, the diagnosis was a shock. “I was eating well, doing martial arts and Cross Fit. I thought I wasn’t a candidate for cancer.’” As well as the pressures of his illness, Scottie was suddenly faced with a range of expenses and no income to cover them. His health insurance paid for some of treatment, but much of it had to be paid up front and then claimed back. And, living in country NSW, there were costs for fuel and accommodation with each trip to Sydney for treatment.
“Standard hospital cover pays for a lot, but only while you’re admitted. You need to pay to see the oncologist, which is $180 to $200 every time. Radiation alone cost $17,000 up front and I’d say there was over $30,000 in other medical expenses. I had to take seven chemo pills a day: each little box of those is $1,000.”
The value of advice
When Scottie told his adviser he had cancer, she confirmed his insurance policies were sufficient to see him and his family through treatment and recovery. While he was undergoing radio- and chemotherapy prior to surgery, Scottie’s adviser managed the claims process with a dedicated Case Manager at Insurance Company X, keeping him informed but letting him focus fully on his health.
“You have to fight the illness hard. It’s like getting into the ring and part of that is contending with financial worry. Insurance Company X removed the stress of that so I could focus on fighting.”
Scottie’s Case Manager supported him and his adviser through the process and ensured his claim was approved as quickly as possible. Within 48 hours of approval, Scottie’s Income Protection benefit payment was released. His Critical Illness claim was paid the week before he was scheduled for surgery.
Looking a head
Scottie underwent surgery and, after another round of chemo, was given the all clear.
“We caught it in the nick of time; the cancer hadn’t gotten into my lymph system, but it was almost there. “I’m confident that I’ll be fine, but you count your blessings. I had major surgery, a long recovery and much of my lower bowel removed. Not quite what I had planned.” Having access to his claims payment meant Scottie didn’t have to wait for treatment. He was able to get the treatment he needed immediately. And he believes this should be a warning to those without insurance. “People don’t understand that once you’ve already had a condition, it has a huge bearing on your ability to apply for cover. You need to get it when you’re young and healthy, so you’re protected for life.
“You might think getting insurance is too much effort, but it’s really not difficult. Yes, there are some forms. And I was really busy at the time, but a nurse actually came to my house to do the initial medical. And it’s always a good idea to get checked out. The benefit return makes it an absolute no-brainer.” Scottie later claimed on his Income Protection cover with Insurance Company X, giving him peace of mind during his recovery and letting him take a holiday with his family.
Original story published by TAL Services Limited which can be found here
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