World Alzheimer's Day – What can insurance cover?

On the 21st of September each year, we observe World Alzheimer's Day to encourage people to talk and share about the illness. Alzheimer's is a progressive disease that destroys memory and other essential cognitive functions and is the most common form of dementia.

Whether you have a close family member, friend, or caring for someone who has the disease, or if you – yourself – have recently been diagnosed, education is the most important weapon in your arsenal to combat Alzheimer's.

Consider the implications

All too often, the importance of Alzheimer's education is dismissed: "It's not going to happen to me….It won't change the diagnosis… I'd rather not know what's going to happen…"

Nothing could be further from the truth. Arming yourself with as much information as you can about Alzheimer's can significantly impact your quality of life as a caregiver or as one who has the disease. Therefore, in honour of World Alzheimer's Day, we'd like to discuss this disease from an insurance perspective, that is, from our area of expertise.

Factoring in the costs

People are often surprised by the sheer cost of care and support. Due to escalating costs of care and medication, Alzheimer's poses a significant threat to bankrupting families.

Moreover, the disease may progress to such an extent that families need to employ a full-time carer, which could cost between R7 000 to R9 000 per month. Individuals may also have to be admitted to an assisted nursing care facility for their safety and quality of life, costing at least R20 000 per month!

No magic cure

Some individuals may even avoid seeking treatment as they do not wish to incur these staggering expenses or cannot afford them altogether. The medications required to treat Alzheimer's can also add up.

While there is currently no "magic tablet" to cure this disease, there are medications that can make a significant difference in the early stages of dementia. For more severe cases of Alzheimer's, medications are prescribed to control symptoms, such as personality changes through mood stabilisers.

This is where insurance really comes in to assist in alleviating the financial burden that comes with caring for someone who has Alzheimer's, thereby removing the accompanying stress and enabling family, friends and carers to focus on their loved one's well being.

PBA is here to help

If covered sufficiently, individuals with Alzheimer's and their families can receive huge benefits from their insurance. Firstly, medical aid can help cover hospital bills for treatment and specialists for follow up consultations if the policyholder has a savings account.

In addition, an individual's long-term insurance can take a substantial chunk out of care and support costs.

Suppose the individual is no longer capable of working on their own or any occupation for which they are suited by training, education, or experience due to the progression of the disease.

In that case, with one of PBA’s preferred service providers, they can claim on income protection benefits, which pays out the policyholder's monthly income, and disability benefits, which pays out a lump sum.

A positive way forward

Additionally, the same preferred service provider will pay 100% of the dread disease sum assured on diagnosis. These pay-outs will depend on the cover initially taken out and the terms and conditions of the individual policy.

Finally, it is also important to note that if the disease of a policyholder progresses to such an extent that they can no longer make executive decisions for themselves, then a curator bonis needs to be appointed before an insurance company can process a claim.

This means that the court appoints a legal representative to manage the finances and estate of another person who can no longer do so themselves.

It is of the utmost importance to equip ourselves with information about Alzheimer's

especially since we can slow the onset and progression of the disease as well as prepare ourselves if an individual progresses into a more severe stage of Alzheimer's.

To find more about your policy with regards to Alzheimer's, contact a PBA financial advisor.

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