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Critical illness – the heart of the matter

Critical Illness

Critical Illness

It’s a testament to modern medicine that a whopping 70% of people in the UK who suffer a heart attack now live to tell the tale. Of course this is an encouraging statistic and many go on to find a new lease of life after the initial trauma. And it’s precisely this that makes critical illness insurance more vital than ever.

After living through a heart attack, many people’s lives are irrevocably changed, so it’s hard to overestimate the reassurance of knowing that financial support is at hand. It can ensure that mortgage payments are covered if you’re not well enough to return to work, provide money for childcare and potentially give you a lump sum to live off while you’re unwell.

Cover for heart problems is the cornerstone of a critical illness policy

More statistics from the British Heart Foundation show that every three minutes someone has to visit a hospital due to a heart attack, and over half a million people alive in the UK today have been diagnosed with heart failure. Couple this with the fact that over a quarter of all deaths in the UK are due to heart and circulatory diseases and you start to see just how prolific heart problems are.

There is no denying that these facts are frightening, but the survival rates I mentioned above and the help provided by critical illness cover offer much more encouragement. Heart problems can make up a quarter of all the claims that some providers pay out for on critical illness policies.

Cover for the family too

For parents, it’s not just their own health that could impact their ability to work and earn income. Statistics from the British Heart Foundation show that 12 babies are diagnosed with a heart defect every day. Of those babies, 8 out of 10 will survive to adulthood, which is obviously wonderful news but the treatment may require parents to take extra time out to care for their child.

Once again, this can put a strain on finances and the best type of critical illness product will also cover the policy holder’s children, reducing the need for parents to choose between providing for their family financially or being there physically to care for a child.

Support is about more than just money

Although so far, I have only touched on the physical aspects associated with having a heart problem, they can massively impact on someone’s mental health too.  Providers (ourselves included) have teamed up with support services such as RedArc. These types of services can come as standard as part of a comprehensive package and can provide practical advice and therapies to help with recovery and also emotional support and counselling to heal any mental scars.

In the case of Old Mutual Wealth, we also support the fantastic Wessex Heartbeat charity, who provide Heartbeat House; a place for the relatives of heart attack sufferers to stay if they have to travel long distances to visit them in hospital.

Cover that goes beyond a claim

Finally, I want to mention the cover reinstatement option. Good policies offer the chance to buy further cover even after a claim, and without the need for further medical questions – a valuable reassurance that support will still be there to alleviate at least some of the concern about suffering a further attack.

Ultimately, the main benefit of a critical illness policy for someone with a heart problem is some financial breathing space. This can then help them concentrate on recovery and hopefully end up being part of the 70% of people who survive a heart attack and find that new lease of life.

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