Staying In The Pink Of Health And Wealth
We work hard to earn money and enjoy life at its best. But to work, we need to be healthy.
If you have been earning, investing and doing all you can to accumulate wealth so that you can retire early, it is important that you stay healthy to enjoy the fruits of your labour.
Poor health will force you to spend your money on hospital bills and medication which may drain your savings and retirement fund.
The hidden costs of falling ill
Apart from the physical and emotional toll it takes when you are sick, there are also significant financial risks that come with battling an illness, more so if it’s something critical like cancer. Falling sick is expensive. The medical care required to combat illness is only one part of the financial impact. There are also many unforeseen costs that can add up quickly, including:
1. Loss of income
Treatment for critical illnesses can be disabling and time-consuming because recovery time can drag on, while some treatments such as chemotherapy/radiotherapy recur over a long period. During this time, many patients may have to leave their employment, or may even need a full-time caregiver.
In such situations, many find themselves scrambling financially as the months go by, and dual-income families would have to make do with one income, indefinitely.
This can turn into a financial strain as there would be other financial commitments such as a home loan, car loan and/or school fees to take care of. This would mean dipping into their savings (if any) or tapping into credit lines to cover these fixed monthly expenses. Some might even consider letting go of some of their assets such as selling off their car or house at less than favourable prices.
Being diagnosed with a critical illness or a long-term illness can be debilitating. The patient undergoing treatment would require extra care. More often than not, it is financially impractical for a family member to quit his/her job to take care of a cancer patient.
Therefore, hiring a domestic helper or even a trained, professional nurse would be essential to help them with their daily activities or accompany the patient for medical appointments.
For domestic helpers, the initial costs can amount to RM12,000 with additional monthly costs of RM1,000. Private nursing costs can vary depending on the level of needs of the patient. It can come up to RM5,000 per month for those that need constant medical attention.
3. Alternative treatments
It is common for some patients to take up complementary traditional or alternative therapies or treatment to help with recuperation and overall wellness. These therapies and treatments include traditional massages, acupuncture, and also psychological counselling, energy-boosting supplements, physiotherapy, or alternative medications. This again can add up to a significant amount.
These costs may not be covered by your medical insurance. Therefore, being aware of the potential hidden costs early in the treatment process is the first step to taking control of the situation. A diagnosis of a critical illness is scary enough. Being prepared financially will alleviate some of the monetary pressures that come with the diagnosis.
- According to the Asean Costs in Oncology (Action) Study, around 51% of cancer patients will be pushed into economic hardship just a year after diagnosis.
- Around 35% of patients face difficulties in paying for consultation fees, 22% default on rent and mortgages and worse, 19% of them halt their treatments due to financial issues.
- In addition, many patients who have undergone major surgeries due to critical illness often opt out of work to stay at home and focus on recovery.
- For instance, chemotherapy lowers the immune system of cancer patients making them vulnerable to infections. Hence, they require up to nine months of recovery. This means nine months out of work!
- According to The Heart Foundation of Malaysia, heart attack patients will only be ready to return to work after three months of recovery. A group of researchers found out that only 66.1% of heart attack patients are willing to return to work. The remaining 9% opt-out of work, leaving behind their steady income source.
4. Follow-up treatments after recovery
From consultation and follow-up tests to long-term medications, expenses can add up faster than you expect. More so if you have been diagnosed with critical illnesses such as cancer, heart attack and stroke.
For instance, medication for cancer patients goes up to RM150-RM250 for a month’s supply of 30 tablets.
Safeguard your wealth against health emergencies
A fool-proof way to protect your hard-earned wealth against health emergencies is by choosing the best insurance plan for you and your family.
While your company’s medical insurance and your own personal medical plan will cover your surgery and hospitalisation, you will have to manage the post-treatment recovery on your own.
- Getting a medical or critical illness plan and life insurance will protect you and your family from financial crisis in worst-case scenarios.
- Critical illness insurance pays a lump sum amount that you can use for your follow-up consultations, transportation costs to and from hospital as well as for equipment such as a wheelchair or walking stick.
- Meanwhile, life insurance can help your family members to sustain themselves during difficult times.
Embrace your health right now
A survey done by RAND Europe revealed that 64% of the Malaysian workforce are physically inactive, don’t eat a balanced diet, and 53% are stressed. Malaysians are also working longer hours than Australians, Singaporeans and Hongkongers.
An unhealthy lifestyle will lead to higher chances of critical illness in the long run and consequently, affect your earning capability.
Fortunately, this app can help you take charge of your health.
Assess your health
Assess your health to make the necessary changes to your lifestyle and eating habits. Via Pulse’s Health Assessment feature, all you have to do is answer a series of questions related to your lifestyle, mental health and body. This will generate your Digital Twin that provides a detailed insight into your body.
Check your symptoms
If you find something to be different with your body at any time of the day, act immediately using the Symptom Checker feature. All you need to do is key in your symptoms and answer several questions. The AI-powered chatbot will analyse your condition and tell you what’s wrong.
Talk to your doctor
In case you have nagging worries about your health, you can use Pulse’s Online Consultation feature to talk to a doctor within a few minutes through a video or phone call. All these can be done in the comfort of your own space and with minimal fees (Free for Prudential customers, RM10 for non-Prudential customers).
Get physically active
Start with taking the stairs instead of the lift or taking short walk breaks during work. If you need an extra push, Pulse’s Fitness Tracker feature will motivate you to take a few hundred more steps!
Better health leads to more wealth! Get healthy with Pulse now.