We are all covered by so many insurances already – WorkCover, TAC, Health insurance – it’s understandable that people would question the need for further insurance but like many things that are ‘so called free’ there are always limitations, exceptions and restrictions.
I was reading in the Herald Sun about a lady by the name of Kerryn Barnett, a mum of 3 under 11 and how she contracted an infection that has effectively meant her stomach has stopped working. She hasn’t eaten a solid piece of food since Christmas day. Her infection has seen her lose about 15kg so far, and she suffers from severe nausea, vomiting, fatigue, muscle cramping and malnutrition. Doctors don’t know how or where she contracted the infection from but it has left her and her family’s life devastated. She has had to take time off work and has had to make the difficult decision about what treatment she should peruse to try to improve her situation.
Kerryn effectively had two options (1) removal of her entire stomach and a feeding tube inserted directly into her abdomen. This would mean that no food or drink would ever pass her lips ever again, the feeding tube would need to be replaced every 6 months and she’d be prone to infection or (2) have surgery to implant effectively a pacemaker in her stomach to regulate the nerves and muscles in her stomach. She chose option two as it would seem to give her a better quality of life however as the device itself is not on the Department of Health Prostheses List, her health insurance company won’t cover it. As a general rule, health insurance companies only fund surgeries that have been approved by the state Department of Health after extensive clinical trials. With only 22 of these operations been conducted in Australia, with an 80 per cent success rate, her insurance company won’t cover the $33,000 it costs for the device itself.
Kerryn is concerned about her health but most importantly she is concerned about how she is going to fund this cost, and how she will repay it (assuming its borrowed) especially as its unknown if she will be able to work again.
Kerryn was an ordinary mum, enjoying life with her husband, her daughter (11) and twin boys (8) until she caught this infection. Her life has been turned upside down and now is the time that she is finding out about what she is or isn’t covered for with the insurances she has. Some may think this is a rare condition and it won’t happen to me? Well, think about all the rare diseases, infections, and injuries that occur in the world, they add up when you put them together. And they have to happen to someone…..
The clear message from this article is not to rely on any one form of insurance cover to fund life’s bumps. There’s not one insurance that covers you totally for everything and therefore at least a little of all or most covers will ensure that you have a backup plan if something goes wrong along the way.
Just as an example and depending on the wording and policy taken, if Kerryn had income protection, she could have been paid an ongoing amount of funds to replace some of her income while she was unable to work. If she had trauma insurance, this may have provided a lump sum of money to allow her options to cover the medical device, or assist with child care or assist with the household bills or even allow her husband time off work to care for her.
If you want to talk more about insurances including existing covers and limitations such as WorkCover, TAC, health insurance, salary continuance, life cover in super etc, please give JBS a call or drop us an email.