World Hypertension Day: looking at financial strain of chronic diseases, importance of health screenings

Conditions like hypertension or diabetes affects not just our health but also our wallets. l COTTONBRO STUDIO/PEXELS

Conditions like hypertension or diabetes affects not just our health but also our wallets. l COTTONBRO STUDIO/PEXELS

Published May 17, 2024


We often hear about lifestyle changes to stay healthy and reduce the chances of getting diseases like obesity, hypertension and diabetes.

However, we rarely consider the financial impact of these diseases. Being diagnosed can affect our finances, including medical aid, life insurance, and gap cover.

To mark World Hypertension Day on May 17, Independent Media Lifestyle spoke to Dr Avron Urison, chief medical officer at 1Life Insurance, to discuss the financial risks linked to your health.

“World Hypertension Day is a critical time to discuss the importance of taking control of our health. This is not just about adding years to our life, but more importantly, adding life to those years, which means enhancing our health span – the period of life we enjoy in good health.”

Managing our health starts with regular health screenings. These tests are crucial, because they catch potential issues like hypertension early.

When we are diagnosed with a condition like hypertension or diabetes, it affects not just our health but also our wallet. l PIXABAY

Detecting problems early means we can address them before they become serious, reducing the impact of diseases and helping us maintain our quality of life.

However, what is often overlooked is the financial impact of these diseases. When we are diagnosed with a condition like hypertension or diabetes, it affects not just our health but also our wallet.

Medical aid costs

Being diagnosed with a chronic disease usually means frequent visits to the doctor, medications, and sometimes hospital visits. All of this adds up.

While medical aid can help cover some costs, the added expenses often mean higher premiums. If you do not have comprehensive coverage, you might find yourself paying out-of-pocket for some treatments, which can be a financial strain.

Life insurance rates are also affected by health conditions. When applying for life insurance, insurers evaluate your health. If you have been diagnosed with a condition, they might see you as a higher risk, leading to higher premiums.

Even if you have medical aid, it might not cover all medical expenses.

Urison emphasises that being honest about your health when getting an insurance policy is crucial. Your health journey directly affects how your insurance works.

By taking care of your health proactively, you can benefit from lower insurance premiums because you present a lower risk to insurers. This proactive approach also makes the claims process smoother and more transparent.

Early health screenings and taking out insurance early in life offer additional advantages. When you get insurance at a younger age, you are usually healthier, posing a lower risk to insurers.

This translates into lower premiums and better terms for your policy. Essentially, the younger and healthier you are, the more economical your insurance costs will be over time.

Getting insurance early ensures you are covered before any health issues arise. Many insurance policies have exclusions for pre-existing conditions, so securing coverage before any diseases set in means you are more likely to be fully covered.

This early coverage provides peace of mind, knowing you are financially protected.

Being transparent about your health history is more than just a formality. It's a crucial part of your insurance policy. When you fully disclose your medical details, the insurance company can assess your situation accurately.

This ensures that you receive coverage tailored to your needs, reflecting your personal circumstances.

Providing complete and honest information allows the insurer to calculate your premiums based on an accurate risk assessment. This results in fair premiums that match your specific health profile.

In case you need to make a claim, having disclosed all medical details from the start ensures a smooth process. Transparency helps avoid delays and disputes, leading to a quicker and more straightforward claims resolution when you need support the most.

However, giving false or incomplete medical history can have serious financial risks. If it emerges that a policyholder has withheld information or provided false details, the consequences can be severe. Such actions can lead to the denial of a claim.

Urison said that beyond claim denial, insurers might also cancel your policy entirely.

On this World Hypertension Day, let’s remember the power we have to influence our own health outcomes. It's not just about avoiding illness but about thriving. Being honest with your health history is a vital step in that direction.

“Every small step we take towards managing our health can lead to significant benefits, both medically and financially. Take these steps together towards a healthier more vibrant life!” he said.