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Good health and wellbeing are arguably among the most important things in the world. All of us hope for a life of good physical and mental health for ourselves, friends and family.
That’s why finding yourself or a loved one diagnosed with an illness can be a distressing, mentally draining and physically exhausting time. The temporary uncertainty and the inevitable worrying mean that improving one’s health becomes the number one priority.
As the infographics below demonstrate, every day people throughout the UK are affected by illnesses such as arthritis, cancer and coronary heart disease. And the unfortunate reality is that people, and their immediate family, with illnesses may experience financial challenges along the way.
It’s a common misconception that arthritis only affects the elderly. Of the 10 million people who are currently living with arthritis in the UK – 27,000 of these are under the age of 25. For many sufferers, arthritis causes joint discomfort, stiffness, reduced mobility and fatigue.
Arthritis can have various cost implications – these include things like having to foot the medical bills, purchasing mobility aids, or hiring additional help for household chores. Research has also found that within two years of the onset of rheumatoid arthritis (the second most common form of the condition in the UK), 1 in 3 people will stop work – which can add to the financial strain.
There are many treatments which can help to alleviate the condition – for example joint injections which was the number one health insurance claim submitted by our members at AXA PPP healthcare in 2014.
In 2014 alone, we paid out a total of £11 million for joint injections and £1 million for steroid injections.
In the UK today, 2.5 million people have received a cancer diagnosis. Cancer is a group of more than 200 unique diseases. However, breast, lung, bowel and prostate cancer together account for almost half of all cancer deaths in the UK.
Being diagnosed with cancer can be costly in more ways than one. It can take its toll on your health and relationships – as well as your wallet.
Research has shown that 33% of people living with cancer have to stop working either temporarily or permanently. This financial burden can be further validated by Macmillan’s research which finds that 83% of people with cancer are on average £570 worse off each month.
Household income can therefore often be reduced whilst expenditure can radically increase – at a time when financial comfort is needed most.
With medical technology advancing continually, there are now many effective ways to identify and treat some forms of cancer. Colonoscopy and sigmoidoscopy for example are exams used to look for polyps and colon cancer (which is the second most common cause of cancer death in the UK). Hysteroscopy is another common procedure which is used to identify uterine or cervical cancer which is the 12th most common cancer among females in the UK.
In 2014, we paid out over of £12 million for colonoscopy procedures, over £2 million for sigmoidoscopy procedures and more than £3 million for hysteroscopy procedures.
Coronary Heart Disease can be caused by a wide variety of factors including hereditary, raised cholesterol, smoking, hypertension, diabetes and obesity.
Coronary Heart Disease is the leading cause of death in the UK. There are currently 2.3 million people living with the disease in the UK alone.
The disease is responsible for more than 73,000 deaths in the UK each year – with the death rates typically being highest in Scotland and the north of England.
The financial costs of coronary heart disease are largely indirect costs for example lost productivity and income – though many people may be able to return to work a few months after heart surgery.
In 2014, we paid out over £4 million for coronary angioplasty procedures which are carried out in order to widen narrowed coronary arteries. We also paid out more than £3 million in 2014 for coronary artery bypass grafts (CABGs). The CABG procedure is used in treating coronary heart disease, improving blood flow and oxygen supply to the heart.
A staggering 2.5 million people over the age of 65 have some form of visual impairment caused by cataracts.
Cataracts are cloudy patches that develop in the lens of your eye. This can cause blurred vision which may affect some of your day-to-day activities.
Studies have found that more than 42% of people over the age of 75 in the UK will develop cataracts. Fortunately, cataracts can be treated with cataract surgery which is a very common operation performed in the UK. The surgery takes about 30 minutes and patients can usually go home on the same day.
In 2014, we paid out over £10 million for cataract surgery – a procedure used to treat the clouding of the lens of your eye.
In 2014 alone, we paid out over £760 million for more than 360,000 of our members receiving treatment in the UK. We approved 92% of enquiries for treatment and we paid 90% of the value of all the medical bills we were sent.
To find out more about what is and isn’t covered in our personal health plans, please visit our private healthcare pages.
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In 2015, we paid over £934m in claims for our members in the UK. We are committed to helping you get the right level of cover and making clear what’s not covered.
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