Critical illnesses cost the UK economy more than £15 billion a year, and some of those affected still suffer significant long-term consequences even after they’ve returned to work, according to new research.
Legal & General’s Cost of Critical Illness report shows that cancer, strokes, Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and coronary heart disease are the four most prevalent critical illnesses in the UK, impacting the economy to the tune of £15.2 billion every year.
In fact, cancer alone places a £9.3 billion burden on the economy each year, with a fifth of that cost coming about as a result of employees continuing to work while being impacted by continuing complications such as fatigue and post-traumatic stress.
Strokes and coronary heart disease were found to have financial impacts of £1.9bn and £2.8bn respectively.
MS has a Disproportionate Impact
Although less prevalent than the other top critical illnesses, MS was found to have a disproportionate impact on the UK workforce compared to the number of people living with the condition, with just 28% of MS sufferers remaining in employment.
Moreover, MS sufferers who do return to work earn up to £8,000 a year less following diagnosis, highlighting that the condition has a much wider impact than just withdrawals from the labour force.
Similarly, the research also found that employees returning to work following a stroke were likely to earn around £7,300 less annually. Cancer, while less devastating in terms of financial loss after returning to work, still attributed to an average UK worker in their 50’s seeing their income slashed by £3,800 a year.
Individuals who are diagnosed with a critical illness often have to take time off work to aid their recovery. This has a direct financial impact due to the person losing their earnings, which in turn adds to the strain already being felt because the household often cannot pay their mortgage and other bills.
Financial Safety Net
Critical Illness Cover provides a financial safety net in the form of a lump sum payment and removes not just the pressure associated with living with a critical illness, but also enables families to maintain their lifestyles and remain in their homes.
At a time when individuals and families should be focusing on recovery, Critical Illness Cover provides the peace of mind that’s needed to facilitate this.
Remember, Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) is only £92.05 a week and you can only claim it for a maximum of 28 weeks if you are too ill to work.
If you are self-employed, or your employer does not provide Critical Illness Cover as part of its benefits package, and your family depends on your income, ensuring you have suitable safeguards in place is crucial.
The findings of this research make for stark reading. Would you and your loved ones be able to survive if you were unable to work for an extended period of time because of a critical illness? If you couldn’t, maybe it’s time you considered Critical Illness Cover.
I joined Premier Choice Group as an SME/Corporate Consultant in 2017 and look after the Healthcare & Protection needs of a nationwide portfolio. I began my career in Healthcare and Protection in 1985 with BUPA, before moving on to Royal & Sun Alliance. In 2002, I became an Intermediary and worked with Private Clients, SME’s and Corporate clients on a local, national and international basis.