18Oct

How cancer burns through everything including your savings

Cancer takes more than lives. It also goes after a hefty amount of your savings.

In just a span of two years, half of all US cancer patients breeze through their funds, accentuating a total of $92,000 in twelve months.

This is all detailed in a new study called “Death or Debt? National Estimates of Financial Toxicity in Persons with Newly-Diagnosed Cancer” which was published this month. According to its findings, these heavy costs are mostly of risk to be shouldered by the elderly and those without insurance, among others.

Killer expenses

In the US, cancer comes second to heart disease as the undisputed title-holder of the most notorious killer.

But unlike heart disease which has a pool of research and funds dedicated to it, the cost of cancer treatment, for any country is financially unfathomable. Annually, 1.6 million new Americans are diagnosed with cancer. From this, 600,000 barely finish treatment and die.

The healthcare system credits to spending $87.8 billion yearly for patients. Specifically, unfinished treatments resulting in death leads to a $130 billion cost.

A huge portion of treatment expenditure still falls on the patient. The American Cancer Society along with the Cancer Action Network reports that as of four years ago, findings revealed that patients still shouldered a total of $4 billion on their end just for seeking cancer treatment.

Crunching beyond the numbers

The core of the study took 9.5 million patients and 16 years to see completion (1998-2014).

Setting aside the statistics, the medical study delineates the kinks that needed to be worked out when it comes to medical budget and productivity.

The journal is an updated study from the same set of authors from five years ago and is published in the American Journal of Medicine. Initially, in the study’s first findings, it revealed that cancer, specifically, breast cancer, accounts for 33 million sick days among the US working citizens annually.

The update to the study echoes a more heartbreaking revelation: half of the cancer-afflicted patients within their study have started and been easily sunk into bankruptcy due to treatment expenses.

This brings a new reality to the table: that the economy pulls a really tensioned string even to cancer patients who struggle with the cost of treatment.

When toxicity seeps to your finances

A big danger lies in the fact that the risk for financial toxicity goes greater with cancer treatment. After years of fluctuation in the economy, one would think that the financial burden on the patients would’ve lessened but has so far remained consistent.

Grant Skrepnek, one of the paper’s writers believes the results were “shocking,” seeing as to how figures have reached higher levels, which he has seen in his 20 years in cancer research.

Despite the advent of immunotherapy, which is pegged as a vital tool for the possible elimination of cancer, Skrepnek believes that it also has downsides, such as its ability to hamper predictions for cancer trends.

Jennifer Singleterry believes otherwise and sees a bigger threat in short-term healthcare plans.

Singleterry, a senior policy analyst from the American Cancer Society is concerned with the coverage of these health care plans, which have a limited coverage and “caps” – which hurts finances as it doesn’t include cancer treatment.

She adds that dependency to these short-term plans will only be harmful to those afflicted will illness, who will be left with even higher insurance premiums.

What this ultimately reveals is another layer of fear added to cancer: first the diagnosis, and now the financial horrors.

Village Insurance Direct helps expats in Hong Kong find critical illness insurance. Contact us for inquiries.

 

30Apr

Singapore or Hong Kong? Where Best to Do Business

Singapore and Hong Kong are two of the best east Asian countries to start establish a business. Hong Kong has taken the lead for the past years but Singapore has been quickly making great strides to compete further.

Companies and brands from the US and UK have had relatively easy entries to both markets. The most common business has to do with building a regional headquarters for a global company as an expansion strategy and amass the Asian market.

HERE ARE HELPFUL INSIGHTS FOR EXPATS WHO ARE CHOOSING BETWEEN HONG KONG AND SINGAPORE TO DO BUSINESS.

As an overview of the two country’s strengths:

  • Singapore has the top destination for maritime trade.
  • Hong Kong is your choice if the objective is to eventually start business in Mainland China.
  • Both have incredibly accessible international airports with hundreds of direct flights from Western regions on a daily basis

LEGAL PROTECTION

It’s a must to have business cover like public liability or product liability insurance. It’s a pre-requisite for any business in Hong Kong and Singapore.

Both countries have strict legal systems with regulations in place to help you with intellectual property rights and dispute resolution departments. However, Singapore wins over Hong Kong in terms of enforcing contracts and property registrations.

GLOBAL RANKINGS

World Bank’s 2017 Ease of Doing Business ranking places SG at #2 and Hong Kong at #5. New Zealand was #1 last year.

In the annual Z/Yen survey of global financial centres Hong Kong beats Singapore but as the entry way to China, Hong Kong is the 3rd most powerful financial hub globally. Singapore is currently in 4th place.

Hong Kong ranks 1st in terms of financial services and financial technology.

The criteria for the rankings above are:

  • infrastructure
  • business environment
  • financial sector development
  • human capital
  • reputation

Business registration can both be done online via website registration.  The headline Singapore tax rate is 17% whereas it’s 16.5% in Hong Kong. There are also many tax exemptions available for both.

In Singapore, one of the directors must be a citizen while Hong Kong allows 100% ownership by expats.

Ready to get started with your new businesses? Get in touch with us for all your business insurance needs.

4Feb

Do I Need Life Insurance After Retirement?

Retirement does not always equate to having financial stability. A few possible circumstances that leaves you in this kind of situation are:

Forced retirement

Failed investments

Providing financial support for an aging family member or children who are still living at home

If you find yourself in debt or  responsible for someone’s well-being, then the short answer to the question is, “YES” you need life insurance even after retirement.

HOW MUCH INSURANCE DO I NEED?

It’s important to evaluate where you stand financially upon retirement. How much are your monthly expenses? Are there federal or state taxes that need to be paid? There are also things like probate costs, administration costs; there might be final debt or a mortgage on house, too. So as long as there is some type of financial exposure, you need life insurance to match up with that.

CAN I STILL GET INSURED AFTER RETIREMENT?

Yes. Of course, premiums will be higher which is why it’s advisable to get life insurance cover as early as your 20s or 30s. The greatest value of life insurance after retirement is that surviving family members or your spouse is left with financial security after the insurance holder’s death.

WHAT OTHER BENEFITS ARE THERE IN GETTING INSURANCE AFTER RETIREMENT?

Other benefits is that you can use the sum to help you pay for medical expenses–this is if you feel that you will no longer need the death benefit. This is called the accelerated death benefit provision. You have the option of choosing permanent life insurance to have money safely tucked away with zero risks.

You may also need to think about getting health insurance since more seniors are prone to health complications–thus more spend on medical needs. Although Hong Kong has a wonderful healthcare system, retirement will most likely lead to more trips to the hospital and getting more prescription drugs to maintain your health.

Ask us about more details on life insurance or health insurance or email us at info@villageinsruancedirect.com.

 

5Dec

Prostate Cancer Information in Hong Kong

Prostate cancer is among the most common cancers affecting men. In Hong Kong, it’s the fifth most common cancer with over 1,600 new cases every year and is the 3rd most common type of cancer among men in Hong Kong.

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The prostate is a gland that’s only found in men. It’s usually the size of a walnut, and is located below the bladder, surrounding the first part of the urethra, which allows urine to pass from the bladder to the penis. The prostate produces semen, a thick white fluid that mixes with the sperm produced by the testes. It also produces a protein called prostate specific antigen (PSA), which turns the semen into liquid. Prostate cancer is generally a slow-growing cancer, typically occurring in men over the age of 50. Research shows that over a third of men over 50 have some cancer cells in the prostate, while almost all men over 80 have some cells. The cause of prostate cancer is unknown, but generally the chance is increased if there is a positive family history; it is also more common in Western men.

SYMPTOMS

The symptoms of prostate cancer include:

  • reduced flow of urine
  • increased frequency in urination
  • uncomforatble urination
  • persistent pain in lower back, hips and thighs
  • in some cases, bloody urine.

EXAMINATION

The diagnosis of prostate cancer may include a digital rectal examination (DRE) by a doctor. Digital here is different to the “digital” in electronic equipment. Apart from DRE, PSA can be tested in blood to detect the presence of prostate cancer. However, PSA alone is not very accurate in diagnosing cancer.

It is important to have one’s self examined once you hit 40. Village Insurance’s best practice for recommending covers for males is to find insurance that also covers diseases such as prostate cancer. Insurance can cover treatment and maintenance for cancer.

We can help find the best global insurance for expats in Hong Kong. Get in touch with us for any inquiries. We’re always quick to revert.

 

14Jul

The Importance of Critical Illness Protection

We never know when the worse can happen. One day we could be living normal loves when suddenly we’re told that we have a critical illness that can possibly take us away from the people we love.

Critical illness insurance is designed to protect you and your family from the impact of illnesses such as cancer, heart attack and stroke, and provide financial security in the face of a crisis. It gives you financial independence when you need it most. You need insurance not only because you are going to die but because you are going to live.

In the Middle East, the average age is 48 for critical illness claimants. One can even get a heart attack as early as 29.

These testimonial from Gary, an expat and insurance claimant is a story of strength and resilience we can all learn from:

PRIVATE MEDICAL INSURANCE VS. CRITICAL ILLNESS COVER

It is not unusual for people to be confused between critical illness cover and private medical insurance (PMI). While PMI might cover some or all of your medical bills, there tends to be an annual limit and you might also be required to co-pay a percentage of the bills. But it’s not just about the medical bills.

Reduced income

You may have to reduce your working hours, or stop working, which would result in a loss of income. In a report by Macmillian4 , almost one in three (30%) people living with critical illness experienced a loss of income as a result of their diagnosis. A third of critical illness survivors (33%) stopped working either permanently or temporarily, depending on recovery times.

Hidden healthcare costs

A significant proportion (41%) of people living with critical illness incur costs for other healthcare needs. These range from prescription medicines not included in personal medical insurance, clinical psychological services, physiotherapy, speech and language therapy, occupational therapy and dietetics.

Lifestyle costs

Over a third (37%) of people incur costs for replacement clothing due to rapid weight loss or gain, specialised equipment, and home modifications, such as wheel chair access.

Other costs

Some costs are difficult to quantify, such as regular trips to medical appointments, travel for specialised treatment, wigs or hairpieces due to hair loss, and increase in household bills such as utilities, groceries and telephone

14Jun

Infographic: Global Cyber Attack Statistics

The threat to cyber security has increased over the past 10 years. Businesses have paid large sums to recover files and systems which all could have been avoided if we only treat cyberattacks as a big possibility. Here are the numbers on cyber attacks on global businesses.

Ask us how we can help your business with the proper insurance cover.

13Mar

What Does Corporate Travel Insurance Cover and Why I Need It?

Companies or organizations that send their employees overseas for business have two options when it comes to Travel Insurance.

First option is to have insurance as an add-on to their tickets. These come as individual cover for each person. The second option is to get Corporate Travel Insurance that protects your employees as a group.

Why is this insurance necessary?

The question should actually focus on WHEN you need this type of travel insurance. With the numerous claims we’have helped our clients with in recent years, Corporate Travel Insurance becomes crucial when employees are being sent to high-risk places.  For instance, non-profit organizations that provide volunteer services to countries with epidemics or ongoing national conflict are considered high-risk.Avu-gfOzbAxU6OQTf0Xja7YoncE7OqHxr8LsF4CZ-sDJ
This insurance is also a more cost-effective means of protecting your company from extra expenses incurred by your staff during the travel period. If it’s a big group, there are policies that offer protection based on headcount instead of specific names (usually for groups of 5 or more).

What does Corporate Travel Insurance Cover?

Providers offer a wide range of options for different needs. We help expat companies in Hong Kong make arrangements for their staff. Below is a list of common policy benefits for Corporate Travel Insurance:

  • Cover for events resulting from any terrorist attack, including the use of biological, chemical and nuclear weapons
  • Cover for all journeys of less than 120 days
  • War Zone coverage (optional with added premium)
  • Cover for a company’s regional or worldwide offices can be arranged, if permitted by local laws
  • Personal deviation up to 31 days
  • Repatriation
  • Medical expenses
  • Legal expenses
  • Travel or baggage delay
  • Flight delay
  • Emergency travel of family & friends
  • Personal Liability
  • Hospitalization
  • Loss of personal money or documents
  • Accidental Death

Leisure travel may also be covered if it coincides with your business travel dates.

For a quotation on insurance, you may Contact Us here.