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Sovereign takes advantage of medical advancements

Pregnant women, Alzheimer's sufferers, cancer patients and heart-attack victims are just some of the people who could benefit from key changes to Sovereign's flagship Living Assurance Comprehensive policy.

Thursday, April 1st 2010, 12:46PM

The newly announced enhancements to the TotalCareMax Living Assurance Comprehensive product introduce several optional benefits, as well as a wider range of partial payments to provide for varying degrees of trauma.

Some of these changes ensure customers will receive compensation for a range of conditions upon diagnosis, so they can seek early intervention or adapt their lifestyles accordingly.

Sovereign clinical director Dr John Mayhew says Sovereign is leading the market in introducing these initiatives, which will enable it to better meet the needs of its customers.

"Crucially, Sovereign has taken advantage of medical advancements to introduce a partial payment for minor heart attacks, which means more customers will be eligible for benefits in what has previously been a tricky condition to define.

"Under the old heart-attack definitions, some people who had suffered what may have been medically considered to be a heart attack were not eligible for payments."

Mayhew says recent technological developments have made it possible to measure smaller changes in a patient's Troponin levels, which indicate damage to the heart.

This has enabled Sovereign to widen the definition under the policy of what constitutes a heart attack and it can now pay claims for less-severe heart attacks.

Additionally, customers can now claim multiple times for angioplasty involving less than three vessels.

Another optional new benefit - the early cancer upgrade - looks to provide for prompt cancer intervention.

Customers who are diagnosed with minor cancerous conditions that are treatable and not life-threatening (in the early stages) can claim an extra payment of up to $50,000.

This will give them more flexibility to choose treatment options and will help minimise the impact of the condition on their day-to-day lives.

A further key change is to major neurological conditions. Alzheimer's patients will be eligible for a full payment on diagnosis, while people diagnosed with one of several other conditions will also immediately receive a new accelerated partial payment on diagnosis.

These conditions include benign brain tumours, encephalitis, Parkinson's disease and multiple sclerosis.

"This will allow these people the flexibility to look at treatment options or lifestyle changes in the early stages of their conditions, rather than having to wait until they are seriously impaired to be eligible for assistance," says Mayhew.

Sovereign has also made a key enhancement to its cover for young families. Customers who have children or are planning a family can add a new optional children and maternity benefit to their TotalCareMax Comprehensive plan.

The benefit provides a financial buffer if a child suffers one of the 43 defined serious medical conditions, including meningitis, major burns and chronic organ failure.

Customers can be eligible for a lump-sum payment of up to $50,000 allowing a parent to stop work or arrange care for their child.  It also introduces cover for certain pregnancy complications, including eclampsia and DIC (disseminated intravascular coagulation).

The new definitions and optional benefits apply immediately to new customers and many existing customers.


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