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Lindsay learns the benefits and pitfalls of the product he sold for 52 years the hard way

Graeme Lindsay learned the benefits and pitfalls of health insurance first-hand the hard way after selling the product as an adivsor and/or broker for 52 years, and another couple of years as an advisor to the industry through his firm, Strategy Financial Services.

Friday, December 8th 2023, 9:14AM 2 Comments

by Jenny Ruth

Graeme Lindsay and his parter Heather at a Porsche club meeting

Good Returns caught up with Lindsay earlier this week as he was starting to receive the first chemotherapy dose of the most aggressive treatment option, he was offered to treat stage four pancreatic cancer.

While Lindsay is determinedly optimistic about his own prospects, it's perhaps characteristic of him that he took a lesson from his own experience about the best health insurance coverage to have if you're unfortunate enough to end up in his position.

In a post on LinkedIn, Lindsay noted that the cost over four weeks of oncologist consultations and various diagnostic tests had amounted to about $8,000.

He had coverage for specialists and tests so his policy covered these costs.

“I have just sent the estimate for chemotherapy to the insurer: $37,000,” Lindsay told his LinkedIn followers.

But a friend of his had just been diagnosed with kidney cancer and had insurance covering surgical hospitalisation only.

That meant she had to pay the cost of seeing specialists, as well as the required diagnostic tests, upfront. “Her cash flow has taken a serious hit,” Lindsay said.

She did, in fact, require hospitalisation, which meant her insurance would eventually reimburse her for those upfront costs, but that didn't compensate for the financial stress of having to pay the substantial costs upfront.

Lindsay is now urging those with health insurance to review their cover.

To avoid the cash flow squeeze his friend suffered, he's suggesting that policyholders would be better to take a larger excess on hospital cover in exchange for coverage of specialist and diagnostic costs.

Lindsay, 75, told GoodReturns that it was the upfront cash flow impact that was exercising him and that he'd like people who might end up in a similar position to him to realise it is possible to avoid such financial stress, particularly at a time when you're also facing a major health crisis.

“It's the cash flow impact, rather than the absolute final cost” that people ought to consider, he says.

Lindsay's prognosis without treatment was grim: he was given just two months to live.

From among the various options available, he's chosen the most aggressive treatment.

“It has the potential to extend my life for months, possibly even years.”

With a “wonderful” wife, four children and nine grandchildren, “I want to stay alive as long as possible for them,” Lindsay said, noting that a family reunion is planned for the festive season.

“We're going to give it both barrels and stay positive. That's the plan.”

As Lindsay wrote on LinkedIn, “for the record, this is not personalised advice. It is reasonably informed commentary on some of the product options offered in the marketplace,” adding that he'd retired from the advice business two-and-a-half years ago.

Tags: insurance

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Comments from our readers

On 7 December 2023 at 8:40 pm Katrina Church said:
Thanks as always for your thoughts Graeme- wholeheartedly agree reviewing regularly is so important. Just as important we are all thinking of you whilst you go thru this journey.

Smash it Graeme - give it all you have got!

Enjoy your time with your family.
On 8 December 2023 at 2:13 pm j foster said:
The word icon is often overused but not in this case. Hope there is some form of recovery.

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