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Thank you financial advisers - you are helping long Covid clients pay their bills

AFRM Claims Advocacy’s Bruno Muraca gives perspective to the value delivered by all financial advisers to their clients throughout the recent pandemic, and how their support and advice will prove to have even greater value now that the Government’s pandemic leave support payments are coming to an end for most…”

Australia’s mandatory coronavirus isolation rules are to be scrapped from October 14 and pandemic leave support payments will also soon end for a range of workers.

The Australian Medical Association and other experts have criticised the decision to end the measures, saying the decision is premature. They argue that the pandemic isn’t over yet, and the flow-on effects of the virus are yet to be fully realised – particularly when it comes to long-Covid.

The World Health Organisation has warned countries that long-Covid is devastating the lives of tens of millions of people worldwide and countries need to ramp up research and access to care to minimise the suffering of the populations.

The physical symptoms of long Covid persist beyond 12 weeks from initial onset and include extreme fatigue, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, chest pain or tightness, problems with memory and concentration, and joint and muscle pain. And initial modelling suggests that women are twice as likely to experience long-Covid than men.

Often long-Covid can hamper a person’s ability to work, which in turn, can cause financial insecurity. New research from Beyond Blue, confirms the relationship between mental health and financial wellbeing, outlining that people experiencing financial challenges are twice as likely to experience mental health issues than those whose finances are secure. During lockdowns, services such as Lifeline, Beyond Blue, and other mental health support services, experienced a record number of calls from people under stress who were not coping. Beyond Blue described the situation as a ‘triple whammy’ for people already struggling, referring to concerns about work and finances, the virus itself, and the vaccine.

Long-Covid clinics are now being set up nationally in major cities and regional areas to diagnose and manage symptoms. But who is ensuring these patients are financially secure during their illness, and who’s looking after their long Covid condition(s) incl. mental health? And how are they paying the bills?

More and more, in my role as personal insurance advocate, I am approached by people with long-Covid who’re looking for support, often to help them to pay their day to day living expenses or to pay for mental health treatments. However, given people are possibly waiting months to see psychologists and psychiatrists, often resulting in hefty out-of-pocket fees, this creates further challenges for people living under financial pressures.

One potential solution for some of these people with long-Covid lies within their personal insurance via their current superannuation fund. According to APRA more than 70 per cent of Australians hold life insurance inside their superannuation fund but of those people, it’s estimated via MetLife Insurance in Super Report (2018) that 40 per cent have it without realising it.

Several advisers have commented on the recent tough conversations they have had with clients who have experienced premium increases…

Personal insurance provides financial security to the policy holder and their family for events such as a serious injury or illness – including long-Covid. Without the advice of financial advisers, most people (when they are heavily impacted by the physical and emotional impact of their injury or illness) would not recognise the importance of personal insurance. Several advisers have commented on the recent tough conversations they have had with clients who have experienced premium increases, however they were able to highlight the uncertain times that pandemic presented, and therefore were able to maintain insurance cover.

Thank you, financial advisers – without your advice, your client’s wellbeing would be impacted significantly more than just the physical and emotional impact.


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