Critical illness costs UK economy £15 billion a year

Problems caused by critical illness are costing the UK economy £15 billion a year according to a Cost of Critical illness report by Legal & General.

The insurer says £9.3 billion is related to cancer in all its forms and those returning to work after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis earn an average £8,000 a year less.


More than a fifth (22%) of the financial impact caused by cancer is linked to people still working and suffering the consequences like fatigue and post traumatic stress.

Premature death creates the biggest impact at £5.2 billion, but employees having to stop work costs another £2 billion.


Among that group are 57,000 cancer sufferers who required Employment Support Allowance and 26,000 stopped working altogether.

Coronary heart disease and strokes account for £2.8 billion and £1.9 billion respectively and 80% of MS sufferers being unable to return to work costs another £1.4 billion.


Protection expert John Summerfield said: “Whilst it’s clear that diseases like cancer and strokes have a major impact on the economy, the effects of these conditions are much more immediate, worrying and potentially financially damaging for the individuals diagnosed with them.

“Being diagnosed with a critical illness means that people often have to take time off work to recover, which has a financial impact through loss of earnings and the added worry of struggling to pay monthly bills or the mortgage.

Critical illness insurance

“This is precisely where critical illness insurance can play a positive role, providing much-needed support for individuals and their families by paying out a lump sum to cover monthly costs.

“By having protection like this in place, the policyholder can ultimately focus on what really matters – their recovery.”

Major impact

Legal & General director Craig Brown added: “Though the effects of critical illness on our health are rightly front of mind, our research clearly shows that these diseases can have a major impact on our ability to work and earn a steady income.

Whether it’s simply paying off the mortgage or even just having the funds in place to enjoy time with our families, critical illnesses can take away our ability to maintain our lifestyles or even stay in our own home.

“In either case, the lump sum paid out by critical illness insurance can be invaluable in helping consumers to manage their financial circumstances in their time of need. By helping to pay off essential monthly outgoings, these policies can help remove added worry about money at a time when individuals need to focus on their recovery.”

Do you need critical illness cover?

Cover is designed to help get you through difficult financial times when you find yourself too ill to work.
The types of circumstances you may need to cover include:

  • If you are self-employed or your employer provides few benefits
  • Your family depends on your income and even if you’re not the main breadwinner there will be a cost to replace your caring services if you fall ill
  • Statutory sick pay of £89.35 a week is not enough to cover your expenses
  • If you don’t have a lot of savings to fall back on

Call us

If you’d like to find out more about your options and costs please call us on 0800 103 2613 and one of our friendly, knowledgeable staff will be pleased to help you.