MS and Retirement
And so the good news is that if you have MS, then you can get an enhanced annuity in the United Kingdom. That is a higher payment for the rest of your life than if you were well. That’s because our illness may reduce life expectancy. A recent survey by MGM Assurance found that 70 percent of those who could apply for an enhanced annuity actually don’t.
The bad news: If things get really bad, I’ll have to balance my quality of life against socking it to a financial institution. For sheer bloody-mindedness, I might now slog on, whereas before I’d have happily taken a trip to Switzerland. (Dignitas is a Swiss nonprofit members society providing assisted/accompanied suicide to members of the organization who suffer from terminal illness and/or severe physical or mental illness.)
Though to be honest, having spent a few weeks in Switzerland in my youth, traveling on a one-way ticket is not as depressing as actually going there for a holiday.
I realize this is an American website, but I have no idea how the pensions market is organized anywhere else outside the U.K. Forgive me, but life for us lot seems to be possibly short enough as it is — getting my head around the whole pensions business in the U.K. is daunting enough. In fact, my wife did all the research — I found the whole business quite excruciating. My degree some 40 years ago was in economics, so you’d think that would help. Well, it doesn’t.
The only time it did was when an insurance adviser showed us a lovely graph demonstrating the consistent rise in the stock market since the banking crash. I pointed out that this was primarily due to quantitative easing. We didn’t go with him.
Financial institutions are like betting companies — they make their money by knowing the odds. I hate to say “everyone says” that MS isn’t a death sentence, but they sort of do. So what statistics are out there?
Ooh, rather a lot — I did briefly study statistics once, but I’m no statistician. Let’s hope I do better than our foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, who just quoted a highly discredited figure from the Brexit campaign and was quickly admonished by the head of the U.K. Statistics Authority.
Denmark: “Excess mortality among patients with multiple sclerosis in Denmark has dropped significantly over the past six decades.”
France: “This study revealed a moderate decrease in life expectancy in MS patients, and showed that the risk of dying is strongly correlated to disease duration and disability, highlighting the need for early actions that can slow disability progression.”
Norway: “We conclude that infections are probably the main cause of death in patients with MS, but the frequency is underestimated due to misleading information on death certificates. Excess mortality in patients with MS first appeared during the second decade of the disease. Survival seems to be age-dependent rather than related to disease course.”
U.S.: “Survival in commercially insured multiple sclerosis patients and comparator subjects in the U.S. … The results show, for the first time in a U.S. population, a survival disadvantage for contemporary MS patients compared to non-MS subjects from the same healthcare system. The 6-year decrement in lifespan parallels a recent report from British Columbia.”
I could go on, but I’ve a feeling very few of you will have gotten this far.
We’re being offered advantageous rates for a reason. As the desk sergeant in “Hill Street Blues” always used to put it, “Let’s be careful out there.”
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