Should I get an early Critical Illness or Cancer-only insurance plan? Understand the differences before you buy.

Cancer or critical illness insurance in Singapore? Here’s what it’s all about.
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Last Updated on by Tree of Wealth

While we don’t usually like to dwell on the unfortunate, the reality is that cancer and critical illnesses can happen to anyone. Factors such as diet, lifestyle and genetics can increase the possibility, but we should not rule out the chances of falling sick just because we are healthy now. It’s best to prepare to protect your finances while you are healthy rather than leave it to chance.

Statistics also show that cancer cases in Singapore have risen over the years. From 2015-2019, 78,204 cancer cases were reported. 49% and 51% of those cases were reported in males and females. One way to prepare for the unexpected is to purchase a comprehensive income protection plan in Singapore to manage the treatment costs. But if you are ready to buy one, you might notice that there are early critical illness plans that cover several types of critical illnesses and cancer-only plans. What is the difference between the two? Let’s find out.

What a critical illness plan in Singapore covers

A critical illness plan is a policy that pays the insured a lump sum following the diagnosis of an illness covered under the plan. By definition, an illness that is critical is life-threatening.

Generally, critical-illness plans often cover diseases like major cancer, organ transplant, heart attack, liver failure, stroke, renal failure, and paralysis, among others. The Life Insurance Association of Singapore has also listed in its guidelines a list of critical illnesses and their definitions.

On its website, you will notice that major cancer is “A malignant tumour positively diagnosed with histological confirmation and characterised by the uncontrolled growth of malignant cells with invasion and destruction of normal tissue.” This means that a critical illness plan in Singapore that lists major cancer as part of its coverage will require a diagnosis that meets the above before any payout is made. For the full list of critical illnesses the plan provides, you will need to check the product summary before purchasing.

There are two types of critical illness coverage plans: early critical illness(ECI) and critical illness(CI)  plans. Unlike a traditional CI policy, where the insured can only make claims if the illness progresses to the “severe or critical stage”, the ECI plan extends coverage to include early diagnosis and intermediate stages. So you might be wondering, is early critical illness insurance necessary if I want to get cancer protection? The main difference between both is that an insured can make claims from an early critical plan, as the name suggests. So if the illness is detected in its early stages, the insured can benefit from claims to pay for treatment and make recovery faster without financial stress.

Critical illness plans, however, may only allow claims in the later stages of the illness. The plan may also payout a sum assured, which can defray lifestyle expenses or loss of income. There are several other differences insurers might offer, so when comparing the two, consider your needs and budget. In addition, many insurers might offer critical illness plans as an add-on rider to your Term Insurance or Whole Life Insurance for early-stage crisis cover rather than a standalone one.

You might be wondering, how much do I need for critical illness coverage? Well, it might be helpful to speak with a financial adviser and assess what you require to help you choose the best critical illness insurance in Singapore. Before that, let’s look at cancer-only plans in Singapore.

For early critical illnesses, generally 2 to 3 times of your annual income is adviced.

Read more here for a better understanding: 

Life Insurance Coverage: How Much Do You Need in Singapore?

What a cancer plan in Singapore covers

As the term suggests, a cancer plan will cover major cancer treatment and related lifestyle expenses. It can help you handle medical plan deductibles, co-pays and other out-of-pocket costs. If you need clarification on coverage details, check the list of common cancers on the Singapore Cancer Society and ask your insurer if the coverage includes it.

The payouts can also alleviate the insured’s non-medical expenses, such as transportation to treatment facilities and even everyday living expenses, such as groceries, rent and mortgage payments. The payout may differ depending on the early stage or advanced diagnosis. For example, Income’s Cancer Protect plan pays 25% of the sum assured the insured is diagnosed with early-stage cancer. It pays up to 125% of the sum assured for advanced-stage cancer.

In contrast to this, the Tokio Marine Protect Cancer covers 50% of  sum assured. And the China Life Cancer Guardian covers a full 100% when it comes to early stage Cancer.

You may be interested to find the comparison here: Cancer Insurance Plans

There may also be other features, such as an early death and accident payout, or a cancer relapse plan, such as the AXA Cancer Recover plan. The AXA Cancer Recover is meant for cancer survivors (suffered from cancer in the past except for brain cancer) and the cancer must be in remission completely cured of cancer) for at least 3 years.

This plan allows one to claim from the policy again if cancer returns, giving the insured whom is deemed uninsurable, a peace of mind.

So now I know about cancer plans, should I purchase a critical illness plan or a cancer coverage plan?

While different insurers have varying features, you will notice that most cancer plans offer coverage for all stages of cancer. In addition, some cancer insurance plans, such as the Tokio Marine #go TotalProtect Cancer is designed to protect from early, intermediate and later stages of the illness, and on a multiple payout basis.

On the other hand, standalone Critical Illness plans provides more comprehensive coverage for ALL stages of critical illness. You can get an early critical illness plan that allows the insured to claim from the policy if the disease is diagnosed in the later stages. They are usually classified as Single lump sum payout coverage or Multiple payout coverage spanning from early to intermediate to advance stage critical illness, definitely including Cancer.

Standalone CI plans like these also have premium waiver riders to help waive premiums in the event of Critical Illnesses occurrences to ease the finances of the assured.

The premium rates might also differ depending on your sum assured, policy term and other optional riders.

 

So what should you choose? Well ultimately, it depends on these factors:

  1. Your gender
  2. Your family medical history
  3. Your lifestyle needs
  4. Your budget

It is reported that the number 1 cancer condition is colorectal cancer for males and breast cancer for women. Major cancer includes both these types of cancers. If you are concerned about these illnesses, consider getting cancer protection.

For individuals with a family medical history of critical illnesses, be it cancer, heart disease or diabetes, it might be best to seek critical illness protection coverage, which offers more comprehensive protection.

Also, do consider your income protection needs. For example, if you have dependents who rely on your income, it will be very stressful if they have to worry about the medical and other bills, such as the mortgage, should you get sick.

Last but not least, you also need to consider your budget. Premiums can vary depending on your age and the type of coverage you are looking to obtain. You don’t want to be over or under-insured, because you’ll also need to budget for other areas of your life. Besides, you should also add other types of insurance for your income protection needs.

You Should Consider Cancer Only Plans If You:

  • Have conditions aside from Cancer, which some cancer plans have more lenient medical underwriting which can still cover you. For example, people with heart conditions will not be able to get covered from standalone Critical Illness plans, Term plans or Whole Life plans with early critical illness coverage, but will be able to be covered for Cancer plans.
  • Concerned about Cancer diagnosis, probably due to family history or from the statistics that shows Cancer is a growing Critical Illness. 

Need to purchase critical or cancer insurance in Singapore? 

1 in 4 people may develop cancer in their lifetime. The good news is that recovery can happen with early diagnosis and treatment. So it’s time to compare the best cancer insurance or critical illness in Singapore. That way, you won’t be burdened with heavy expenses if the unexpected happens.  We’ve got you covered!

Whether you are a fresh graduate, a newly ORD NS man, or just need more help planning your finances, our dedicated Financial Advisors are ready to work with you. We bring our wealth of experience and know-how of local policies to guide you through the most complex financial matters. Contact us for a non-obligatory consultation, or simply fill in the form below now! Our experienced Financial Advisor will get in touch with you and advise a custom coverage according to your needs and budget.

Get in touch today:

 

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