We tend to think that critical illness only happens to other people. Unfortunately, that’s not the case, and we need to be prepared for a serious diagnosis – for example, cancer, kidney failure or a debilitating immune disease. Treatment for these types of conditions can be lengthy and costly, and could keep you from working for some time. So, what if your health insurance plan doesn’t cover all the costs involved? Luckily, there’s a special insurance to help you cope. Here, the team at Expat Insurance gives us the lowdown on critical illness insurance.
What is critical illness insurance?
Critical illness insurance is an add-on or “rider” that can be purchased on top of an existing life insurance policy. If you come down with an illness, you’ll receive payouts to cover your medical bills, and to keep you afloat.
Why is it so important?
Treatment for critical illnesses is expensive! While management of the illness is generally already covered under most health insurance policies in Singapore, this does not account for the loss of income while you undergo treatment and recovery. Managing and recovering from cancer, for instance, can be a lengthy process. Firstly, there are the therapies to consider, sometimes in addition to surgery. There’s also the cost of diagnostic testing, rehabilitation, monitoring and ongoing follow-ups to the doctor until you’re in the clear, and back to your healthy self.
These costs can add up quickly; and they can become a significant financial burden if there have been no plans made to accommodate them. This, of course, can take a major emotional toll on your family.
Also, if you’re living overseas, you don’t have the same opportunity to call upon the help of friends and family. This lack of support network is an important factor that’s often overlooked. You may end up spending more money getting a helping hand than if you were back home with the support of family and friends.
Do I need critical illness cover if I have health insurance?
Health insurance helps pay for medical expenses such as doctor’s visits, hospital stays, medications, tests, and procedures. It helps ensure that people can afford medical care and stay as healthy as possible.
Critical illness insurance, on the other hand, is a protective measure. It’s similar to life insurance, which is designed to offer your family financial continuity in the event of your death. Critical illness cover can help secure the financial protection of your family while you undergo treatment and recovery.
Therefore, purchasing both health insurance and critical illness cover is recommended.
Who needs critical illness insurance?
Everyone! Regardless of whether you are young or old, single or with dependents.
If you were to be hospitalised tomorrow, how would your family cope? A good rule of thumb is that, if you have others who rely on you financially or practically, then critical illness cover is a must. It’s important to make adequate plans so that if you do become ill, the people you’re responsible for and love you the most will have one less thing to worry about.
What are the different types of critical illness cover?
There are basically two kinds of cover: critical illness and multi-pay coverage. The one that’s best for your family really depends on your family history, medical coverage, and your ability to financially weather recovery and treatment costs.
With critical illness cover, a guaranteed lump sum is be paid out when you are diagnosed with an advanced stage illness. For example, stage three of cancer.
Multi-stage coverage, on the other hand, will pay a lump sum, plus additional payouts. Families with histories of critical illnesses, or those who lack ample emergency savings, should consider this type of coverage. There are several types of multi-stage or multi-pay options, many of which pay out multiples times; for example, if a cancer is treated and reappears. Depending on the policy, you can usually access your cover before it reaches the critical stages; for example, stage one of cancer.
The types of critical illnesses covered vary from one insurer to another. But, most major illnesses and types of surgery are covered by almost all policies. Ailments commonly covered by critical illness insurance include the following:
- heart attack
- coronary artery bypass surgery
- kidney failure
- Parkinson’s disease
- major head trauma
- major organ transplantation
For more information, get in touch with Expat Insurance. Their brokers are experienced in working with expats to determine the best term life insurance policies to suit their needs.
Read more in our Health & Fitness section.