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Critical illness insurance is one of the common plans we purchase in Singapore, and is usually cited by many financial planners as an essential or good-to-have type of insurance.
In a nutshell, critical illness insurance pays out a lump sum that can be used for pretty much anything if you are diagnosed with one of the critical illnesses covered by your plan. This typically includes some of the top diseases that affect the population, such as cancer and stroke. There’s usually no cash value or surrender value — there’s no “reward” if you don’t ever make a claim and your coverage ends, or if you surrender it.
Plans offered differ from insurer to insurer, but that’s the basis. Some CI policies may cover more critical illnesses, some may cover fewer; some may have multi-pay for CI at various stages (such as early- to intermediate- to late-stage), others may require you to add on a rider. Also, your CI insurance might be a supplementary plan tied together with your life insurance policy or a standalone.
That’s all well and good, but times are changing. As we become more aware of the many kinds of risks and costs we could face someday (rising incidence of cancer cases, people are living longer but spending more time in ill health), we start to hope for more from our critical illness plans.
Here are some of the benefits we wish critical illness plans would include.
1. To also be covered for age-related chronic or common health conditions
Critical illness insurance plans usually offer protection for serious illnesses, but as life expectancy has risen in Singapore and the population ages, it’s becoming clear that there are many other ailments that we hope to get coverage for.
These include not only age-related conditions but also special, chronic and common health conditions even seemingly young and healthy people can be struck by. These conditions may not be deemed serious enough to be included on many critical illness plans, but can have a huge impact and financial cost.
For instance, sleep apnoea affects about 15% of Singapore’s population and is likely to be under-diagnosed. Sleep apnoea has a big negative impact on the quality of one’s life, yet it is not given much attention by insurers.
AIA Absolute Critical Cover (ASCC) is a critical illness plan that goes beyond the typical ailments to include 37 medical conditions under special or pre-early conditions, across age-related conditions, chronic conditions, common chronic ailments and common health conditions.
In fact, it is the only plan on the market covering common health conditions such as thyroid disorders, sleep apnoea, glaucoma (requiring surgery) and benign prostatic hyperplasia (requiring surgery).
The plan offers protection against many ailments that have previously been ignored by other insurers and can be ideal for those who wish to be protected not only from the typical serious illnesses but also conditions that can be stressful or debilitating in the long term.
2. To be able to claim when warded in ICU without surgery, even if it’s for a future unknown disease
As the Covid-19 pandemic has shown us, getting warded in the ICU often means that your life is in danger and can have long-term repercussions for your health.
However, typical critical illness plans will only protect you from the list of conditions covered by the plan, some of which require surgery before you can make a claim. If you are warded in the ICU for a condition that isn’t covered, you’re out of luck.
Luckily, this is not the case with AIA Absolute Critical Cover (ASCC), which offers coverage of an additional 20% of your coverage amount for ICU admission for any condition without the need for surgery. This is applicable even to future unknown diseases.
Critical illness plans like AIA’s can be a great complement to an existing hospitalisation plan, as the payout can offer additional financial help to the patient and his or her family.
In addition, the plan’s Safety Net Cover Benefit offers the assurance of protection against a wide range of life-threatening conditions, including those that might not yet have been discovered.
3. To be able to get cash value if you don’t make full claims of the critical illness benefit
Critical illness plans typically do not accumulate cash value for the policyholder or have any surrender value — you can only claim if you’re diagnosed — but it sure would be nice if they did. Putting aside money for the future is absolutely necessary in Singapore, so it would be great to receive some cash value for an unused CI plan once you don’t need its protection anymore or if you don’t make any claims throughout at all.
AIA Absolute Critical Cover (ASCC) is the only critical illness plan offering the option of cash value. The option is available for the plan with coverage term To-Age-100 only.
If the plan is surrendered after a certain period, you will receive a surrender benefit calculated based on the amount of cash value accumulated up to that point. Alternatively, you will receive a maturity benefit if you hold on to the plan all the way until the end of the term.
4. To be able to get coverage for cancer relapses, even if not in remission
Thanks to screening, early diagnosis and advances in treatment, cancer no longer has to be a death sentence. That’s good news as an estimated 1 in 4 people may develop cancer in their lifetime.
However, some critical illness plans don’t offer coverage for cancer relapses. Policyholders will receive a payout only upon the first diagnosis but not upon subsequent relapses (they’ll usually need to have the cancer at a different stage, or a different cancer or other critical illness to make another claim). That’s not very reassuring as you essentially lose your protection after the first diagnosis, and possibly can’t claim if you want to nip the relapse in its early stage.
AIA Absolute Critical Cover (ASCC) comes with the option of a rider, ASCC Booster — protecting you if you are diagnosed with more than 1 of the 150 150 multi-stage critical illnesses covered or in the event of relapse of 5 specified critical illnesses so that you can be more assured. It allows the claim for Major Cancer re-diagnosis, even if it’s not in remission.
5. To also benefit other family members
To keep your whole family safe, everyone should have adequate insurance. Typical critical illness plans cover just one person, with no discounts, even for your dependants, such as young children.
For parents who buy multiple policies from the same insurer, having a family discount, especially for young children, would be a nice perk.
AIA Absolute Critical Cover (ASCC) is the only plan on the market to offer a child premium discount. You can enjoy 10% off the first-year premiums of your child’s plan, and subsequent premium discounts of 5% for one child or 10% for two or more children.
For parents, this discount is an incentive to ensure that every member of the family has the protection they need.
A well-rounded CI plan with a difference
If you’re looking for a plan that’s got you covered in a wide range of areas, AIA Absolute Critical Cover (ASCC) is one to consider.
Other than the benefits mentioned earlier, it also offers payouts of up to S$350,000 for early and intermediate stages of one same critical illness. In addition, early cancer coverage is not limited only to specific organs.
The plan also offers access to telehealth and wellness services through Teladoc, WhiteCoat and AIA Vitality.
Find out more about AIA Absolute Critical Cover (ASCC) or speak to your AIA Financial Services consultant/Insurance Representative. Those who sign up by 30 Nov 2021 could enjoy up to 25% discount, a free Apple Watch Series 7 and a free AIA Vitality membership.
Policy and promotion T&Cs apply, click here to learn more. Protected up to specified limits by SDIC. This advertisement has not been reviewed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore. Information is correct as at 29 October 2021.
This article is written in collaboration with AIA. It is for information only and reflects MoneySmart’s opinion and not that of AIA.