Want More Coverage for Cancer? How To Do So With Cancer Insurance and Critical Illness Plans

Cancer insurance is increasingly becoming something Singaporeans look into, as the disease continues to be the leading cause of death in the country.

Given that cancer insurance typically covers a range of treatments and associated costs, it acts as a crucial form of financial support for individuals who have been diagnosed, and is a good way for them to supplement their healthcare needs.

For many patients, cancer insurance has become a godsend, since treatment often comes with considerable costs and various miscellaneous expenses. This is especially so after changes in cancer coverage for MediShield Life kicked in recently.

MediShield Life cancer coverage changes

A major change in coverage for cancer treatment took effect on 1 April 2023, transforming how private insurers cover cancer treatment costs. Instead of covering “as-charged”, Integrated Shield Plans (ISPs) now come with an upper coverage limit and only subsidise treatments on the Cancer Drug List (CDL) for outpatient cancer treatments.

ISPs can now only cover five times MediShield Life’s limit of S$200 to S$9,600 per month for cancer drugs and S$3,600 annually for cancer services, instead of as-charged after co-payments and deductibles.

This can greatly affect cancer patients’ care options and out-of-pocket expenses, especially those who are seeking treatment at private hospitals. For them, their bills can easily exceed the limit of five times MediShield Life’s coverage, depending on the drugs and severity of their illness.

Read more: Changes to Medishield Life Coverage for Cancer Treatment and How It Affects Cancer Patients

Ways to supplement medical insurance to increase protection

According to the Singapore Cancer Society, every day in Singapore, about 46 people are diagnosed with cancer while 16 people die of the disease. At the same time, one in 4 is projected to develop cancer in their lifetime.

With more people being diagnosed with cancer along with the increasing cost of treatment in Singapore, insurers have launched standalone cancer and critical illness (CI) insurance plans to cover cancers from early to advanced stages.

These specialised plans can be used to help with the loss of income from being unable to work due to a cancer diagnosis through a lump sum payout, or paying for treatment costs such as alternative treatment, medicine, and home care services.

There are two main ways to supplement your medical insurance for more comprehensive cancer coverage:

  • Purchasing a CI insurance
  • Purchasing a standalone cancer insurance

Supplementing with critical illness (CI) insurance

Instead of relying only on your medical insurance, purchasing a standalone CI insurance or adding on a CI rider to your insurance is a great way to boost your protection.

In the case of a CI diagnosis, which includes most forms of cancer, a CI insurance policy provides a lump sum payout based on the sum determined when you purchased the policy. The Life Insurance Association (LIA) defines the list of critical illnesses covered, which includes 37 conditions. Private insurers have their list of covered CIs, and this is usually more than the 37 listed.

When it comes to CI insurance, the payout is based on how much coverage you have insured, regardless of the expenditures incurred. You can use the payout for anything you deem fit. The plan usually terminates after a payout, unless specifically mentioned.

Many private insurers in Singapore offer standalone CI insurance, and due to the various variables in these policies, it is difficult to make an apple-to-apple comparison. However, we have compared and summarised some policies in the table below for you to understand these insurance policies better.

FWD Critical Illness PlusEarly and intermediate stages of cancer, heart attack, stroke, 37 late-stage CIsS$50,000 to S$300,000Auto-reload benefit after 12 months.
GREAT Critical Cover: CompleteEarly, intermediate, and critical stages of 53 CIs, and 121 critical conditionsS$50,000 to S$350,000Terminates after one claim unless bought with a Protect Me Again rider.
Manulife Critical SelectCare7 CIs, and 2 critical conditionsS$25,000 per CI/conditionsPayout of 25% of your total premiums paid at the end of your policy term as long as no claim was made.
PruActive Protect37 CIsCustomisableMultiple claims and coverage against relapse, recurrence of pre-critical or late stage CI with riders.
Singlife Comprehensive Critical Illness132 conditions across various stages of CIsS$30,000 to S$250,000Terminates after one claim.

Supplementing with standalone cancer insurance

Standalone cancer insurance provides a lump sum payout in the event of a cancer diagnosis. As it only covers cancer, this type of insurance is cheaper than a CI insurance policy. A standalone cancer insurance also typically covers all types of cancers, from early, intermediate, all the way to the advanced stages.

Similar to CI plans, the variables involved in standalone cancer insurance make it difficult to do an equal comparison. We have summarised and compared some of the available plans in the market for you to have a clearer understanding of what these policies can offer.

AIA Multistage Cancer CoverAll types of cancer, all stagesS$100,000, S$150,000, or S$250,000
FWD Cancer 2.0 InsuranceAll types of cancer, all stagesS$10,000 to S$200,000100% benefit payout if cancer is cause of death
Prudential PRUCancer 360All types of cancer, all stagesS$10,000 to S$300,000
Tiq Cancer InsuranceAll types of cancer, all stagesS$50,000, S$100,000, or S$200,000S$5,000
Singlife Cancer Cover Plus IIVarious cancer treatments and servicesAs-charged up to S$1.5 million per policy year

Read more: Everything You Need to Know About Standalone Cancer Insurance

Singlife Cancer Cover Plus II stands out from cancer insurance policies as it does not provide a lump sum payout. Instead, it covers the costs of the treatments. Let’s take a more in-depth look at this policy:

Singlife Shield Plan 1Amount
Bill Amount for Outpatient Cancer Drug Treatment (on the CDL)S$20,000
Less: 10% co-insurance (capped at S$25,500 per policy year)(S$2,000)
Claim payout (a)
(based on five times MediShield Life claim limit @ S$1,000 per month)
Singlife Health Plus Private PrimeAmount
Singlife Shield Co-insurance AmountS$2,000
Less: 5% co-insurance (capped at S$12,750 per policy year)(S$1,000)
Claim payout (b)S$1,000
Singlife pays (a) + (b)S$2,000
Customer paysS$18,000

Since Linda has Singlife Cancer Cover Plus II, instead of paying S$18,000 out of pocket, she could use the plan to subsidise her treatment as follows:

Singlife Cancer Cover Plus IIAmount
Bill Amount for Outpatient Cancer Drug Treatment (on the CDL)S$20,000
Less deductible of 20% co-insurance(S$4,000)
Less deductible of S$5,000(S$5,000)
Claim payout (c)S$11,000
Singlife pays (a) + (b) + (c)S$13,000
Customer paysS$7,000

With Cancer Cover Plus II, Linda’s out-of-pocket can be reduced from S$18,000 to S$7,000.

If Linda had purchased other standalone cancer or CI insurance, she could also claim the lump sum payout from these policies to help her pay her out-of-pocket fees and other expenses.

In conclusion

Cancer is an illness that can be both scary and costly for a patient. For that reason, supplementing your medical insurance can provide comprehensive protection against the financial burdens of cancer treatment. It is advisable to evaluate your existing coverage, identify gaps, and take proactive steps to enhance your financial protection and peace of mind.

If you are unsure how protected you are against life’s unforeseen circumstances, feel free to reach out to Team Planner Bee at  ask@plannerbee.co today!

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