Facing a critical illness will be challenging for anyone, and whether or not one has financial support will make a significant difference to the journey.
Whether you’ve recently been diagnosed with a critical illness or you are proactively preparing should the unexpected happen, this article will guide you along the process of claiming the critical illness benefits from your life insurance.
Common critical illness claims in Singapore
There are standard definitions for what constitutes “severe stage” for 37 critical illnesses, as per the Life Insurance Association (LIA) Singapore Critical Illness (CI) Framework. However, for the early, intermediate and very severe stages of critical illness, the definitions are decided by individual insurers.
Listed below are some of the most common critical illness claims made in Singapore. They can be diagnosed at different stages, from early and intermediate, to advanced.
Cancer: Various forms of cancer, such as breast, colorectal, lung, and prostate cancer, have been common reasons for critical illness claims. The incidence of cancer has been on the rise globally, including in Singapore. Among males, the three most commonly occurring cancers were colorectal, prostate, and lung cancers, whereas among females, the top three most frequently diagnosed cancers were breast, colorectal, and lung cancers.
Heart-Related Conditions: Conditions like heart attacks, coronary artery bypass surgery, and heart valve surgery have also been common reasons for critical illness claims. These conditions are often associated with lifestyle factors like diet and exercise.
Stroke: Stroke is a significant cause of critical illness claims in Singapore. It can result in long-term disability and require extensive medical care and rehabilitation.
Liver Diseases: Serious liver diseases like cirrhosis and liver cancer are often associated with factors such as alcohol abuse and viral hepatitis.
Kidney Failure: End-stage kidney failure, which requires dialysis or kidney transplantation, is another prevalent critical illness claim.
Neurological Diseases: Conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and motor neuron disease have been on the rise, with around 1 in 10 aged above 60 in Singapore, leading to critical illness claims.
Critical illness insurance claim process
- Check your critical illness coverage to determine your eligibility. The coverage must be in force to cover the event and the premium must be paid up to date.
- Complete the claim form from the insurance company
- Get your attending doctor to complete the attending physician statement (APS). The APS will be based on the critical illness that you are claiming on.
- Attach relevant supporting documents such as lab tests, X-rays, MRIs, CT scans and medical reports. The insurance company may ask for more information if necessary
- Indicate the preferred mode of receiving the payouts in the claim form. PayNow via the NRIC of the policyholder has become a popular option.
The claims process can take anywhere between two to eight weeks depending on need for additional information. Claims for policies that have started for less than a year will also take longer as insurers will need to check on the likelihood of non-disclosure of health conditions during the application.
Upon a critical illness claim, your policy may either be terminated if other benefits expire upon the claim, or it may still continue to cover you for death and disability and recurring critical illness. Recent re-designs in critical illness insurance policies now provide claims up to as much as five critical illness claims.
If you are not covered for critical illness year, here’s how
Critical illness benefits can be added to one’s insurance portfolio in many ways. It can be a standalone plan, or be added as a rider in a life insurance plan whether it’s a Term, Investment-linked or Whole Life Insurance plan.
It can also come in different configurations such as covering from Early, Intermediate to Advanced stages of Critical Illness with only one payout, or multiple payouts from the same plan.
Read more: Best Critical Illness Insurance in Singapore
How can critical illness coverage benefit you
Financial Assistance for Medical Expenses: Critical illness benefits payout can help policyholders cope with the medical expenses associated with their illness. This includes operations, treatments, hospital stays, medications, and specialised care that may not be fully covered by Medishield Life, Integrated Shield Plan or company health insurance.
Income Replacement: Critical illnesses can mean extended periods of recovery, during which the policyholder may be unable to work. The benefits payout can replace lost income, ensuring that essential bills are paid and living expenses are met.
Debt Management: Many individuals have mortgages, loans, or other financial commitments. A critical illness benefit can be used to help pay off or manage these debts, preventing additional financial stress during an already challenging time.
Quality of Life Enhancement: Beyond covering medical costs, critical illness benefits can be used to enhance the policyholder’s overall quality of life. This may include making necessary modifications to the home, seeking alternative treatments, or accessing palliative care.
Peace of Mind: Knowing that there is financial support in place can provide peace of mind to policyholders and their families. It allows them to focus on recovery and well-being without the constant worry of financial instability.
In conclusion, navigating the critical illness claim process can be a challenging journey, marked by emotional and logistical hurdles.
The successful resolution of a critical illness claim represents more than just a financial settlement; it signifies a lifeline to a more hopeful future.
It offers peace of mind to policyholders, ensuring they can focus on recovery without the burden of financial worries. It also highlights the vital role that insurance plays in safeguarding individuals and families during their most vulnerable moments.
Ultimately, the critical illness claim process underscores the value of insurance as a safety net during life’s most challenging chapters. It is a reminder that, even in the face of adversity, there is hope, resilience, and a community committed to providing relief and assistance.