Early Critical Illness Insurance – Should You Add This To Your Portfolio?

Understand How Hospitalization, Critical Illness & Early Critical Illness Insurances Protect You Differently

Did you know that at least 36 people are diagnosed with cancer every day in Singapore? Research has shown that while cancer diagnoses have increased over the years, the survival rate has also risen proportionately, with the average 5-year survival rate at over 50%.

There is a morbid saying that it is better to die from a critical illness than to be plagued by hefty medical bills. Seeking medical treatment here, in one of the world’s most advanced economies, can be expensive and cause individuals to experience cash flow anxiety or even land themselves in massive debts. Having the right insurance plan can help alleviate your costs and liabilities.

Most of us are covered by hospitalization insurance such as MediShield Life, Integrated Plans or employee benefits, where the hospital treatment cost is partially or completely covered. This is a necessary foundation. However, if an unpredictable critical illness sets in, it is the Early Critical Illness Insurance that completes the financial risk management plan.

Download our Early Critical Illness Insurance Plans Comparison to see the overview of Early Critical Illness plans available in Singapore and benefits comparisons.

How Does The Early Critical Illness Plan Work?

Let us start by highlighting the differences between Critical Illness (CI) and Early Critical Illness (ECI) policies. Unlike the traditional CI policy, where claims can only be made upon reaching the “severe or critical stage”, the ECI plan extends the coverage to include “early and intermediate” stages. For example, an ECI plan allows for claims made at the onset when one needs to fit a pacemaker, as opposed to only making claims after an individual suffers a major heart attack.

Another unique feature of the ECI policy is that the insured receives the intended payout as soon as the illness is diagnosed. The early arrival of claim funds enables the possibility of exploring options such as seeking alternative medical opinions, taking no-pay leave from work, or even deciding to pause work and focus on achieving complete recovery.

Benefits of Having an Early Critical Illness Plan

1. ECI provides a lump sum payout that complements hospitalization insurance

Medical treatment costs do not only start to weigh in at advanced stages of illnesses. There are numerous treatments administered in the initial stages of the disease, and Singapore has been ranking high on medical inflation. Hospitalization insurance plans come with exclusions that limit what’s claimable, such as medical aids, transportation, non-traditional medical treatments (TCM), cost of caregiving, etc. These are the necessary costs incurred in the recovery process. This is how you can complement existing hospitalization insurance with ECI plans for holistic coverage.

2. ECI extends coverage beyond the Life Insurance Association (LIA) list for the severe stage of 37 common critical illnesses

To meet the criteria for a traditional CI policy payout, the diagnosed illness needs to meet the standard definition of 37 chronic sicknesses. The ECI plan bridges this gap, covering other forms of diagnoses beyond the defined list.

Access to funds in the early stage of critical illness, with the ECI policy, can mean more resources towards earlier medical intervention and better treatment outcomes. For illnesses such as Alzheimer’s Disease, where a complete cure is unlikely, being able to treat and slow down the effects of the illness early can be significant to both the patient and caregivers.

3. ECI payout can solve non-medical related financial problems

The sum assured for the diagnosis of a covered Early Critical Illness can become a provision for many things, including non-medical related ones. I once made an Early Critical Illness claim for a client in 2015 who decided to set aside the money for his child’s education. It may not relate directly to his treatment, but the peace of mind that comes with knowing that he has provided for this commitment improves his emotional state in his path to recovery.

Who Will Benefit Most From Early Critical Illness Plan?

1. Self-Employed

The income of entrepreneurs and freelancers are erratic. The loss of health can amplify the anxiety that already comes with financial instability.

2. Critical Illness Runs in the Family

Given that medical conditions can be hereditary, an ECI plan is a wise decision for those with a family history of chronic disease(s).  Safeguard your liabilities and costs by making advanced provisions.

3. Baby Boomers

Falling prey to multiple ailments is inevitable when age catches up. Minimize your liabilities that come with the risks of comorbidities by conscientious planning.

4. Breadwinner Role

Consider your role in the family nucleus, i.e. a single parent with elderly parents to support. The sole income earner of the family will benefit from added protection.

5. Singles

Singles have to plan proactively in providing for themselves, such as buying caregiving services, in times when they become unable to function independently.

How to add Early Critical Illness Coverage to Your Portfolio?

1. Inclusion of ECI as a Rider with the purchase of any whole life insurance

The inclusion of an ECI rider means that the policyholder pays slightly more premium on top of the life insurance. The application process is two in one.

2. Purchase a standalone ECI plan

The easiest solution is to purchase a standalone plan that provides a lump sum cash payout if Early Critical Illness strikes. It draws a clear line between ECI and the other policies that one owns, offering organized tracking and a clear view of the differentiated benefits. Also, standalone plans allow for multiple claims, a feature not often available in add-on rider plans.

Upcoming Webinar 25 August 2022:
Critical Illness Planning for 30s – 40s: What types of plans should I consider when I already have hospitalization insurance?

We have an upcoming webinars on Critical Illness Planning for 30s – 40s: What types of plans should I consider when I already have hospitalization insurance? this month.

If you are interested, please click here to sign up.

Ensure Comfort in Time of Need

If you wish to consider the possibility of adding Early Critical Illness coverage to your portfolio, download “Early Critical Illness Insurance Plans Comparison Guideto get started. It offers an overview of ECI plans available in Singapore and benefits comparisons. Click HERE to download Early Critical Illness Insurance Plans Comparison.

Article by Andrea Loh
Email: andrea.loh@gen.com.sg

The writer is a Financial Services Manager representing GEN Financial Advisory


If you want to know more about Early Critical Illness Insurance or any other enquiries, you may contact me through whatsapp, schedule an appointment with me or fill up the form below and I will get back to you as soon as possible.


Andrea Loh
Financial Services Manager

RNF No. LLP200146556
MDRT qualifier with 12 years of experience in the industry


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