In super safe Singapore, where being chopped into pieces by a serial killer or stepping on a landmine are fairly remote possibilities, getting cancer is probably the scariest thing that could happen.
If you get a cancer diagnosis, you can rely on health insurance to cover the bulk of your hospitalisation bills and treatment. (Don’t have health insurance yet? Consider an Integrated Shield Plan or IP.)
But you might also like to buy a cancer insurance plan for additional financial protection. Here’s a guide to choosing an affordable cancer insurance policy.
What is cancer insurance, and why consider it?
Cancer insurance has similar mechanics to critical illness insurance: Once you get a diagnosis, your insurance policy gives you a lump sum payout.
The main difference is that cancer insurance covers only cancer, while critical illness insurance covers a longer list of diseases including cancer. The former is usually cheaper.
So, why do you still need cancer insurance if you already have health insurance?
Well, health insurance plans will pay for the bulk of your hospital bills. But they will not replace your lost income if you need to quit your job or take on a less demanding one.
Cancer treatment can be long-drawn and expensive, so you could be looking at years without work.
If you’ve decided that you want this type of protection, your biggest question is actually whether you should opt for a critical illness insurance plan or just go for cancer insurance.
Cancer insurance plans tend to be relatively affordable and easy to buy, with no medical underwriting required by many insurers, so there’s that.
Just to give you a taste of what’s available, here are five cancer insurance plans on the market.
5 affordable cancer insurance plans in Singapore
|Cancer insurance||Sample premium*||Sum assured|
|MSIG CancerCare Plus||$282.48/year||$100,000|
|FWD Cancer Insurance||$348/year||$200,000, $100,000 or $50,000|
|Etiqa Cancer Insurance||$376/year||$200,000, $100,000 or $50,000|
|SingLife Cancer Plus Plan||$344.89 to $475.42/year||$20,000 to $100,000|
|Prudential PRUCancer 360||$427.50/year||$10,000 to $300,000|
*Based on quotation for 35-year-old female non-smoker, for $100,000 sum assured
FYI, “$100,000 sum assured” means you’ll get a $100,000 lump sum payout if you get diagnosed with late stage cancer. (As for early stage cancer, some plans will pay out the full amount, while others offer only, say, 25 per cent or 50 per cent.)
You can opt for a lower or higher sum assured depending on how much protection you need. Your premiums will vary accordingly.
1. MSIG CancerCare Plus
This MSIG cancer insurance plan is one of the cheapest in town, but it’s limited to $100,000 sum assured only. The $100,000 sum assured is paid out in full if you are diagnosed with major cancer.
If you are diagnosed with early stage cancer, the plan pays out $50,000 instead of the full $100,000, but is then automatically renewed, so you can still make another claim for the remaining $50,000 if you are later diagnosed with major cancer.
This is a very cost-effective cancer insurance policy if you’re certain that the payout is sufficient for your needs.
Sample premium for a 35-year-old female non-smoker: $282.48 a year for $100,000 sum assured
2. FWD Cancer Insurance
FWD Cancer Insurance offers a choice between a sum assured of $200,000, $100,000 or $50,000, which is great if you’re not looking to spend a fortune on a high coverage amount.
It’s a little more expensive than the MSIG cancer insurance plan above, but FWD’s cancer insurance plan has the big advantage of offering a full payout of the sum assured at all stages of cancer. All types of cancer at all stages are covered.
This is unlike most other cancer insurance plans that will only give you 100per cent of your payouts if you get late stage cancer. The plan also offers a free medical second opinion at one of their 3 medical centres.
Sample premium for a 35-year-old female non-smoker: $348 a year for $100,000 sum assured
3. Etiqa Cancer Insurance
Similar to FWD, Etiqa’s cancer insurance plan pays out 100per cent of the sum assured for all stages of most types of cancer, including early stage cancer. You can choose between coverage amounts of $200,000, $100,000 or $50,000.
After your first year, you’ll pay 6per cent less premiums if you have not made any claims in the previous policy term. They also offer a death benefit of $5,000.
Sample premium for a 35-year-old female non-smoker: $376 a year for $100,00 sum assured
4. SingLife Cancer Plus Plan
Singlife’s cancer insurance plan offers coverage of $20,000 to $100,000 for all stages of cancer. You will receive 100 per cent of the payout if you get diagnosed with late stage cancer, 50 per cent for intermediate stage cancer and 25 per cent for early stage cancer.
The plan provides for multiple claims if you are diagnosed with anything less than late stage cancer. For instance, after a first claim of intermediate stage cancer, you can still make a claim for the remaining 50 per cent of your sum assured if you later get diagnosed with late or intermediate stage cancer.
If you are subsequently diagnosed with early stage cancer, you get 25 per cent of the sum assured.
The plan also offers a $5,000 death benefit. If you want to beef up your coverage, you can pay more to get comprehensive coverage at all stages of cancer.
Sample premium for a 35-year-old female non-smoker: $344.89 to $475.42 a year for $100,000 sum assured
5. Prudential PRUCancer 360
Prudential’s cancer insurance plan offers coverage at all stages of cancer. One advantage of this plan is that it offers coverage up to the age of 100, which is a much higher age limit than what most other plans offer.
The plan also pays out 100 per cent of your sum assured for all stages of cancer. Coverage amounts range from $10,000 to $300,000. If you’re willing to spend to get the most complete coverage and a high sum assured, this is one of the most comprehensive plans on the market.
Sample premium for a 35-year-old female non-smoker: $427.50 a year for $100,000 sum assured
How much “sum assured” should you get?
Most plans offer minimum sums assured of $20,000 to $50,000, which you can opt for if you want to keep your premiums low.
However, if you can afford to, try to get a sum assured which would actually be helpful based on your liabilities and expenses, assuming you cannot work after getting cancer.
For example, if you’re single with no mortgage or other liabilities, a payout of $100,000 should tide you over a few years of not working due to cancer.
However, if you have kids and a mortgage, the payout might not last very long. Those with dependants should probably opt for higher sums assured since the payouts would be feeding more than one mouth.
What if the cancer insurance plan isn’t enough?
Cancer insurance can help supplement your existing insurance coverage, but you should absolutely make sure your medical bills are covered by buying a hospitalisation plan such as an Integrated Shield Plan.
This is so that you do not end up using your cancer insurance payout to pay the medical bills. The payout is meant more for replacing your income so you can take time off work to recover.
You can also consider standalone critical illness insurance or term insurance with a critical illness rider instead of (or in addition to, if you’re being really cautious) cancer insurance.
Such plans typically charge higher premiums, but they offer higher payouts and also cover non-cancer critical illnesses such as heart disease.
This article was first published in MoneySmart.