When I conducted a holistic review of my insurance coverage recently, I realised that there was a small gap in my critical illness (‘CI’) coverage. Specifically, the critical illness plan was a rider tagged to a term life that was purchased just before my daughter was born. Over the years, I am fortunate enough to have commanded a higher salary but inevitably taken on more liabilities at the same time. I was tasked to review the GREAT Critical Cover series, a new product offering by Great Eastern. I compared the 2 types of critical illness plans under GREAT Critical Cover to understand which suits me better given my current life circumstances.
The GREAT Critical Cover Series
Under the GREAT Critical Cover Series, consumers can choose between 2 types of standalone CI plans – (i) GREAT Critical Cover: Top 3 CIs and (ii) GREAT Critical Cover: Complete. Both types of plans also offer the option of adding the Protect Me Again rider to provide continued coverage of up to 3 claims, with each claim providing you with 100% lump sum payout. Without further ado, let’s perform a deep dive of each plan to understand its key benefits.
(i) GREAT Critical Cover: Top 3 CIs
As the name suggests, the GREAT Critical Cover protects against the top 3 critical illnesses that commonly afflict us – cancer, heart attack and stroke. A Protect Me Again: Top 3 CIs rider can also be added to the main policy. The key benefits of GREAT Critical Cover: Top 3 CIs enhanced with the Protect Me Again: Top 3 CIs rider are shown in Diagram 1.
A cursory glance of the product name may suggest that coverage is limited but this is definitely not the case. Do you know that these 3 most common conditions make up approximately 90% of CI claims in Singapore? (Source: The Gen Re Dread Disease Survey, 2022) Besides, coverage against the Top 3 is applicable at any stage of occurrence, whether it is early, intermediate or critical.
A Protect Me Again: Top 3 CIs rider can be added to protect against a diagnosis of a different critical illness (e.g. heart attack as the first diagnosis and stroke as the next diagnosis) and the recurrence of cancer, heart attack and stroke. Subject to waiting periods and relevant terms and conditions, adding this rider ensures that the insured does not become “un-insurable” after experiencing an episode of CI. If applicable, the insured person can receive a 2nd or 3rd 100% lump sum payout1 upon a recurring or subsequent diagnosis of the top 3 CIs. This can help to alleviate the financial burden often associated with CI.
The application process is also simplified as it involves only answering 3 health questions. Note that the premium increases with the age of the life assured upon each year of renewal.
What’s more, this plan can be purchased seamlessly online, under 10 minutes.
1 Please refer to the Product Summary for more details on the benefit terms and conditions.
(ii) GREAT Critical Cover: Complete
On the other hand, the GREAT Critical Cover: Complete is a comprehensive Critical Illness plan that covers all stages of the identified 53 CIs. This includes other critical illnesses beyond the top 3 CIs (Cancer, Heart Attack and Stroke). Likewise, a Protect Me Again: Complete rider can also be added to the main policy. The key benefits of GREAT Critical Cover: Complete enhanced with the Protect Me Again: Complete rider are shown in Diagram 2.
Besides coverage against all stages of 53 CIs, GREAT Critical Cover: Complete also provides an additional benefit for insured persons who require angioplasty. This is a procedure used to widen blocked coronary arteries without the need to undergo the more invasive open-heart surgery. Similar to GREAT Critical Cover: 3 CIs, there is also a S$25,000 compassionate benefit that will be paid out should the insured pass away due to any cause.
Waiver riders ranging from death, CI occurrence of the policyholder or the insured can be considered so that future premiums need not be paid upon any such occurrence.
More importantly, the Protect Me Again: Complete rider can be added to cover against:
- Any new CI (not the same CI as at the first occurrence), or
- Recurrent 6 CIs as listed in Diagram
Another key benefit is that the premium amount is locked in upon point of entry and does not increase with the life assured’s age. Therefore, it pays to secure lower premiums by starting coverage earlier. However, do note that for both GREAT Critical Cover: Complete and GREAT Critical Cover: Top 3 CIs, premium rates are not guaranteed and may be revised based on future experience.
Which GREAT Critical Cover plan suits Heartland Boy better?
As aforementioned, I already have an existing Critical Illness plan that is tagged to a term life plan. The danger is that the CI coverage will cease if the term plan is not renewed. More urgently, my CI coverage stands at 2X of my current income. As shown in Diagram 3, this is adequate but can be boosted to a more comfortable level of 3X to ensure my wealth preservation goal is not compromised from a CI episode.
Besides wealth preservation goals, another factor behind my thought process is the increased scrutiny on MediShield Life and Integrated Shield Plans not covering clinically proven drugs and treatments that fall outside of MOH approved list. The last thing that I want is to deny myself a decent chance of recovery due to financial constraints. Therefore, I need to be smart about my choice and pay for a standalone CI plan that serves what I need exactly.
That is where GREAT Critical Cover: Top 3 CIs addresses my needs. It offers affordable comprehensive coverage for the Top 3 CIs. The payout can help pay beyond regular medical expenses as well as provide some buffer for me to take a break from work to focus on recovery. Besides, premium is relatively affordable as it starts from as low as $0.83^ per day for a $100,000 coverage (male, 34-year-old) with the first year 30% discount during this promotion period. Therefore, adding on the GREAT Critical Cover: Top3 CIs is a cost-effective way to enhance my CI coverage.
Everybody’s personal circumstances differ
Having said that, I am fully cognisant that everybody’s personal circumstances differ. While the GREAT Critical Cover: Top 3 CIs arguably suits me better now, the GREAT Critical Cover: Complete can be considered as an ideal 1st CI plan for younger audience seeking comprehensive CI coverage if their budget permit. If I were 10 years younger and a first jobber, the GREAT Critical Cover: Complete would have been my preferred choice between the 2 plans. It would have served as a good starter pack with an annual premium of $718.60+ (for a 34-year-old male coverage till age 65) and ringfence my risks from a complete wipe out of my wealth creation goals. Therefore, there is clearly a case for either plan under GREAT Critical Cover Series.
Most importantly, do not neglect your CI coverage as you pursue your life goals. Take advantage of the promotion offer and protect against Top 3 CIs – cancer, heart attack and stroke, or complete your coverage against 53 CI conditions. For GREAT Critical Cover: Top 3 CIs and GREAT Critical Cover: Complete, you can enjoy 10% perpetual discount off your premiums!
Footnotes & Disclaimers:
^ Annual premium of S$306.05 for the first year after the 30% first-year discount, is based on a 34-year-old male (age next birthday), non-smoker. The daily rate is based on a 34-year-old male, non-smoker with the annual premium of GREAT Critical Cover: Top 3 CIs and Protect Me Again rider for a sum assured of S$100,000 and policy term of up to age 85, divided by 365 days and rounded off to the nearest 1 decimal place. The annual premium will increase based on the attained age of the life assured, as at each policy anniversary.
+ Annual premiums of S$718.60 for the first year after the 30% first-year discount, is based on a 34-year-old male (age next birthday), non-smoker. The daily rate is based on a 34-year-old male, non-smoker with the annual premium of GREAT Critical Cover: Complete and Protect Me Again rider for a sum assured of S$100,000 and policy term of up to age 65, divided by 365 days and rounded off to the nearest 1 decimal place. The annual premium remains level throughout the premium term.
This advertisement has not been reviewed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore.
The information presented is for general information only and does not have regard to the specific investment objectives, financial situation or particular needs of any particular person.
Age stipulated refers to age next birthday.
As this product has no savings or investment feature, there is no cash value if the policy ends or is terminated prematurely.
You may wish to seek advice from a financial adviser before making a commitment to purchase this product. If you choose not to seek advice from a financial adviser, you should consider whether this product is suitable for you.
Protected up to specified limits by SDIC. Information is correct as at 17 October 2022.
This article is written in collaboration with Great Eastern.