While a Critical Illness insurance policy is not as critical (pardon the pun) as a Hospital and Surgical insurance, it is definitely a good-to-have in one’s defence against unexpected healthcare risks. This is especially the case as cancer remains the no.1 principal cause of death in Singapore (Source: MOH) Typically, critical illness cover can be purchased either as a standalone policy or as a rider to a term/life plan. If you are looking for a standalone policy, you may want to consider the AIA Absolute Critical Cover (ASCC). This is a comprehensive critical illness insurance policy that is very well thought through and offers multiple layers of defence against not just critical illnesses, but also chronic and age-related diseases. Here is my review of the AIA Absolute Critical Cover (ASCC), consisting of a product summary as well as an analysis of the benefits and costs.
1) Coverage for Early, Intermediate and Major Stage Critical Illnesses
Generally, it is fair to say that critical illness insurance policies have undergone several iterations such that each version keeps getting better. As a result, critical illness coverage has expanded to encompass every stage – early, intermediate and major (late) stage critical illnesses. AIA Absolute Critical Cover (ASCC) definitely delivers on this aspect as it provides coverage for all 3 stages of critical illnesses. Further, its early cancer coverage isn’t limited to specific organs as well!
To be more specific, it provides coverage for 150 multi-stage critical illnesses, with up to S$350,000 payout for early and intermediate stage of one same critical illness. Please refer to Diagram 1 for an abridged version of the list of conditions covered by AIA Absolute Critical Cover (ASCC). For the full list of covered conditions, please refer to the brochure
Most importantly, such comprehensive coverage also means that with the financial payouts, the insured are giving themselves every chance that most critical illnesses can be treated effectively for a higher chance of full recovery.
2) Coverage Beyond Critical Illnesses
We are now getting to the exciting part because this is where the AIA Absolute Critical Cover (ASCC) starts going above and beyond of a typical critical illness policy. In addition to coverage for all major stages of critical illnesses, it also provides coverage on chronic diseases and age-related conditions. This includes the following:
- 12 pre-early conditions (eg: urinary incontinence requiring surgical repair, severe obstructive or mixed sleep Apnoea, etc); and
- 25 special conditions (eg: ADHD, Diabetic Complications, Severe Gout, etc)
Do note that the payout for the pre-early conditions is 10% of the coverage amount, capped at either S$10,000 or S$25,000 per life across all AIA ASCC policies covering the same life, depending on the category of pre-early condition, and for a maximum of 1 claim under each category of pre-early benefit. Even at 10% of the coverage amount, this cash should come in very handy to nip the pre-early condition in the bud, or manage it effectively.
Along the same vein, payout for special conditions is 20% of the coverage amount, capped at S$25,000 per life across all AIA ASCC policies covering the same life and subject to a maximum of 10 claims in total and only 1 claim for each special condition.
Including the aforementioned 150 multi-stage critical illnesses, this sums up to a whopping total of 187 conditions covered under the AIA Absolute Critical Cover (ASCC)!
Amazingly, AIA Absolute Critical Cover (ASCC) also provides some protection against future unknown diseases which allows the insured to future proof his/her life. I know this may sound baffling but my deep dive reveals that this refers to the situation whereby the insured is admitted into ICU in any hospital in Singapore for a minimum of 4 days for all other illnesses, injuries and future unknown diseases. A one-time payout of an additional 20% of coverage amount, subject to a maximum limit of S$25,000 across all policies issued by AIA, will be given to the policyholder, and there is no requirement for insured to have undergone surgery while at the ICU to be eligible.
To illustrate the benefits, it is best to assume a hypothetical example as shown in Diagram 2.
From the example, Jim is diagnosed with Severe Obstructive Sleep Apnoea and receives a Pre-Early Benefit of $10,000, which is 10% of his coverage amount of S$100,000. Several years later at age 41, he is diagnosed with Early Stage Liver Cancer and receives the full coverage amount of S$100,000.
However, what if Jim suffers a relapse of the same condition (i.e. Liver Cancer) despite making a full recovery initially?
3) ASCC Booster if critical illness strikes more than once
The ASCC Booster is an optional rider designed to provide continual protection that further extends coverage for multiple critical illnesses and relapse. For avoidance of doubt, insured’s major cancer need not be in remission to claim for re-diagnosis. Specifically, the ASCC Booster comprises of 2 types of benefits:
- A) Power Reset Benefit – Fully restores coverage amount once 12 months have passed from the last critical illness or Power Relapse Critical Illness, allowing insured to make multiple claims of up to 700% of coverage amount
- B) Power Relapse Benefit – Insured will be covered if he/she suffers from any of the 5 Power Relapse Critical Illness Conditions once 24 months have passed from the same preceding critical illness or for which a claim on a Power Relapse Critical Illness Condition was admitted by AIA, allowing for claims of up to 200% of the coverage amount.
Let us once again revisit the hypothetical example of Jim as shown in Diagram 3.
At age 42, which is a full 12 months from his last diagnosed Critical Illness, his coverage amount is automatically restored to S$100,000 because of the Power Reset Benefit under the ASCC Booster. Unfortunately, Jim is re-diagnosed with Major Stage Liver cancer at age 44. This is more than 24 months since his last relapse and claim made under the Power Relapse Benefit, he receives a further S$100,000. This illustrates how ASCC Booster functions to enable Jim to make multi-pay critical illness claims.
4) Continual Protection With Future Premiums Waived
Under Diagram 3, Jim no longer needs to pay premium on his ASCC policy if he adds the Early Critical Protector Waiver of Premium (II) rider at the onset. As the name suggests, this rider would waive future premiums of the policy as well as the riders (if any) upon diagnosis of any of the covered 149 multi-stage critical illnesses. Similarly, the Critical Protector Waiver of Premium (II) rider works in the same manner except that the diagnosis is narrowed down to any of the 72 major stage critical illnesses.
Having such premium waiver riders are useful because the insured no longer need to be burdened by the financial obligation of future premiums, especially as a critical illness incident could impair the insured’s ability to earn a similar level of income again. Instead, the insured can continue to enjoy coverage for the rest of the term as long as it is not terminated.
5) Incentive To Cover Your Children Too
Parents have reasons to rejoice because you will enjoy 10% off the first-year premium of your child’s plan should you also wish to purchase the AIA Absolute Critical Cover (ASCC) for your child. From the 2nd year onwards, the premium discount is reduced to 5% should you have only 1 child insured under the AIA ASCC plan. If 2 or more children are insured under their respective AIA ASCC plans, the premium discount remains at 10% even from the 2nd year onwards. These premium discounts will continue to apply till your child(ren) reach 21 years old.
Likewise, the future premiums of your child’s policy until your child 25th birthday or the end of the premium waiver rider term, whichever is earlier, will be waived upon diagnosis of any of the covered:
- 149 early, intermediate, major stage critical illnesses, total and permanent disability, or upon your passing with Early Critical Protector Payor Benefit (II) rider, or
- Upon your passing or diagnosis of disability, with the Payor Benefit rider
6) Premiums Paid Will Never Go To Waste?
Another unique selling point of the AIA Absolute Critical Cover (ASCC) is its cash value* (for the To-Age-100 plan), which is unheard of for a standalone Critical Illness plan.
As shown in Diagram 4, this benefit is only applicable if the policyholder elects for a coverage term of To-Age-100. (Recall that the AIA ASCC provide 3 different coverage term, i.e. To-Age-65, To-Age-75 and To-Age-100, to best suit your needs.)
How Much Are The Premiums?
At first glance, the benefits of the AIA Absolute Critical Cover (ASCC) are so comprehensive that they are almost too good to be true. These benefits should be measured against the cost of the premium so that readers can make a fair assessment of the cost-benefit analysis.
If we revisit the case of Jim who enters into the policy at 30 years old and as a non-smoker, here is a quotation from AIA for AIA ASCC To-Age-100 plan, at coverage amount of S$100,000:
- Annual premium on AIA ASCC: S$1,774
- Annual Premium on AIA ASCC + ASCC Booster: S$3,067
Enjoy Further Premium Discounts
Note that the premium quoted for Jim is before any premium discount. For instance, existing AIA Vitality members (I qualify as I do have some AIA policies for my family’s insurance) are able to enjoy upfront premium discount of 10% on their first year’s premium for the plan and eligible riders. In addition, as the insured gets healthier and improve on his/her AIA Vitality Status, he/she will enjoy greater discounts of up to 15%, resulting in lower costs for the same coverage.
If you do not have an AIA Vitality Membership yet, fret not as signing up for the AIA Absolute Critical Cover (ASCC) before 30 November 2021 grants a free one-year AIA Vitality Membership. Under this same AIA Power Up Promotion, receive a free Apple watch Series 7 as well as up to 25% discount on the first year’s premium.
*Disclosure: This article is written in collaboration with AIA. It is for information only and reflects my opinion and not that of AIA.
Policy and promotion T&Cs apply, click here to learn more. Protected up to specified limits by SDIC. This advertisement has not been reviewed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore.
The above is for general information only. It is not a contract of insurance. The precise terms and conditions of this insurance plan are specified in the policy contract.
Information is correct as at 7 Nov 2021.