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Do I Need an Early-Stage Critical Illness Plan?

05 July 2022 | 2-mins read


Knowing the difference between hospitalisation/health insurance and critical illness insurance is the first step in ensuring that you have sufficient medical coverage. If you are unsure, you may read it here.  Next, you should understand what an early-stage critical illness plan is and if you need it.

What is the difference between critical illness plan and early-stage critical illness plan?

Imagine going for a cancer screening and discovering that you have stage 1 colorectal cancer, one of the most common cancers among men in Singapore1. At this stage, the cancer is growing in the colon or rectum wall, but without affecting nearby tissue. The survival rates for men and women are around 84% and 86% respectively, if the cancer is detected at stage one2. So the question is “Can your critical illness insurance cover the cost of treatment?”

Regular critical illness plans only provide payouts on 37 listed critical illnesses which can be found here. From this list, only advanced stages of cancer are classified as ‘Major Cancer’ which means you will not get a payout for the early stages cancer.

This is where an early-stage critical illness plan comes in. It covers the gap where you get diagnosed with a critical illness beyond the stage defined by a traditional critical illness plan. Like critical illness plans, you’ll receive a payout from your early-stage critical illness plan which you can use to cover your treatments and/or living expenses. As early health screenings become more advanced and accessible, having this type of insurance becomes useful for covering medical fees and living expenses, so you can focus on recovery.


Do I really need early-stage critical illness insurance?

Getting a lump sum payout during a disease’s early stages means one less thing to worry about. Like any insurance plan, however, early-stage CI coverage is not for everyone. 


How to choose an early-stage critical illness plan

Number of payouts

Some early-stage CI plans offer just a single payout, which means it won’t cover you again in the event of a relapsed critical illness. This could be problematic, as it can be difficult to get yourself covered with another plan if you had been diagnosed with a critical illness.

You may want to consider multi-pay CI plans instead, so you are still covered in case of a relapse or if you get struck by a different critical illness.

Covered conditions

An early-stage CI plan will typically cover more conditions beyond the standard 37 critical illnesses defined by the Life Insurance Association of Singapore. Take a good look at the covered early-stage illnesses and make sure that the plan includes the conditions you would like to get covered for.

 Waiting period

There is a waiting period of around 90 days for specific critical illnesses from the time your CI plan starts until you can make a claim. If you get an early-stage diagnosis during the waiting period, you won’t be eligible for the payout.



Protection against the financial burden of critical illness.

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    3. Coverage will be restarted to 100% of basic sum insured after 12 claim-free months from the last critical illness claim. Subject to maximum payout of 500% of basic sum insured.
    4. Additional 100% of basic sum insured is payable upon diagnosis of subsequent advanced stage major cancer, capped at 200% of basic sum insured, subject to terms and conditions.


    Important Notes

    Ready CompleteCare is underwritten by Manulife (Singapore) Pte. Ltd. (Reg. No. 19802116D). This advertisement has not been reviewed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore. Buying health insurance products that are unsuitable for you may affect your ability to finance your future healthcare needs. This material is for your information only and does not consider your specific investment objectives, financial situation or needs. It is not a contract of insurance and is not intended as an offer or recommendation to purchase the plan. You can find the full terms and conditions, details, and exclusions for the mentioned insurance product(s) in the policy contract. If there are any differences between the English and Chinese versions of this material, the English version will apply. This policy is protected under the Policy Owners’ Protection Scheme which is administered by the Singapore Deposit Insurance Corporation (SDIC). Coverage for your policy is automatic and no further action is required from you. For more information on the types of benefits that are covered under the scheme as well as the limits of coverage, where applicable, please contact us or visit the LIA or SDIC websites ( or


    We recommend that you seek advice from a Manulife Financial Consultant or our Appointed Distributors before making a commitment to purchase a policy.


    Information is correct as at 5 July 2022.

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