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Recovering from a serious illness can take a long time. That’s why you need critical illness insurance to help tide you over

Recovering from a critical illness can be a long and arduous process. As the patient struggles to regain physical functions in hopes of once again being able to live a normal life, he might also be worried about the financial impact due to his illness.

Critical illness insurance is designed to protect you from the aftershocks of a serious illness. The physical and financial impact of a serious illness can last a long time, so it is essential to have a critical illness insurance plan to cushion the blow.

The Life Insurance Association of Singapore (LIA) recently updated its definition of critical illness, with effect from 26 August 2020. The definitions of certain conditions and names are meant to express the intent of the coverage with greater clarity.

Just as the critical illness definitions are updated over the years, it is perhaps also time for us to reassess our protection needs, which might also have changed over time. Some people with hospitalisation insurance might have thought that critical illness insurance was not necessary since the bulk of their hospitalisation costs would already be covered.

However, considering the long-term effects of critical illnesses, now is as good a time as any to consider adding this much-needed layer of protection.

Here are some reasons why it is so important to have critical illness insurance.

It can take a long time to recover from a critical illness

Falling seriously ill often means being unable to work for years.

When assessing your critical illness needs, the Life Insurance Association (LIA) recommends assuming a recovery period of five years1 before you are able to return to work or adjust your lifestyle needs to your health issues.

Heart attack survivors are usually made to undergo a cardiac rehabilitation programme2 lasting months before being able to recommence a normal lifestyle without running the risk of suffering another heart attack. In fact, it usually takes about three months before the survivor can resume normal brisk walking.

Stroke survivors usually require about three to six months of rehabilitation3 in order to regain their physical functions. Even then, only 10% of all patients recover fully, while 25% manage to recover with minor impairments.


Critical illness can put a long-lasting financial burden on the patient

As a recent Manulife survey4 found, a critical illness diagnosis can have a lasting financial impact on the patient and his or her family.

500 people were surveyed online, half of whom had had a critical illness in the past three years. The other half had been caregivers to someone who had suffered a critical illness in the past three years. 53% of the patients considered their illness to be a major burden on their families. This number rose to 54% amongst patients aged under 40 years old.

Of those who considered critical illness a major financial burden, 54% had spent S$20,000 to S$49,000 on medical care, while 64% had spent S$50,000 or more.

Across age groups, younger patients tended to worry more about the financial impact of their illness, with 73% of the respondents under 40 years old citing the illness as a substantial source of financial stress.

Having a critical illness can wipe out patients’ savings and put them in debt

Half of the respondents in the Manulife survey considered critical illness as a major financial burden.

1 in 3 reported having used up all their savings to cover medical costs, and 1 in 4 had taken out a loan or remortgaged their home. This indicates that their illnesses made them significantly disadvantaged in terms of finances.

Furthermore, 4 in 5 reported having trouble paying bills, with hospital bills cited as being particularly difficult to pay.

It is thus clear that a critical illness diagnosis can have a devastating effect on a person’s finances due to a combination of medical costs and lost income.

The strong impact of serious illnesses highlights the importance of ensuring you have adequate critical illness protection. The payouts from a critical illness insurance plan can support yourself financially during a period of crisis, as well as paying any unexpected medical costs you might encounter.



Discover Manulife’s critical illness insurance plans and find out how you can protect yourself today.

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    These insurance products are underwritten by Manulife (Singapore) Pte. Ltd. (Reg. No. 198002116D). 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 article 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

    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 web-sites ( or

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

    Information is correct as of 29 September 2020

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